You have time for the things that matter to you.
“I don’t have time” is better phrased as, “that’s not important enough.”
- What if there’s an emergency? You have time for that.
- What if you’re in a business meeting and someone offers you 72 million dollars to leave without saying a word? Goodbye meeting!
Time Is NEVER Valid As A General Excuse
Do you ever tell yourself you don’t have time for something? No time to exercise? Not enough time to sleep a 8 hours per night? Not enough time to cook meals?
You can say you don’t have time to do something on any given day, but generally speaking, you have time to do whatever you want. Until we leave the world, we have a constant supply of time. One second leads into to the next.
I realize it seems like a technicality, but it’s much more than that.
The people who thrive in life are the ones who understand that we have plenty of time, but limited priorities. We can’t prioritize everything at a high level, because we can only be at one place doing one thing (well) at a time. This is what creates time confusion—things we’d like to do can’t be done because they’re too low a priority to us.
Now, the problem: what does it mean when someone says they don’t have time for something very important? It means their priorities are screwed up. Nothing else.
You don’t have time to get eight hours of sleep per night? You can only get four? Unless there is a medical condition or some direct impedance to your sleep (baby?), you do have time. You just value sleep less than the things you do instead of sleeping. And that’s your choice, but don’t tell me you don’t have time!
I get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, sometimes more, and I have done so for my entire life. Especially since I’ve become health-conscious, I haven’t yet found a good reason to deprive myself of sleep (and I’ve been careful to avoid things that would jeopardize that). Getting enough sleep is one of my very highest priorities. I will cut it short on special occasions when I need to, but on most nights, I get it.
But I Have Kids, And My Job, And…
I understand that external responsibilities of high importance exist, but that’s exactly what they are to you: important. If you valued sleep more than your job and the income it provides, you might sleep in and miss work (and get fired). But you still have a choice in the matter. Most people would never choose to sleep in because most people prioritize their source of income as most essential (for good reason!).
But when you demand 8 hours of sleep and have a job that doesn’t allow for it, there’s a conflict. People who say they don’t have time in this example do something secretly devastating in the process—they give up their power. If you “don’t have time” to do something, then there is no solution. You’re not going to get more time in your days. But if you accurately say that income is a priority over getting enough sleep, but that sleep is still very important, then you’re at a place where you can potentially solve the problem.
It’s a subtle difference, but understanding that you’re choosing priorities instead of not having control over your time is empowering.
Empowering Vs. Submissive Thoughts
“I don’t have time” is a passive, submissive phrase that tells the world you’ve given up on something. It’s a false excuse. When you give a false excuse, it’s a sign that you’re avoiding something uncomfortable.
Right now, I’m single. I could tell you that “I don’t have time” to find a woman, but that would only mean I’m scared to try. I have plenty of “time-fillers” to make the excuse seem valid to me and others—I’m writing a book, getting in shape, settling in my new city, wanting to travel the world, etc.
But you know what? I do have time to find a woman because it’s important to me, and I’m going to try to find the right one. It’s harder for me to say that because it puts me in a vulnerable position—what if I fail in my quest? What if it takes me a long time to find her?
When you admit you have time for something important—and again, we always do—it puts you on the hook to do something about it. That’s scary. But just beyond that fear is usually the next step up in life. Admit that you have plenty of time. Anything important you’re not spending time on just isn’t a priority to you right now for one reason or another.
Work through your life priorities and time will take care of itself.
photo by Ashley