“I really want to ______, but I just can’t find the time to do it!”
Friends, how often do I hear people say that? Every. Dang. Day! How often do you say it? Be honest with yourself… I know I say it pretty frequently, but I’m getting better at checking myself! The fact is, that statement is just plain wrong, and today I’m here to tell you why!
Let’s look at the first part of that statement: “I really want to _______, but…”
Do you? Do you really want to do that thing? If you really want to do that thing, then there’s no reason to attach a but to the end of it. The but (and whatever follows) is an excuse, and it’s often created to keep us from taking the risk of doing that thing! It’s a protective but that keeps us from failing at that thing. And sometimes it’s a protective but that keeps us from admitting that we don’t actually want to do that thing, we just feel we should want to do that thing.
Figure it out: is that thing a priority, or is it not? If it is a priority, then see the next section of the article. If it isn’t a priority, then find a way to be okay with that. Own the fact that it’s not a priority for you. Put it on the list of long-term possibilities, but it is totally okay if that thing isn’t a priority for you right now.
Now, let’s look at the second part of that statement: “…I just can’t find the time!”
Firstly, if you’re trying to find the time to do something, you’re not actively creating the time to do it. Too much energy goes into the finding (which is often just wistful wishing!), and not enough energy goes into creating it.
Note that all I’m asking for here is a shift in verb. To find implies that you’re waiting for that chunk of time to appear. That you’re looking around corners and in the back of your closet to see if you can gather up some time and squish it together into something useful. The verb, and its implication, are quite passive. But to create… well, suddenly you’re in charge. You’re sitting down with a schedule and you’re creating the time (in advance, I might add!) to engage in that task that is so meaningful to you.
By creating the time instead of finding it, you’re creating space for yourself to claim agency and responsibility over the rest of your schedule, and the way that you spend the rest of your time. You’re engaging in a practice that encourages you to realistically look at how you’re spending your hours, and how you want to be spending your hours. And, in the act of creating time, you’re scheduling something in that you likely will not break.
Think about it: if I find a lovely artefact and it breaks, then I guess that artefact wasn’t really meant for me. But if I create a lovely artefact and it breaks, then I’m likely to be disappointed that the investment I made in creating it, and the thing itself, was broken. The time you create is the same: it is yours, you created it, you likely sacrificed time spend on something else for it, and it’s your responsibility to yourself to keep that time well-maintained and in good order.
So my encouragement to you is this: start reframing this statement. When you hear yourself say “I really want to ______, but I just can’t find the time to do it,” rewind and restate it to one of the following:
“I feel like I’m supposed to want to ______, but I don’t think it’s a priority for me right now,”
OR “I really want to ______, and this weekend I’m going to create the time to do it.”
Then, go forth as a wiser and more enlightened being who is either owning their priorities (which is absolutely one hundred percent okay to do!) or is working their magic by creating some precious, precious time.