“I Don’t Have Time”

We all know those driven people who always get things done, never waste a minute, and live very productive and efficient lives. Many of us are lucky to know these types of people by way of our parents. Others of us know them because they are our teachers. Some of us know them as a parish priest or pastor. Yet, some of us just need to look at our own peers as examples of motivated people.

However, some don’t have these positive examples around them so they understandably don’t develop these strong traits. Others do have plenty of good examples around them but choose to look the other way because if they followed that type of lifestyle it would make each day too hard and “inconvenient.”

I think the number one excuse of people today is the tired, cliché response of “I just don’t have time.” No other excuse serves as a greater cop out from doing anything worthwhile or productive than this one. Yes, people use this excuse because they are lazy but they also use it because they have no idea what busy means. They don’t realize that there are actually twenty-four hours in the day nor do they understand the value of will-power.

I believe you can pretty much do anything you want. If you have the desire to get something done, you will find the time to do it. A perfect example of this is working out.  I can’t stand it when people say they can’t make it to the gym because they “don’t have time.” Baloney. If you can’t find an hour early in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work to improve your fitness than you can always look at the 24-hour gyms that are available in every area and find an odd hour to get your workout in. If you are still not working out, please don’t say it is because you can’t fit it into your schedule, just be honest and say it is not a priority for you.

People also use the “busy” excuse to explain why they don’t take up personal projects/hobbies that they always say they would like to do but simply can’t get around to it because of time constraints. Reading a book series, applying for a job, taking a class, starting a blog, or volunteering are all examples of productive endeavors that we all could do on a regular basis but so often  these good intentions succumb to the “don’t have time” trap.

Perhaps the greatest sin with the “I don’t have time” excuse comes with relationships. Whether it is a friend, relative, or significant other, if you are willing to truly work it out, you will find a time to hang out with that person. Telling someone else that “you don’t have time” to meet with them is a slap in the face. One of the reasons why I hate the excuse so much is because it makes the person using it sound like they are much more important than others. No, you are not the pope, the President of the United States, or Santa Claus…you are not in that high of demand so please don’t act like it. Make yourself available. If indeed your schedule is as stretched as you claim then make a sacrifice and honor a relationship before yourself.

Okay, that last sentence just revealed my remedy to everyone who feels they are “busy”: Sacrifice. Honestly, many of the things you can do to become more efficient and make time for more important missions really are not even sacrifices, they are just life’s annoyances that we let get in the way. But for lack of a better (or weaker) word I will say sacrifice. Cut out the crap that is keeping you from achieving loftier goals, better health, and stronger relationships. If you can’t get everything done to make you a better person with all of the time-wasting activities incorporated into your life than you have to let it go. Start with the time wasted on Facebook. Move on next to the countless television shows and movies watched. Put down the iPhone. Quit texting. Stop taking naps. Cut back on partying. If you do all of these things and say you don’t have time to work out, see an old friend, or start a blog then I am going to call you a lazy bum.

Behind all of this is one additional factor that I really feel cuts into the productivity of people and that would be sleep. I am amazed at the time and productivity wasted by people who go to bed before midnight and then sleep in right to the point of when they have to be to work or, when they don’t have work, right up into the early afternoon. As a society we put way too much emphasis and value on sleep. Some of the best hours for productivity take place during the late night and early morning. To spend these hours unconscious is a waste. Sorry, I just don’t buy into the notion that a healthy adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If we slept 8 hours every single night, we would spend 33% of our lives in slumber. Don’t say you don’t have time to do something when over 30% of your day is devoted to an activity that isolates yourself from the whole world.

Think long and hard before you make the excuse of “not having the time.” Think about how ridiculous, untrue, and conceded such a statement sounds. Instead, just respond with honesty. Whatever it might be….laziness, non-priority, fear, indifference, etc., just tell it how it is. Remember, you can always make the time to do what is important. Don’t Blink.