This phrase may be the five most sour words I could possibly hear with motivation. “I don’t have enough time” is an acknowledgment of defeat. It is saying, it’s out of my control, there is nothing that I possibly can do. I mean, I want to, but it’s not my fault I can’t.
I call foul here.
Of all the things in this world with money, intelligence, physical ability, experience, and every other thing that factors into achieving a goal, time is the ONLY thing that is unchangeable from person to person.
Probably more accurately, its “I don’t want to give it priority.” For some, it’s a simple excuse. Others really believe they could do it if God would grant them another couple hours in the day but are blind to the time they are actually using up. The one that makes me frustrated is those who take honor in wearing the badge of being busy. It’s an achievement they need to unlock, a burden they must bear. Hog wash.
I had a tweet I sent out in the end of Spring 2017 when I was looking to move 2,000 miles across Colorado, sell my old house, buy my new house, change jobs, apply for the credentials and licensures needed for a new job, and apply for a new job. All of this while still working a full time job, writing for ChurchMag, beginning to plan out ChurchAndMentalHealth.com, be a father, husband, and keep my sanity. The tweet said something along the lines of “If God gave me an extra 12 hours in my day, I’d fill it up and still be asking for more time to sleep.”
Even in the rush of things, I was able to do what I needed to, though life was still NOTHING close to resembling normal. At the time of this writing, I have tons of free time at work, the house was sold, the job secured, fully moved into the new house, and really nothing has changed in regards to productivity from before. I have staked the claim of what is most important.
If the phrase “I don’t have enough time” is the worst phrase to hear, “yeah, but..” is the second most annoying.” I heard everything you just said, but none of that matters because clearly my life is so much worse than yours. Or, if only I had the support and experience you have.
If that’s what you think is required for success, you are wrong.
Do an exercise with me. There are 168 hours in your week, right? I want you to spend the next 20 minutes recounting at least 15 total tasks/activities that are a part of your week. Include sleep, eating, hygiene, TV, time with kids, time on your phone, etc. You can certainly do more, but you cannot do less. Also, you HAVE to fill all 168 hours.
Further, do not guestimate the amount of time you put into it. Really think how much time it took. Also, NO multitasking. If you were on your phone with Facebook during family time, you have to pick one. Which were you actually doing?
Using the sheet at the end of this section, write down these 15 things you do in your day including mundane things such as clean, driving to work, watching television, playing video games, working, sleep, and hygiene. During your day, for an entire week, identify how much time you actually spend doing each item that week.
After you have completed this, answer these three questions for me:
- What is the most important items on your list? (Use a different color and number them)
- Does what you have as most important line up with what you give the most time to?
- What do you need to cut down or cut out?
I can already hear it now. “Yeah, but Jeremy, me working is supporting my number one priority of family.” “Yeah, but Jeremy, I need time to wind down and watch MANY hours of TV, social media, or video games.” “Yeah, but Jeremy…”
No, no, no!
I don’t disagree with those “yeah, but…” statements. Yet that’s not the point of this exercise. The point is, you have decided the things you invest your time into are most important. Now you have to decide what you want to do with this knowledge. And you have exactly two rational choices:
- Stop complaining about not having enough time and instead start saying that it’s not a priority.
- Stop complaining and change what time and energy you are giving to things that are less important so you can start to devote more time to your side hustle, ministry, or other projects.
The choice of continuing to complain you do not have enough time is now defunct. Get over it, we all have the same limitations, you are not special because you are busy. What makes you special is what you do with the very gift of time God has granted all of us.
What changes are you going to make with your time in regards to what is most important for you?