Why “I don’t have time for that” really means “That is not important to me.”

I have a friend on Facebook who is constantly posting about all of the things that she does: cleaning, craft projects, home renovations, cross-country trips, on and on, all in addition to having a job and kids. The comments on her posts are frequently “Where do you find time for all of this??”

My friend hasn’t magically found more hours in her day than the rest of us. She makes time for her projects by prioritizing them over sleep and exercise. If you look at her other posts, she also talks about how much coffee she drinks, how little she sleeps and how difficult it is for her to get out of bed at 5am when her alarm goes off, and how much she would like to lose weight.

She’s discovered that she feels really great when accomplishing things. She loves freshly mopped floors and newly painted walls. She enjoys the applause that she gets on Facebook when she humblebrags about her latest craft project. She feels a satisfying sense of accomplishment when she scrubs all the nooks and crannies in her bathroom. And she is willing to make sacrifices for these.

I, for one, “don’t have time for that.” By which I mean “a craft project is not important to me if it comes at the cost of sleep.” My friend and I have the same 24 hours in our days, but I would never get out of bed at 5am for the satisfaction of completing a craft project. But I have spent hours on the weekends to finish a really good book. Or I’ve gone to bed too exhausted after a day of landscaping my backyard. These are projects that are important to me. They satisfy my needs for rest, learning and creativity, so I’m willing to make sacrifices for them.

When it comes to making decisions about where to spend our time, there is no one right or wrong answer. There is only an answer that works for you. Next time you find yourself thinking “I don’t have time for that,” replace it with “that’s not important enough to me,” and see how you feel. Do you all of a sudden think that you do have time for it? Or are there other things in your life that are simply more important right now? The hours of your life are too precious to be spent on things that aren’t important to you. Make your decision and feel good about it.

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