As we approach the end of another year, let’s understand what it really means when someone says “I don’t have time”.  I call this claim a myth with good reason in that every single living person in the world has the same amount allocated to them every day, which is 24 hours, or if you prefer, 1440 minutes – never more and never less.  That’s right…the 25 hour day does not exist no matter how many bar-ones you eat!  Clocks don’t speed up and they don’t slow down unless they are faulty. What differs amongst everyone is their priorities, which usually predicts their management of this precious resource.

I often hear people saying they didn’t do this or they didn’t do that because they didn’t have time.  To be totally honest, I have said it myself and I’m sure you have too.  Take for example the person who doesn’t exercise, the colleague who didn’t submit their report on the due date, the grandchild who never visits their grandparents, and the list is endless. I usually have the urge to ask these people who or what took their hours away or were they stolen by someone but I try to refrain for the risk of seeming sarcastic.  But in truth, by asking this question, the truth will be revealed – they don’t want to exercise or something more important and desirable came up.  It’s all about priorities.

I have never heard someone say they didn’t take their child to the doctor when they had a temperature of 40 degrees, because they didn’t have a gap in their busy day.  And never has it happened that someone has failed to collect on a winning lotto ticket when they knew they had that ticket because they were too busy at work.  The truth is that we all have time to do what is most important to us at any given time – this is called prioritising.  And the best news is that when this is realised and therefore put into practice, life really does become less stressful.  Instead of trying to juggle your time to do a whole lot of things, many of which you don’t in fact want to do, crossing off the things that are not important or at least pushing them to the bottom of the list if they absolutely have to be done at some point, can alleviate a great deal of pressure.

Something that is closely related to prioritising is delegating, which is basically handing over responsibilities to other people.  This can be at home, at work or in your social life.  Delegating is a skill and when the ability to do this is lacking, it can again lead to claims of not having enough time.  For example, have you ever heard someone in the office say they couldn’t attend a meeting because they were busy doing something that they could and probably should have delegated to someone else? Or have you ever claimed that you could not make a scheduled gathering with friends because you were tied up at home doing something that your partner could or possibly should have been doing?  Failure to delegate often leads to claiming the “myth”.

You might ask the question:  “But what if something unusual happens that leads you to claiming a lack of time.  For example, what if a friend becomes seriously ill and at the time you have a heavy work schedule.  You might find yourself saying that you cannot spend time with your friend or assist them as you suggest you would like to because then your work would be neglected and that would have financial consequences.  This is where prioritising becomes critical – you need to decide what is more important at that time: spending time with and helping your friend or making money…it’s that simple.

So in finishing, claiming not to have enough time is always a myth.  You have all the hours and minutes that every day provides you with – it’s entirely up to you what you choose to do with them.  As December and holidays are just around the corner, remember this and make the most of every second by ensuring that you always have your priorities in mind.  If you come back to work in January 2022 and want to learn more about time management and other aspects of stress management, take a look at my workshop on Building Resliience. 


Take care everyone.

Your partner in Mental Health Matters in the Workplace.

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