If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
- Author Unknown
Precious, fleeting, flying, enigmatic time.
Doesn’t that seem to be the number one excuse we tell ourselves for why things don’t get done….I don’t have enough time.
As much as it is an excuse, sometimes it really does seem like there is not enough time to do all the things you want to do.
But, as my wise brother once said to me, we all have 24 hours every day to do with what we choose. It may not always seem that way, but it really is the truth. We each mix and match a patchwork of minutes and hours, and those become our days.
Yes, life can also deliver many unexpected twists that we may have to work into our plans. But for the most part, on a day to day basis, we really do have a lot of control over these combinations of minutes and hours that we choose.
So then, what exactly does that mean when we get to the end of a day, or a month, or a year and we haven’t accomplished some of those things we had meant to begin?
We’ve Been Too Busy to Start Meditating….
This certainly happens to me. Sometimes, with little chores I meant to get done, and sometimes with bigger things I’ve wanted to start.
At the start of this year, I decided I wanted to begin meditating. The benefits of a practice seemed enormous. Plus, it fit right into a larger theme I was tackling for the year of being more present. A close friend of mine had come to the same conclusion and we decided to begin together.
We did a ton of reading on the topic, I reached out to some friends for suggestions on where to begin, and we formulated a plan. We were ready to start meditating.
Fast forward several months (I’m embarrassed to disclose how many), we still had not begun. We were discussing this with another buddy over brunch and we actually uttered the words: “We’ve been too busy to start meditating.”
Those are the kind of words that sound ridiculous as soon as they leave your mouth. Understandably, we were greeted by a giant burst of laughter, and our friend noted that there was a bit of irony in being too busy to meditate. Clearly we were two people who could benefit from some meditation!
Shortly after, we finally made it a priority and did begin meditating. It was a tougher start than I anticipated (another sign that I could benefit from meditation), but then I got to truly LOVE it. It was bringing all sorts of new elements to my life that I was appreciating; I felt committed to continuing.
AAAANNND….then I stopped. And well, I have yet to really begin again.
What happened? Basically, I just hadn’t been able to make the time to stick with it. Yup, there it is….TIME.
“If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
In theory, I completely 100% believe this quote. In fact, I love this quote. But, how can this be? Meditation WAS important to me, yet I was still not getting it done. Here I was dragging out the old excuse of time.
I decided I needed to break this down and really dive into what was happening.
Here is what I came up with: I’ve decided that this “time excuse” that we use and more importantly truly feel, really boils down to TWO fundamental components:
1. Prioritizing Time
2. Eliminating the ultimate time sucking trio of Putz, Putter and Piddle. Or, more concisely, stop wasting time.
The first part, prioritizing time, lays the groundwork for pretty much everything in our lives. We have to prioritize how we fill our days. It’s important to be deliberate in choosing the things that we feel are most important, and we need to plan and carve out time for those important things. This is a place for many where all the “buts” start to arise. If you feel any “buts” surface as you read these words, note them, but then check them at the door.
Our days are so valuable, we need to make sure that we are filling them up with things that are important and fulfilling. Things that for the most part, make us happy. If the pieces that are filling up the most of our time are not making us fulfilled, it’s probably time to make some changes, maybe not this very minute, but change needs to be in the near future.
These priorities also need to be something we can say out loud and be specific about. If we can’t verbalize what it is we want to be a priority, it’s not going to happen. What are your priorities? What are the things that are most important to you? What do you absolutely want to make time for in your day, in your month, in your life? Tell someone, write it down. That is the first step towards making sure you have time for those priorities.
I did this with meditating. I knew I wanted it to be a priority. I knew this was something I wanted to become part of my lifestyle and was important. So why was I not able to stick with it? Where did all that time I planned on carving out go? It’s not like I picked up karate or knitting in its place.
As much as I want to say I was just too busy, if I’m really, truly honest with myself (which is what we have to do when we want to see change), I really needed to look at exactly how I was spending my time, and more specifically; was I wasting any of it? And that brings us to component number two.
Putz, Putter, Piddle…
There are SO many ways to waste time these days, particularly in the world of technology.
It’s easy to decide to quickly check email or Facebook between activities, and all of sudden 30 minutes is sucked up. Or have you ever looked up something on the internet and before you know it, you’re on a fact finding goose chase and an hour is gone?
Personally, I can easily spend an entire evening playing music suggested to me by Genius or perusing around Spotify. We’ve each got our own time munchers. For some people it’s an evening of television, or finding stats for a Fantasy Football League. Maybe you can’t even name your time slurp, you just putter around the house. There are all sorts of different activities that can eat up time if we are not careful.
Don’t get me wrong, none of these things in themselves are all that bad, and in fact many are fun, can help us unwind, and can be even be great additions to our lives. The problem arises when we are not deliberate about the time we give to these activities. They can all be time suckers; and if we are not careful, they can suck time from our priorities.
This component #2 about wasting time, is the one I personally want to tackle, the one I need to tackle. This is the piece of the “I don’t have enough time” excuse that needs my attention the most. The good news is, this is actually something over which I have a fair amount of control. I just need to become more aware of when it is happening, and get a little more disciplined.
I do believe the above quote. We CAN make time for the things that are important to us. So, no more excuses. I DO have 24 hours in my day, and I’m going to try to be more deliberate about how I spend each and every one of them.
I’m starting small. I’m getting back on the meditation horse, and I am really going to monitor my time-suck activities, even if this means getting out an old-fashioned timer and really watching my time. I’m not giving up any of these things. I’m just going to make sure when I am doing these activities, I am choosing to do them and really become aware of the time I am spending on them.
We’ll see if I can’t finally kick the old ‘not enough time’ excuse for good….wouldn’t that be nice? Hey, you got to start somewhere!
So how about you? What have you been meaning to get accomplished? Have you found yourself using the excuse of not enough time? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what ideas you might have to get time back on our side.
If it’s important to you, you will find a way….