How many times do we exclaim, “I just don’t have the time!” However, what we really mean to say is “This is not a priority I am willing to make time for.” Whether or not it is for valid reason, we prioritize time for the things at the top of our list and as a result other tasks fall on the back burner.
A classic example is “I don’t have time to go to the gym.” Now, maybe you don’t because you have to work early in the morning, you have to be up for the baby after work, you have to go to work and work through your lunch break, etc. so it is impossible to get to the gym. Ok, of course these are valid excuses as to why you may not be able to go, but this really just means the gym is not a priority, not that you don’t have the time. You know you can make the time for a task such as this but you choose not to because you can make use of that time for a more important task. And, there should be nothing to feel bad about because of that!
By viewing this common exclamation in this perspective, it allows for us to reflect on the way we are using our time and if we are in fact using it for our top priorities or if we are using it to watch another season of Game of Thrones. Applying this perspective to our everyday can help us be more productive with our time.
A personal example I can think of for myself is “Not having the time to make cold calls for real estate leads” at my part-time job as an agent. It is something I say often, but is this really true?
Well, I wake up around 4:00-5:00 am on a typical day, go to the gym, do a morning routine, go to my 7am-5pm job, take a 30 minute lunch break in the day and get out at 5pm.
Though most of my day is occupied at my job, it is still not that I “don’t have the time,” it is because my job is currently taking priority over my need to cold calls. Furthermore, after work at 5pm, I have this time until about 8pm free to make cold calls. However, I also have friends and family I want to spend time with after work. So what is the priority? To make the calls or to spend time with family and friends? This is the type of question we are really asking ourselves when we claim we “don’t have time.”
Think about how you use your time throughout the day to improve the way you are prioritizing for tasks.
What is most important for me to make time for today?
The Meaning Regardless of Answer:
I need to make time for X, and at the cost of not making time for X.
Perhaps you can improve the way you are prioritizing time, or maybe you can simply accept that you are using your time for priorities, but just inevitable at the expense of another non-priority task.