"I Don't Have Time" is a Bullsh*t Excuse
I believe that the number of times you use the excuse “I don’t have time” is directly correlated to the number of minutes you spend on social media or watching TV.
Until very recently I used this excuse all the time. I always felt like time was fleeting. If someone asked me to alter my schedule for something I was frustrated and stressed about it. I would get so worked up about not having enough time that I would break down and cry about it.
That probably sounds really extreme and hopefully you haven’t taken it that far yet. Or maybe you read that and were nodding your head and feeling the weight of time on your shoulders like I was.
We all have 24 hours in a day
Here’s the thing with time though, and you’ve probably heard this a million times but, we all do have 24 hours in a day. However, in that 24 hours, we choose what we do with our time.
We all have different work, kids and significant other schedules that we have to manage which can feel like we have less time than someone who doesn’t have kids or a significant other.
So some people get up early or stay up late, pay for childcare or not, take the bus or drive a car, etc. Either way we choose how to prioritize our time. Even though sometimes it might not feel like a choice.
How much time do you spend on social media?
Here’s an example that maybe you can relate to. Like most people I kept my phone next to my bed while I slept, so when the alarm went off all I had to do was pick up my phone and turn it off. This made it very easy to “check” my social media first thing in the morning while still laying in bed. “Check” is a great word in relation to social media. “Checking” very quickly became aimlessly scrolling. I would waste an entire hour first thing in the morning this way. I did this for years.
I often said “I don’t have time” to workout in the morning or “I don’t have time to make breakfast”. But wait, what about that hour spent getting some thumb exercise? Couldn’t I use that time to workout? “Nahh.. it’s part of what wakes me up in the morning” was my excuse for this bad habit. I called bullshit.
Once I decided exercise was a priority, I CHOSE to make time for it. I had to cut something else out of my day to make that time. A useless hour of social media seemed like just the thing. Now I sleep with my phone across the room on my dresser so I have to get out of bed to turn my alarm off. Works like a charm.
How about nighttime? If you’re not a morning person and you’d rather find more time in the evenings that’s okay too. Do you watch television every night? If yes, do you need to watch TV, or are you choosing to? Ask yourself that question honestly.
Besides a couple of TV shows I watch one or two episodes a week, I don’t watch much tv. For me that time is much better spent learning a new skill or spending quality time with my husband, or making a delicious home cooked meal. Things that I used to say I didn’t have time for.
log your time
My point here is this, if you want more time to workout, cook healthy meals, meal prep, spend time with family, etc, take a good look at your typical day. If you’re not sure where your time goes, keep a log. Literally log every hour of the day without trying to change your normal habits. If you watch tv 2 hours each night write it down, if you scroll social media every morning for an hour, it goes in the log. No shame, just observations.
Now start crossing out anything that isn’t important to you. If your favorite show is on every Thursday night and you’d die if you missed it, then don’t cross that one out. But if you’re aimlessly channel surfing on Tuesday nights, maybe you can find something better to do instead.
Start small, at first you might only find one hour a week. But maybe after that becomes a habit you find another hour somewhere else. This won’t happen overnight. Changing habits is hard work.
Write a new schedule
Once you have a few things crossed out, write up another schedule with your open blocks of time and fill them with things that you want to do. Could be as simple as, take the dog on a long walk on Tuesday evenings, or maybe you freed up some time on Sunday nights to have date night with your SO. Whatever you’ve been complaining about not having enough time for, you now have time.
I find this exercise really helpful anytime I’m stressing about running out of time in the day. I repeat it every 2-3 months or anytime there is a big change like a new job, or a fitness class I want to squeeze in, or a new online course I’m taking. I have less anxiety when I know what I can and cannot fit into my schedule.
Certain times of the year I have more going on and have to cut out some stuff that I really like to do. Such is life and it’s always going to be a balance.
Another helpful exercise is to write down your short term and long term goals. Then write down what you need to do to achieve them. Turn that list into action steps and/or to do list items. Now find the time you can squeeze those in by making them a priority to reach your goals.
Time is hot commodity and if social media or TV is important to you then don’t cut it out. But I bet it might be taking up more time then you realize. Or maybe it’s not technology, maybe your job is taking up too much of your time and it’s stressing you out. Can you leave work early or go in late on certain days? Everyone’s schedule is different as are our priorities. If you choose make time for what is most important to you, I promise you won’t regret it.