“I Don’t Have Time” Deconstructed

A fellow I knew once told me something I didn’t know:

If you say you don’t have time for something, what that really means is it isn’t a priority for you, he stated. But it’s harder to say that, so most of us say, I don’t have time.

At first, I chafed at this. “I don’t have time” was a staple of mine. It was true, too, I thought. I don’t have time to volunteer for that project, reorganize my finances, go to Vermont for the weekend.

But the reality is I do have time. I have the same 24 hours in the day that you, your dentist, Toni Morrison, my aunt, and all her friends have.

This fellow brought me to the belief that my responsibility is to spend my time as a reflection of my priorities. So if I were to show you my calendar, I could say, That right there is what matters to me.

And when non-priorities crop up, my responsibility is to be honest. First, with myself – because I’m not a victim of time; I’m a person making a conscious choice to spend my hours elsewhere. Then, with others – find a clear, kind way to voice that choice to whomever wants our hours.

Easy? No. Acts of honesty and responsibility often aren’t. But when I’ve mustered the guts to do it, I’ve felt stronger and clearer, like I’m respecting my hours and the hours of others who want them.

And moving closer towards spending my time as a reflection of my priorities.

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