“I just don’t have enough time.”
We’ve all said it before.
We say “I don’t have time” when life gets busy or when we don’t want to feel guilty about skipping something:
- If we don’t have enough time to work out, it’s easier for us to be okay with wheezing after a flight of stairs.
- If we don’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals, it’s easier to accept our next unhealthy meal through a drive-thru window.
- If we don’t have enough time to clean the house, it’s easier to accept living in filth.
- If we don’t have time to apply for new jobs and make new connections, it’s easier to accept staying in a dead-end job.
By the end of today, “I don’t have time” will be erased from your vocabulary, Schwarzenegger-style!
It’s not a priority…
If you asked this Lego guy, he’d tell you that he’s so busy that he doesn’t have time to shave. Liar!
Starting today, you are no longer allowed to utter the words: “I don’t have time.”
Instead, you will say, “It’s not a priority.”
I learned this tactic from this Wall-Street Journal article, and it has been monumental in changing my frame of mind.
Watch how quickly your perspective shifts when looking at life’s challenges this way:
- “I’d love to work out, I just don’t have time” becomes “exercising isn’t a priority.”
- “I’d love to eat healthier, but I don’t have time to cook” becomes “eating healthy isn’t a priority.”
- “I don’t have time to travel” becomes “traveling isn’t a priority.“
Suddenly, the excuse of time becomes an incredibly weak argument. Crap.
Stings a bit, huh?
The real truth
I can see you begging and pleading right now.
“Steve, these things ARE a priority, but there aren’t just enough hours in the day.”
“It’s not what we say is a priority, but what we actually DO that’s a priority.”
J.D. shared how he used to tell his friend, “oh I LOVE reading, I just don’t have time for it.” In reality, JD was just putting everything else in front of reading: watching TV, staying up late surfing the internet, and so on. Once he realized how he was prioritizing his life, he started analyzing where his precious time was going.
How you choose to spend your time defines your priorities. I spent all of 2011 telling myself that I wanted to learn a new language, but I never seem to find the time. It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough time, it’s because I never made learning a new language a priority! After lying to myself for a year, I just ordered a Portuguese phrase book from Amazon.com.
No seriously, I bought it just now, halfway through writing this article.
What are your priorities?
We have 168 hours in a week.
Time is our most precious resource.
Your priorities, whether you say so or not, are where you choose to spend those hours. Make the most of them! It’s amazing how much time you can find when you minimize the things that aren’t important to make room for the things that are.
Where do you spend your time? Just like keeping a food journal can be eye-opening, try tracking your time over the next few days in 30-minute blocks. How much time do you spend on the computer, watching TV, etc? I bet you’ll be surprised.
Suddenly…wild productivity appears!
- The 10 hours of TV each week become less important.
- The late nights on Facebook and WoW become more apparent.
- The unproductive hours spent sitting at your desk, “working” without actually WORKING become clear.
It’s not what you say that’s important to you, it’s what you DO that’s important to you.
I challenge you, starting today, to erase the phrase “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary. Instead, say “it’s not a priority.”
And then decide what you actually want your priorities to be.
Leave a comment with ONE thing you’ve been saying is a priority but hasn’t really been, and ONE step you’re going to take today to make that thing a real priority.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Portuguese to learn.