Stop Saying, “I Don’t Have Time.”

“We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right.”

– Nelson Mandela

“My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

– Steve Jobs

“I don’t have enough time in the day.” This is something I constantly hear from people in my journey of life. Don’t we all need more time? Twenty-four hours a day doesn’t seem to be enough time to conquer our long to-do list.As a busy manager managing a very busy healthcare program I have been in a place where I feel like I never had enough time.During this time, I have felt tired, anxious, stressed, and over-allocated.

But with time I have learned that I have do things better because work doesn’t go away or reduce but I have to do business better to become effective, to become productive, to stay motivated and to also to have self care for myself.

Whether it be to accomplish goals, finish a daily task, self care, hours of sleep, reading a book, or doing something they’ve always wanted to do, people are continuously excusing not doing these things as a subject of “not enough time.

We have to stop being victims of time and instead take ownership. The words you tell yourself matter. And if you are telling yourself (and others around you) that you don’t have time, you may just begin believing it. 

In 2016, I was appointed manage my current program, with my role I was responsible for the strategic planning and coordination of children’s services in First Nation communities in the Province of Manitoba. My role involved travelling for partnership meetings, budgeting, managing teams and many other responsibilities. With time I had to conscientiously begin to remove the phrase “I don’t have time” from my everyday conversation, and with time “I don’t have time” started to loosen its controlling grip over me. I was no longer the victim, I was the one in power. Today my understanding of time is much better but I would lie if I would say that the feeling of not having enough time is gone completely. And it’s not because I am afraid of the future or that I will run out of time. It is mainly because it seems that there’s too many great things I want to do and too little time to reconcile.

I have learned that it is not time management one need.

You cannot manage time.

No, you cannot manage time, BUT you can manage your own activities. We can manage how we individually choose to spend our time. With all the inequalities of wealth in our world, time is not one of them. Time is equally given by Creator to each of us and it is up to us to decide how to use it.

Do you ever feel like you’re completely overwhelmed with things to do, yet you’re still not doing enough? Maybe you thought you’d be further ahead in life than you are right now, or maybe you have this list in the back of your head of things you *should* be doing.

Probably you are one of those people you have caught yourself saying:

I don’t have time to deal with that person right now.

I don’t have time to take a shower right now.

I don’t have time to focus on the laundry right now.

I don’t have time to referee my kids right now.

I don’t have time to do the dishes right now.

I don’t have time to explain that right now.

I don’t have time to take this call right now.

I don’t have time to text back right now.

I don’t have time to tell him my heart right now.

I don’t have time to do what I want to do right now.

No matter what you do, it doesn’t quite seem to have enough time. Seeing other people’s successes might trigger this feeling of inadequacy and lack of enough time to do anything right. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can also make you think that nothing is ever quite good enough.

So with that foundational belief, here are seven things you can fix today.

Don’t lie to yourself

When you say that you do not have enough time for something, you are essentially saying that it is not a priority for you. By saying you don’t have time, you are in essence, lying to yourself. You should instead, just be honest about it. If you really wish to accomplish something, make time, instead of making excuses. Raise the standards on yourself. It’s a recipe for failure if something should be a priority, but you simply don’t make time for it.

But, be aware that everyone has different priorities. To some people, the priority is career progression, to others the priority is financial independence. To most, people, the priority is work, life balance.  Whatever, it is, just be honest to yourself, evaluate what your priorities are and focus on achieving your goals.

Clarify what’s truly important to you – and for you to do

This takes time and some analysis every day, and sometimes multiple times throughout the day. Many people will be making requests of you all day long. Bosses, peers, subordinates, spouses, kids, friends, clients, vendors … If you simply throw all those requests into a to-do list, you will be overwhelmed in no time, and will constantly struggle to best use your time.

Audit your day

No one likes to hear the word “audit” but this clinical, dry-sounding practice is CRUCIAL to figuring out where your time is going.

Daily Tip: Next to every task on my to do list, I write down the time I start in on it, and the time I finish it.

Living By Your Values

If we look honestly at our lives, we probably spend a lot of time doing things that distract from our purpose or what we regard to be really important. Scrolling through social media is a great example, some of us spend way too much time on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social media programs.

None of us have mastered perfectly juggling work, friends, family, hobbies and home – and it’s ok to admit we haven’t always got it figured out. It’s also ok to step back from the race to keep up with others and the pressure to constantly consume and add physical things (but not always value) to our lives.

We have to choose to put value on things that necessary for us. Place your values at the very heart of your lifestyle and remove the things that detract from these. If you value time spent with family, it means taking an honest look at the (unnecessary) things that might be getting in the way. Learn how to say no to too many commitments, stop rushing and assign the right amount of time to each task. After identifying your values and what you want to place at the heart of your lifestyle, it’s time to start simplifying both the physical and non-physical clutter.

When you admit you have time for something valuable—and again, we always do—it puts you on the right track to do something about it.Just do it, give time to that one thing that has value to you and wait to see what happens. Something exciting and magical will start to grow out of your efforts.

Big rocks, little rocks

If you need more help with prioritising the things that matter to you, check out Stephen R. Covey’s analogy of big rocks (important things you can’t miss) and little rocks (less important things).

The idea is that if you concentrate on the big rocks first, you’ll be more productive than when you let the little things take over your schedule.

Wait a Minute

Stop the hamster wheel! Start with WAIDT (pronounced as ‘wait’) – “Why Am I Doing This?” I find this question as relevant today as it was in 2016 when I started my present job. This simple reflection is a great way to stop spending time on things that are no longer worthwhile or valued.

Rest

Resting may seem like a strange place to start but in reality, it is by far the most important if we desire to achieve the success we crave as human beings. Our society mistakenly believes that if we just follow the “hustling mindset” we will find success, so we are afraid to stop moving. But our brain requires periods of rest. Healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Acknowledge it, accept it, and move on. Sleep is non-negotiable. According to Tom Rath’s book, “Eat, Move, Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference,” your quality of work can drop down as much as 30% when you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. 

What do periods of resting look like? Well, we just covered sleep, but it can also include spending time on spiritual activities such meditation, taking a break away from the computer, or sitting outside in nature for a few minutes. The key to your resting periods is they should feel renewing and restorative, otherwise, it’s not rest!

Your Turn!

Think of one thing you’ve been putting consistent effort into lately. How does this add up to something bigger? If you feel like sharing, leave a comment with your answer below!

If you found this post helpful, bookmark or pin it for later so you can revisit it whenever you start to fear that you’re not doing enough.

Remember: A lack of time is not the problem, wasting time and filling your life with unimportant things is the problem.

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