Time. It’s a funny old thing isn’t it. Sometimes it flies by in a blur, sometimes it stands still. And we never seem to have enough of it.
One of the most common complaints I hear is, “I don’t have the time.”
Do you find yourself saying this? How often? Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? Multiple times a day? Whether it’s out loud or in our head, we frequently tell ourselves that we simply don’t have the time. Other people seem to. We admire their ability to squeeze so much in. We wish that we could do that too, but we can’t, because we don’t have the time.
But here’s the thing. We’ve got the same amount of time as those who we admire. We all have the same 24 hours each day. Yes, we can write-off a good eight hours of those to sleeping (hopefully), and a similar amount will probably be spent at work or keeping small children alive and safe, but the same goes for everyone. The “I don’t have time” story might be something we tell ourselves at work, or in our private lives.
“I’d love to take on a new project at work, but I don’t have the time.”
“I’d love to exercise more but I don’t have the time.”
“I’d love to travel more but I don’t have the time.”
“I’d love to get a new job but I don’t have the time to work on my CV/apply for jobs/update my skills.”
“I’d love to listen to a thirty minute podcast about how I can be happier and manage my time more but I don’t have the time.”
What do you tell yourself you don’t have time for?
Now, I’m going to take a punt and say that you do have time. You want to read a book a month, or write a book, or learn a language, or prepare you meals in advance, or whatever it might be that you yearn to do, but just because you tell yourself that you don’t have time, that doesn’t make it so.
I know this because you watch TV, mindlessly scroll through social media, enter the wormhole that is TikTok, engage in office chitchat by sending emails back and forth, read blogs…
What if I told you that often the old “I don’t have the time” story is an excuse? One that we believe when we say it, but an excuse nonetheless.
And if that’s triggered a negative reaction in you; something like, “I’m not making excuses! I’m swamped,” what if I told you to dig a little deeper, because a reflexive reaction like that is often a sign that it’s resonated with something within us?
If you find yourself scrolling through social media when you could be starting the podcast you dream about, what is it that’s holding you back? What’s stopping you from spending your most precious commodity on something that you value and actually want to do, and causing you to instead spend it on the junk food for the soul that is social media/Netflix/your snack of choice?
Could it be fear of failure? Fear that others will judge you? Fear that if you try, you’ll prove to yourself that you’re not good enough? Could it be that if you start, it could be the first step towards a huge change? What’s so wrong with that?
Is it because you don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed when you think about it? What resources do you have that might help you to figure that out? (Hint: the internet has many more uses than seeing what your friends ate for dinner this week.)
Think of time as cold hard cash. Would you spend your hard earned money on something that you don’t value or need? Unlikely. We usually spend our money on necessities (a roof over our heads, food in our bellies) and things that we want (holidays, a new outfit, scatter cushions). We rarely spend it on something that doesn’t satisfy the need/want criteria. For example, I have never spent my money on a kick in the crotch or a bucket of worms, because I don’t want or need either of those things. So treat your time in the same way. If you don’t need or want to do it, then why are you spending your time on it?
We all have a finite amount of time in the bank. Don’t squander it.