I saw the following video on Facebook a little while ago and it’s been weighing on my mind ever since. Go on, take the three minutes and watch it all the way through. I’ll just wait right here…
Powerful message right?
In living out my 2017 focus word, joy, I’ve been working on being more in tune with my happiness. I make time for gratitude and I make a conscious effort to maintain a constructive mindset. What I don’t think I realized until recently, though, was how vital time is in all of that. Time (and how you spend yours) is such a big player in the secret to real contentment. That being said, let me introduce a related quote that is truly changing how I think about (and act on) things these days:
You have time for anything. You have time to pour your heart into a hobby you love. You have time to find a job you love. You have time to travel to the places you love. You have time to spend with the people you love. You have time to take care of you and show yourself some love. See the trend?
By recognizing what your priorities are and how they differ from what you’re actually doing, you have the power to take control over how you’re spending those same 24 hours we’re fortunate to live each day. What we act on shows where our priorities lie, regardless of whether or not those are the priorities we believe ourselves to hold.
I’m trying to remove the phrase “I don’t have time” from my vocabulary. I would always say “I don’t have time to go to the gym this week” or “I don’t have time to write today,” but, as I realized after breaking down my day in this post, I probably spend hours each day mindlessly scrolling through social media. Replacing “I don’t have time to…” with “I’m not prioritizing…” is eye-opening. The results can be scary. Although my personal values may not prioritize social media over writing or personal health, for example, my actions were telling a different story.
My schedule was usually planned down to the minute. In the middle of the semester, I would be running from one place to the next, from one lunch conversation to one dinner meeting, from one class to one catch-up with a friend. We hear it all the time: “I’m just so busy!” We take pride in being frantic and try to prove we’re the most stressed, have our plate stacked the highest, and enjoy the least amount of free time of everyone around us.
Busy is not a badge of honor. Being the busiest bee out there does not mean your life is the fullest or the most rewarding. Proclaiming packed schedules ends up proclaiming that you don’t have time (aka aren’t making it a priority) to maintain your relationships with friends and family or even taking care of yourself.
When you tell someone “Oh, I’m too busy, I just can’t swing yoga with you this week” or “My calendar is so crowded, I can’t even spare an hour for lunch,” what you’re really telling them is “Other things are more important to me” and “You aren’t one of my priorities.”
When you complain “I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in months, I just haven’t found the time” or “The office is just so crazy, I’ve been spending all evening at work instead of at dinner with my family,” what you’re really broadcasting is “I don’t want to spend time on personal development and enjoyment” and “Work is more important to me than my family.”
This is supposed to sound bad. It makes you feel guilty. Believe me, I am not exempt from this at all and continue to correct myself when I find myself substituting “time” for true “priority.” You are responsible for your own life. You fill your day how you see fit, and in doing so convey your values and priorities. There are no excuses. If something is important to you, you make time for it. That’s just how this works. It’s not supposed to be easy, but that’s what makes it worthwhile.
Your life is yours to live, so make the most of it and fill it with things that make you happy. Fill it with people who care about prioritizing their relationship with you. Fill it with experiences and connections and moments. I know I advocate that some of the smallest things in life are the most beautiful, but know the difference between the good small things and the petty ones. Make sure you aren’t losing yourself in the unimportant-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things issues. Appreciate the little blessings, but remember not to get lost in the little setbacks. If you spend your 24 hours on things that truly matter to you, I promise your life will be a little brighter <3
“You dedicate what is important to you by what you dedicate your time to.”
~What “don’t you have time” for and how can you correct that in the future?