How often do you say to yourself or to others “I haven’t got time”? I found I would say it a lot more than it was probably a true and accurate reflection of the situation.
Let’s face it, nobody likes to let anyone down and on the whole we don’t want to upset anybody either. “I haven’t got time” (or variations of this sentence) are usually half true in so far as we have busy lives and it can be difficult to juggle all the tasks and responsibilities. But how many times do we actually want to say instead, “I’ve only got a finite amount of time available and this is not a priority for me?” Whilst saying this could actually come across as rude or insulting in the first instance, we could also reflect upon the white lie being told and see that as rude and insulting too, no?!
How much better would it feel though to just say “I’m sorry I can’t make it” or “I’m afraid I can’t make time for that right now”? Saying, “I haven’t got time” is actually a bit of a cop-out but more importantly it subconsciously allows us to believe the story that we are victims to time itself rather than being able to manage it appropriately for ourselves and live within its limits.
Yes, we’ve got jobs to do, chores to work on, people dependent on us but we do have control over how we run our day, and how we prioritise the people and activities in our lives.
This is not supposed to be a guilt-trip or a finger-wagging exercise, by the way. This is me reflecting on how liberating it is to be honest with ourselves about not wanting to do stuff. Of course, sometimes there are things we might do against our true desire to suit others or because our involvement is genuinely needed but I’m not talking about those things.
I am not saying we should all become less charitable and start being overly direct or harsh with others but rather when we’re going to say no to something, let’s not rush to blame time and instead feel empowered by our prioritisation and decision-making. If we want to do something but think that time doesn’t allow us, let’s check our priorities and ensure that the other things stopping us from doing the thing are well worth the sacrifice.
And above all, at the very least, let’s stop telling ourselves stories about time alone being the reason why things are or aren’t happening. The things we really want to do usually get done. We just have to ask ourselves “how much do we want it?”