It’s time we stop lying to ourselves when it comes to time.
I’ve never met anyone who said he wanted a little less time in his day. I’ve never heard someone say she wanted more responsibilities to fill up her day. We all say, “I’m sorry, I just don’t have time for that.”
We’re all too busy, or so we say. If I had $100 for every time I said I was too busy to do something, I’d have enough money I could free up nine or 10 hours a day and stop working.
Unfortunately, I’m just fooling myself, and I suspect you are too.
I don’t doubt that your day, like mine, is filled to the brim. It’s chock-full of things we think we need to do. When we ponder adding something else — a new club, a different way of expressing our faith, or even reading a new book — it’s easy to say we just don’t have time for that.
When you tell someone you don’t have time for something, you’re really not complaining about time at all. You’re complaining about your own priority system.
If I walked up to you and said I had a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii for you and your special someone, but you had to leave tomorrow, would you really say you didn’t have time for that? Or would you accept it and spend the next few hours figuring out how to adjust your plans?
I’m as busy as the next guy, but I’d be wearing a lei within a day. It would become a priority for me to go enjoy that unexpected treat.
So it is with so much of life. We make time for what seems important in our lives.
That’s what concerns me about some of the things I find myself saying “no” to doing. I’ve said I’m too busy for some really worthwhile endeavors. They are things I would’ve enjoyed and would’ve made a difference in my life and in others’ lives.
Instead, you find yourself executing your favorite time-waster. I spend entirely too much time reading things online and watching YouTube videos from late night shows. I’m certainly not making the world a better place using part of my “too busy” day this way. Ditto for all the hours of football I watch when I really don’t really care who wins the game.
Sometimes things that sound like time-wasters really aren’t. We spend a few hours each week playing games with our children. It might sound like a time-waster to some, but to me it’s the most valuable investment in my children I can make. It truly is a priority in our lives, even if it doesn’t make sense to others.
We all need some downtime, don’t get me wrong. If that downtime is keeping you from doing things that really improve your life or your community, you’re only letting yourself down by not doing them.
Luckily, in some cases, opportunities come back around for you. When you get that second chance, you hope you’ll be more open to it. We all need to make time for what matters.