The “I don’t have time” Myth

“I don’t have time.”  It’s a common reason given for not doing just about anything.  But, lots of people do lots of things that I don’t do because I supposedly “don’t have time” – yet, barring a super power like time control, they have the same number of hours, minutes and seconds in their day that I enjoy.

So, what is it about this reason that makes it so believable for us?  It probably stems from the fact that, no matter how much time we have, we find ways to fill it.  As a working mom of two little ones who is also in the start-up phase of a business on the side, the day can seem pretty darn full.

But, here’s what gets me: there are many examples of other successful business women who find the time to play with their kids, be physically fit and run a business.  And these women aren’t just like Cindy Crawford (who I discovered is a surprisingly good business woman and mom).  Some of these women are real, down-to-earth women that I can look up to and say to myself, “What am I missing?”

I started paying more attention to how I spend my time.  And I’ve found ways to combine, cut, and transition so that I can achieve my goal of healthy living.  After all, whatever I decide to do in this journey needs to be able to stick!  I’m looking for lasting change, not a get-thin-quick scheme that will fail me longer term.

Here is what I’ve determined I need:

  • More time with my husband (we work opposite shifts)
  • More quality time with my kids
  • More sleep
  • More workouts/workout time
  • More cleaning
  • Did I mention more sleep?
  • Time with friends (that one has completely fallen off the radar lately)
  • And more sleep

Since I don’t have any super powers and I’m not SuperMom, my schedule has to change.  Where I find satisfaction and down-time has to change.  Now, I go to be earlier (except for tonight, b/c I’m writing this while the thoughts are fresh).  I get up earlier, which is completely against my nature btw.  I am NOT a morning person!!!!  But, if I can get up about 2 hours earlier (6:30 am), then I can be to work earlier (8-8:30), and I can come home earlier to spend quality time with my husband before he has to leave for work.  Already, we are seeing an improvement in happy feelings towards eachother and less stress because of this change.

Evenings are for playing with the kiddos and cleaning up, cooking, etc., before babies go to bed.  After kids are in bed, I get to work out for an hour or so, shower, and then chill out with a book or whatever else seems like a nice way to end the day and help me relax before bed.  Fortunately, working out helps me relax (believe it or not), so this schedule really works for me.

What I’ve given up to make this work:

  • television (except for watching during my workouts),
  • gaming (except for the weekends),
  • spending lots of time on e-mail and social networking (except on my iPod when I first get up in the morning, when working out, and on misc breaks throughout the day when it is convenient to read a quick post or send a short text to stay connected)
  • I read less.  Though, I find it pretty easy to read while on the stationary bike (even when at a moderate to vigorous workout of 33 mph to 40 mph, depending on the material) and working in a chapter or two right before bed.

You see.  I didn’t really give up anything.  I just rearranged it.  Yes, I spend less time doing several things that I enjoy (I really miss gaming!).  But I can keep doing most of them by working them into my life in creative ways and prioritizing the things that are most important to me.

It’s not that we don’t have time.  It is that we are not in control of our time.  To paraphrase (and generally butcher) a famous poem, we need to accept that some of our time is out of our control, that some of it is in our control, the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to do something about it.

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