Make Time for What Matters
When I became an Executive with the YMCA for the first time I wasn’t an avid workout person, actually, if I am being honest somedays my best workout was bringing my workout bag into the office and carrying it back out unused at the end of the work day. I would often plan to workout at lunch but I would end up “running out of time” but really, it was just an excuse because I didn’t want to workout. I am not alone in this as one of the top reasons someone doesn’t exercise is because they “don’t have time.” To the “I don’t have time” crowd, the excuse might make you feel better, it might even warrant sympathy from others in the crowd, but is it the truth?
As humans we are all born with advantages and disadvantages that help us or hold us back in life but one area that is the exact same for all of us is the amount of time we have in each day. 1,440 minutes in each day to be exact. Here is the fun part, we have 100% control of how we spend every single one of those minutes each day. Obviously, each decision we make has an outcome that is either positive or negative but either way how we use our time is our decision. This isn’t my opinion, it can’t be debated, and we are all equals in this regard. So how do some people have time for something like exercise and others do not? It is simple, they care about it and prioritize it.
A few months ago I decided I was going to do my very best to stop saying “I don’t have time for xyz” and honestly it was a challenge. I grew up hearing the phrase from family and friends, heard it in college, hear it constantly in my professional life but why do we all say something that is a lie so often? It’s simple, it works. If we are really telling the truth the statement should be replaced with, “I wasn’t able to complete project xyz because it was not a priority to me” or “I do not exercise because my health is not a priority to me” Can you imagine if that is what we actually said and heard?!?
I am a big believer in what we say and consume is what we become. If we tell ourselves we don’t have time to start a business, get in shape or learn a new skill then we will fail to grow. We will then seek out people who accept us for our excuses and then the result compounds. Finally, we will either hit a breaking point where we stop lying to ourselves about time or we will look back upon it wishing we had more.
So now that we have the truth established about time let’s take a look at how we can better prioritize it:
- Determine the areas that are most important to you, for me it is my family, friends, health, career, and hobbies.
- Start each week blank and build based off of your priorities. If you are saying your family is the most important area in your life but it is getting scheduled last then your time isn’t lined up with your priorities.
- Say No to areas you that don’t fit your priorities but take up your time.
- Plan your meals out in advance of the week, you will save money on eating out, eat healthier, and have to make less decisions in your day.
- Start each and everyday for yourself, for me that looks like exercise because it is really hard to make the “I don’t have time” excuse at 6am.
We are all humans with a mountain of obligations and people counting on us. If you have a significant other, kids, parents, careers, etc. that adds another layer of time demand. There are days where you spend your time exactly as you want and there are days where you spend your time in the exact opposite way. Regardless of how yesterday went or tomorrow will go, know that you ultimately have 100% control of your time and you can change how you use time as a resource anytime you choose.