“I don’t have time.”
It sounds true. It feels true. We all say it. It must be true.
But it’s not.
So, I’ve stopped saying it. Sometimes I catch myself, old habits dying hard and all. But I’ve brought my attention to the time issue because I want to take responsibility for my choices. It brings focus to my intention.
When we say “I don’t have time” what we mean is either “I don’t have room in my schedule” or “I don’t want to.” In the first case, we’re not being honest with ourselves. In the latter, we’re not being honest with the other person.
If this feels harsh, stick with me.
What we’re really saying is “something else is more important.” And that’s okay if our choices are purposeful and we’re being honest about it. Let’s look at the two scenarios.
I don’t have time = I don’t have room: this is when you want to do something, but your schedule is already full. If you say you don’t have time to make a salad for lunch or do a morning workout, what you really mean is that other things take priority in your schedule. You need to look and decide if you like that. Because if you simply tell yourself you don’t have time, you never will. You’re saying you have no control over what goes on your calendar. You’re lying to yourself.
I don’t have time = I don’t want to: this one’s tough if you’re a people pleaser who doesn’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. But the truth is that sometimes you’re asked to do a task, work on a project, or go to an event that you have no interest in. Now, you can be polite and respectful to the person making the request. A simple “no thank you” or “I have other priorities I’m focused on right now” will do. But using the time excuse is a lie.
As we enter the season where it’s easy to feel more pressed for time, I invite you to look at what’s true. The I-don’t-have-time mantra is so woven into the fabric of our culture that we don’t question it. Consider what you want to make room for during this time, including caring for your health and well-being. Decide what you want to do and what you don’t want to do, and who you want to spend time with and who you’d rather just exchange cards with. Being honest with yourself is the first step. And when you can truly show up as yourself and be in integrity, you’ll have plenty of time for everything.
You and I have 1440 minutes each day. Let’s intentionally invest it in what matters most. 😊