Is Time Only a Perspective?
I hear it all the time . . . “I Don’t Have Time for _____”. Basically you could fill in the blank with just about anything.
“I don’t have time to cook”. Or
“I don’t have time to exercise”.
Those are the biggest priorities that people don’t seem to have “time” for although you could add hundreds of others. And yet these are things people say they really want!
And, I get it – we don’t have time to do everything!
In fact, often “I don’t have time” is true. Here’s how to find the time you need.
Start with Priorities
Definitely, most of us don’t have time for everything we might want to do, so we prioritize. Unfortunately, there are a lot of responsibilities and sometimes are priorities don’t align with our responsibilities. Enter the first trick:
When you think to yourself “I don’t have time” change it to “It’s one of my priorities“.
Here’s an example:
“I really want to exercise, it’s just that I don’t have time” becomes “I really want to but exercising isn’t one of my priorities.”
“I’d love to eat healthier, but I don’t have time to cook” becomes “I’d love to but eating healthy isn’t one of my priorities.”
That really changes the perspective, doesn’t it?
If, after restating “I don’t have time” what you said feels right, then even though something sounds good or is what everyone else seems to be doing, it just isn’t right for you at this time. Great!
If, after restating “I don’t have time” what you said makes you unhappy then it’s time to evaluate your priorities.
Really Identifying Priorities
Remember it’s not what we say is our priorities, but what we actually DO that becomes the priorities. Unfortunately, unless you are a single, friendless hermit the chances are good that family and friends want to add items to your priority lists. You have to be strong enough to say “no” sometimes.
So here’s the second trick:
Make a list of your priorities, but only the top 3-4. Now it’s time to be honest with other people about your priorities. Let them know that you are focusing on your priorities. I recommend thinking of your time like a business owner would. When someone asks me to give money as a business owner I think about my priorities. For example, my passion is heart disease, women’s health issues and sustainable food sources. So when the animal shelter asks for a donation, it’s easy to say no because the request doesn’t fit within the priorities. It’s not that the animal shelter isn’t a great cause but there’s only so much money (only so much of your time) and I use priorities to decide where it goes.
Sure, it’s not quite that simple with friends and family, but here’s an example.
My personal priorities: my son, my husband, my job
My friend says, “Can you help me make kits for the homeless Sunday?” I say, “I’d love to but I’ve already committed to taking my son to see a play he’s really interested in and you know he’s my number one priority right now”. It’s a nice “no”.
Time Perspective Allows For Lack of Motivation
Here’s the thing that really worries me when clients say “I don’t have time”. And, I do this to . . .
“I don’t have time” can become an excuse and sometimes it’s an excuse that keeps us from moving forward. Those words can allow us to stay stuck!
Worse, when we do finally set our priorities we can feel overwhelmed and guilty when we can’t accomplish our goals.
So here’s the third trick:
When you think to yourself “I should” change it to “I want“.
“I should go to the gym” becomes “I want to go to the gym.”
“I should make healthier meals” becomes “I want to make healthier meals.”
There’s a change that will create motivation!
Don’t allow “I don’t have time” to define you!