New clients tell me “I don’t have time to cook healthy meals” and “I don’t have time to exercise”. You could probably add “I don’t have time to pursue hobbies” or “I don’t have time to clean”. There’s probably another hundred or thousand things “I don’t have time” for. But, “I don’t have time” is true. Here’s how to find the time you need.
“I Don’t Have Time” For Everything – True
You are right, you don’t have time for everything you might want to do, so we prioritize. And that can be hard, because we all have a lot of responsibilities. So here’s the first trick to rethinking your perspective:
When you think to yourself “I don’t have time” change it to “It’s not a priority“. Oh, that changes things!
“I really want to exercise, it’s just that I don’t have time” becomes “I really want to but exercising isn’t a priority.”
“I’d love to eat healthier, but I don’t have time to cook” becomes “I’d love to but eating healthy isn’t a priority.”
And it works in a good way too – “I’d like to clean up my office, but I don’t have the time” becomes “I’d like to but cleaning isn’t a priority“. Well now, that’s pretty liberating. My mother used to say she didn’t clean because two days after she was dead the house would be a mess and the neighbors wouldn’t know if she had kept a clean house or not (of course when necessary cleaning did become a priority, but only when she wanted it to be).
“I Don’t Have Time” Means Prioritize
Remember it’s not what we say is a priority, but what we actually DO that becomes the priority. Family and friends can add items to our priority lists even when we’re thinking “I don’t have time”. You have to be strong enough to say “no” sometimes.
So here’s the second trick to rethinking your perspective:
Make a list of your priorities, but only the top 3-4. And then be truthful with friends and family – it’s not that you don’t have time for them, it’s that your time is full with your focused priorities. This is similar to how a business prioritizes it’s donations – if it’s women and children and the Men’s Basketball Team asks for a donation, it’s easy to say no because the request doesn’t fit within the priorities. Sure, it’s not quite that simple with friends and family, but here’s an example.
My priorities: my children, my husband, my job
My mom says, “Can you help we sort through items for the garage sale Saturday?” I say, “I’d love to mom but unfortunately I’ve already committed to taking the kids to the park and you the children are my number one priority right now”. It’s a nice “no”.
“I Don’t Have Time” Allows For Lack of Motivation
“I don’t have time” is an excuse and sometimes it’s an excuse that keeps us from moving forward. Then, when we set our priorities we can feel overwhelmed and guilty when we can’t accomplish our goals.
So here’s the third trick to rethinking your perspective:
When you think to yourself “I should” change it to “I want“. Oh, that changes things!
“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 some motivation!
“I Don’t Have Time” – Well, Let’s Find It
When I hear “I don’t have time” with a client, I listen very closely to what they tell me their day involves. I start pinpointing where I can find an hour or so for them to exercise or make meals. One of the tricks I try is to say something in passing conversation like, “How is that cute young guy doing on American Idol?” or “Is that pretty lady still on Dancing with the Stars?” or “How many acts are they down to on America’s Got Talent now?” If they can answer me (even though I have no idea who is on any of these shows), I just found the time. “I don’t have time” for what, exactly?
Sure, television can be a release, but if you really want to make something a priority, then you have to switch up how you spend the time you do have. Watch the show while you exercise. Record the show and reward yourself after you’ve completed your priorities. Move a television into the kitchen and watch the show while you prep foods.
Don’t allow “I don’t have time” to define you – rethink your perspective.