One Phone Call: “I Don’t Have Time”
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” — William Penn
In just three days, the number one reason or excuse I heard from people was “I don’t have time” for everything. Whether it’s to workout, to visit loved ones, or to apply for an online course. Does one of these sounds familiar? It certainly does for me. All those daily schedules packed with household chores, big projects and urgent tasks leave us no choice but to say, “I don’t have time” to our colleagues, friends, and family.
I was the same, and until today, I still get caught up with my to-do list every now and then. Whenever I have said “I don’t have time”, I was actually saying “It’s not my priority” or even worse “You’re not my priority”. It stings right?
Three weeks ago, my aunt called and asked me about when the last time was I visited my grandparents. I replied with “since New Year’s celebration 2018”, and I added, “because I don’t have time”. I could notice my aunt replying calmly: “While you’re busy, your grandparents aren’t getting younger either. They miss you.”
I felt an overwhelming wave of guilt all over me. All I could think about was when I didn’t start making time anymore for my grandparents.
The Value Of Giving Time
Since that phone call, I wanted to eliminate that phrase from my vocabulary for good. I came to realise once again the value of giving time; a gift which is most valuable to the receiver and most satisfying for the giver. You and me, we can’t stop time, we only get so much of it, and never know how much that will be.
“When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” — Rick Warren
After the phone call, I wanted to make time more than anything else. Without a single hesitation, I dropped whatever I was doing. I took a step back and tried to figure out why I wanted to make more free time. It wasn’t only for my grandparents, but for all the people who I gladly want to give my time. In short, time is a choice.
By not saying “I don’t have time” anymore, I eliminated many excuses from my life in those three weeks. At first, I didn’t realise I was using it as an excuse out of a nasty habit. But when I finally did, I noticed the benefit that comes from it. Here are my top three benefits.
1. I Stopped Procrastinating
I often used to think to myself “I’ll do it later. I don’t have time now.”, and sometimes more than two times a day. This is especially the case when it’s something I don’t enjoy doing. I wasted so much time by pilling up everything I postponed. Once I recognise I was procrastinating, I was able to get rid of this habit.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or a college student, you must get things done in time to cultivate discipline and become successful. Stop leaving things to the last minute and you will see how much time you can make.
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” — Edward Young
2. I Stopped Feeling Guilty
I can’t even count how many times I have felt guilty for cancelling a precious family moment or a fun party with friends. All because of my endless to-do lists, which only made myself feel busy all the time. When I rediscovered the value of time, I looked at my messy desk with my dead plant at the top right corner, and it came to me that life is fleeting.
You should always make time for the people you love, otherwise, you can spend many years regretting you were too busy to meet up with friends or have dinner with your grandparents.
“Glory, built on selfish principles, is shame and guilt.” — William Cowper
3. I Started Living
A busy life isn’t a fulfilled life.
If your life is filled with chock-full of schedules that include work, cleaning, cooking, shopping and sleeping, I’m not sorry to say this but you are not living your life. You simply exist. You live to make money and nothing more. Stop saying you don’t have time for a happy and fun life, otherwise, you will have nothing to remember as you get older. You may not think so now, but you will eventually.
“A busy life is a wasted life.” — Francis Crick
Stop Saying “I Don’t Have Time”
“I don’t have time”, what you’re actually saying is “It’s not my priority”, or even worse “You’re not my priority”.
Language is often used to provide a polite answer when the truth might be hard to hear. From time to time, we even subject ourselves to a more polite language and end up in situations like mine. How you use your time is very important. It’s a limited resource and shouldn’t be wasted. Don’t risk putting it to poor use by failing to be honest with yourself and others about your priorities in life. Alter your language and you may just discover what’s most important.
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