It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.
Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!
So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”
“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”
“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”
“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”
You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity.
Everyone has the same 168 hours in their week. Me, you, Beyonce, and the President of the United States have the same quantity of this one resource.
Beyonce may have a lot more musical ability than me, but she has the same amount of time each week. In fact, we had the same amount of time each week when she was developing that talent and I was…well…not doing that.
By the time Beyonce was the age that I am now, she had released four solo albums along with another four albums with Destiny’s Child. She had 25 top 10 singles in the US.
She did that using the same number of hours that I have used to get to where I am. Which is…not there.
Your Time Shows Your Priorities
There’s a saying that has a few different variations, but today I’ll quote the Joe Biden version. “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”
The same goes for our time.
Beyonce prioritized musical ability and success far higher than I did. I taught myself how to play Fat Lip by Sum 41 on the guitar before patting myself on the back and going to play video games. She clearly spent an obscene amount of time developing and perfecting her talent and building a successful career.
She used her time in a way that clearly showed music to be her number one priority. I didn’t.
When you say “I don’t have time for this,” you are actually saying “This isn’t a priority right now.”
And that’s fine!
There are a lot of things that we could be doing with our time. But there isn’t enough time to do everything. We need to prioritize. Some things just won’t make the cut.
But we need to recognize that when we “don’t have time,” we are stating our priorities. When we recognize this, we can take control of our time.
Does Your Time Match Your Priorities?
Some percentage of your time needs to be spent on necessities. We need food, shelter, and warmth for our families.
There are some people that cannot move beyond this aspect of time usage. There are some in our society who need to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table and keep a cheap roof over their heads.
The rest of us have the necessities covered with a portion of our time and then spend the rest on wants.
Even if we need to work at a certain salary or a specific number of hours to pay the bills, this is because we chose the level of luxury we want in our home and our vehicles and our material goods. We chose to spend on vacations or school or gym classes. We chose our expenditures knowing that work had to follow.
Take a time audit.
This is something that I do from time to time that I have found very helpful. Print out this sheet of paper and carry it around with you. Mark down what you are doing in fifteen minute increments for a week.
See where your time actually goes. And then compare it to where you want your time to go. Compare your actions with your priorities.
Are you spending more time than you want working overtime? Surfing the Web? Watching television? Are you spending less time than you want hanging out with friends? Talking to family? Reading? Learning?
Figure out what your time usage is saying about your priorities. Then fix it if you don’t like it.
It is easy to go on autopilot and fall into the time usage that we feel is expected of us. Take a step back. Analyze your time. Analyze your priorities. Realign yourself.
If there is something that we want to do, we have the time to do it. We just need to make it a priority.
If you are finding yourself saying “I don’t have time” to things you want to do, then step back and think about how to make that time.