What Don’t You Have Time For?

Last week, my article consisted of inspirational quotes for when life gets hectic. As I enter into yet another week that is filled with papers, tests, meetings every night, and other commitments, I find myself pressed for time. A lot of things in my life, I am realizing, I “don’t have time” for. But what does this really mean?

What does it mean when we say we “don’t have time” for something?

There is a quote from the  that comes to mind when reflecting on this issue:

Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time’, try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: ‘I’m not going to edit your resume, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.’ ‘I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.’ If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

I have read this quote multiple times before, and it always has the same effect of forcing me to really think about my time and where it is going. Lately, I “haven’t had time” to go to the gym or to journal or to pray. When my mom texted me last night to check in, I realized I also “haven’t had time” to call home in over a week. I don’t say this to judge myself or bring myself down.

I say this to call to attention that when I say “I don’t have time” for things, this is revelatory of what my priorities are in the moment.

Right now, my priorities lie in schoolwork and juggling various social activities and clubs. No, there is nothing wrong with these things: a hard work ethic and strong bonds and relationships with those around me can do no harm, they actually strengthen me as a person. Still, it is important to realize what a certain emphasis on these two things can mean for other areas of my life, like self-care and relationships at home, and how these other two areas may be lacking right now.

Maybe I’m not ready to start making the changes for better habits or whatever else, but I have always found awareness to be the first step.

I hope that by even taking the time to reflect on where my time is going, what I am actually “doing” with my life, and what I am not doing at the moment, I will be brought into a new direction of choosing my time more carefully, and shifting my priorities.

Making sure your time is going to the right places takes self sacrifice.

If you want schoolwork to be a greater priority, it may mean giving up that one Netflix episode you’ve been dying to watch. If getting to the gym is one, it may mean getting to bed earlier so you’ll be well rested for when you wake up early the next morning.

But for me, at least, shifting your lifestyle to one where you are happy with where your time is going, happy with your priorities, makes all the difference.

So, I urge you, readers, to think about your time. Think about the language you’ve used in the past days, weeks, or months: what are you saying you “don’t have time” for, and do you really not have time for it or is it just not a priority? Think about whether or not you want to make any of these things a priority in the future, or if you want to change the way you use your time. Maybe you’ll find that you are using your time perfectly for you; that could be the case. But do the exercise anyway, it can’t hurt to consider what you might want to add or subtract from your life.

By Samantha DeCarlo on theodysseyonline.com

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