A couple weeks ago I read something that has firmly planted itself in my brain. For the life of me, I now can’t remember where I read it, so if you read the same thing, let me know.
Here’s the gist of it.
Humanity’s favorite excuse is I don’t have time. I don’t have time to clean my room. I don’t have time to cook. I don’t have time to call my family. For some reason, we take pride in appearing busy. It’s as though we think others will commend our hectic schedules, and condemn anything else as laziness.
This thing I read (wherever it was) called this line of reasoning a total cop-out. It has nothing to do with not having time and everything to do with what we deem priorities. Regardless of how we want others to perceive us, our days are exactly as long as everyone else’s. The only thing that differentiates my schedule from yours is how I choose to spend those hours. The writer of the original article I read suggested this tactic for breaking out of the mental habit:
Instead of saying I don’t have time for XYZ,say to yourself,XYZ is not a priority.
How does that sit with you?
Going to the gym is not a priority. Having a sit-down meal with my family is not a priority. Searching and applying for a better job is not a priority.
Kind of makes you cringe, right?
I’ve been trying to make this phrase a permanent tool in my mental arsenal, but it’s still tough. I’ve been avoiding grocery shopping for a while because I don’t have time, so I’ve been eating weird combinations of foods I already had in my pantry. But the truth I’m actually operating under is Eating well and taking care of my body is not a priority. Eek. Yesterday I found a new recipe I wanted to try, but it was going to take a trip to the grocery store and then an hour or so of prep time. I was tempted to eat the can of beans that was already sitting on my pantry shelf, but then I caught myself. Eating well and taking care of my body is a priority. It should be one of the highest. So right after work I made myself drive to Whole Foods, pick up the ingredients, make the dish, and clean the kitchen. It felt good, and I had enough food left over for lunch today, saving me time this morning to do all the other things I didn’t do last night.
A similar mantra is one I saw on Pinterest: If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
What’s your experience with making time for priorities? Have you had to make any tough decisions in cutting out activities or habits to make room for more important things?
[update! Thanks to Karen, I've found the original thing I read. It was this post on Cup of Jo, one of my favorite blogs, and it was about this article from the Wall Street Journal. Both excellent reads.]