Running out of time, busy-ness, the underlying urgency, and the felt sense of the clock constantly ticking has arguably become a cultural epidemic. How many of your friends and family members have you heard say “I have plenty of time to take vacation?” I hope you hear this from loved ones and from yourself. However I’d hedge my bets that you more often hear “I wish I had more time.”
I am learning slowly the strategies that seem to help me to accomplish important tasks, feel balanced, and content with how I use my day. Doing so is a constant re-focusing of my attention. One major shift has been replacing the words “I haven’t had time” to “it hasn’t been my priority.” This reframe can be painful at first. I think because it forces us to own our choices. You are correct, there is not enough time for everything. But if we want there to be enough time for the important things, our responsibility lies in finding ways to prioritize the important items above the less significant ones.
Realistically, our time is a finite resource. When we take an honest look at our life and how we use our time, sometimes we might be in for an uncomfortable awakening. If we have a highly important goal that keeps getting shoved to the bottom of our list, owning that “I have not made my own goal a priority” wakes me up. When we pass the buck to “there just is not enough time,” it is too easy for the pattern to stay the same. The problem I find with this is though passing the buck feels better for me temporarily, in the long-term if I don’t do what I really want to, I am the one suffering for it. Consider a time when a loved one says to you “why haven’t we had more time together?” and your response is “it hasn’t been my priority,” (even if just to yourself), this realization will be incredibly painful. Good! If this person is important to you, it should be painful. The pain is trying to help you correct your course and is therefore in your and your loved one’s best interest. Gandhi once said, “action expresses priorities.”
A curious disappointment that happens too often is when I feel like I have been working really hard, only to look back and realize that my energy was spent laboring on something that does not truly matter to me. Because time is finite, knowing and staying in touch with our values is vital. If you have not asked yourself recently what matters to you most, please do. Seriously, we only have so much time on the planet. My question is, are you doing what you really want and what deeply matters to you? Because if you are not, some day you may find yourself reflecting back on life with regret. I urge you to look at what important things you are procrastinating on, the major things that are put on the back burner. Find ways to put those items first. Define your true priorities and take action!