“I don’t have time.” It’s probably the most overused excuse we hear every day, and most of us are guilty of using it liberally.
Yes, we’re all busy. The standard answer to “how are you?” no longer seems to be “I’m fine,” but rather “I’m so busy!” Many people seem to consider being busy a badge of honor. Our culture reinforces that busy is somehow good. Being busy, supposedly, is one of the marks of someone who is successful. And as a result of being so busy, we all feel that we don’t have time.
And yet, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. The same 24 hours that Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah and insert every successful person you admire have. So why do we skip breakfast, exercising, time with family and friends, vacations, and other things that matter to us? It’s time to eliminate this phrase from our vocabulary once and for all, and here’s why:
It’s all about priorities
The reason you don’t exercise is not that you don’t have time. It’s because it’s not a priority for you. The reason you put off getting together with friends is not because you don’t have time. It’s because it’s not a priority for you. The reason you don’t return phone calls or emails is not that you don’t have time. It’s because it’s not a priority for you.
You have the time you choose to have. You have the time you make.
Life is short. A busy life is not necessarily a fulfilled life. If your life is filled with schedules and to do lists, if you don’t make time for the things that really matter to you, you will never be happy.
Change your language
Instead of saying “I don’t have time,” try saying “it’s not a priority right now.” I have time to exercise today, my physical and mental health is just not a priority right now. I have time to have dinner with my family tonight, catching up with how their day went is just not a priority right now. I have time to return my friend’s phone call, talking to him is just not a priority right now.
Try it on for size. If it doesn’t feel right to you, that’s the point. Changing your words reminds you that how you spend your time is a choice. Start making conscious choices about what matters to you, and own those choices, rather than hiding behind the tired old “I don’t have time” excuse.
And if you need some help, look to your cats for guidance. Most cats wouldn’t know what “I don’t have time” means. You’ll never find a cat thinking “I’m too busy to play right now.” They know that the only thing that matters is whatever happens in the present moment.