How many times do you use the excuse “I’m too busy to…” or “I don’t have the time to…” in your daily life? If you’re like me, it’s probably a lot. For years I’ve used the excuse of being too busy. I’ve been too busy to exercise, write, cook, clean, and read books. I’m often late for work because I’m so busy in the morning I lose track of time. As a working mom I’m able to get away with this excuse a lot. But a quick evaluation of my day will show you that I’m lying to myself. I have plenty of time; and likely you do too.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, the things we want to do, we always find time to do them. Those people who have amazing bodies always manage to find time to work out. People who love to write always find time to write. We are never too busy to call the people we actually want to talk to, or to do the fun things we are excited about.
So why do we lie to ourselves and others?
The truth is hard and sometimes it requires a lot of self-reflection and some difficult conversations. It requires effort to establish priorities and determine your values. Usually, saying “I’m too busy to” is just an easy way to avoid something that’s uncomfortable or that we don’t want to do. A common example is with exercise. On any given day, do I have 15 minutes to do some burpees in my living room? Yes. But burpees suck and I don’t want to get sweaty in my clothes because I’ve already showered and I don’t want to wear out my living room rug so I’ll just wait until I can find 30 minutes to go to the gym later. But I’m so busy that this never happens because exercising is something I don’t enjoy doing, it’s never been a priority so it’s easy to avoid it by being busy.
Another more personal example…It’s a lie when I say I don’t have time to visit my brother. The truth is that we’ve grown apart and we don’t have anything in common anymore. I don’t enjoy talking to him and I don’t think he’s living his best life. It’s hard to see what he’s become and it’s painful to admit that there isn’t much of a relationship left to enjoy. It’s seems easier to just make excuses and say I’m too busy to talk. I’ll see him on the holidays and ignore the problem instead.
Ultimately, if there’s something we want to do then we will find the time to do it and if we don’t, then we are silently saying that it’s not that important to us.
An honest evaluation of my day will show that I waste a lot of time on social media and the internet. I get swept up in blog posts and articles about simplifying and self improvement. I will find an hour gone from my day thanks to my Pinterest searches on home organization and decorating, believing my best self is an organized Marie Kondo wanna-be who knows how to make her fireplace mantle envy worthy. Is this all I’m capable of? Does a perfectly organized pantry mean I’ve got my shit together? Is this my best self?
Honestly, I have not reached my full potential because sticking to my excuses is easier. The person I aspire to be takes a lot of my time. She is my finest and best self. She is accomplished, doesn’t waste her life, and has her priorities in order. Yet she stays unrealized because she is hard! Being my best self requires work and it’s just damn easier to get on Youtube instead.
It’s hard to admit this stuff. It’s even harder to acknowledge that I’m wasting precious hours of my life on things that don’t add to it at all. Annie Dillard said “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Do I want to look back and see days and days of time spent scrolling social media? No, of course I don’t. The person I want to be is possible. I can bring her into existence. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
Less For Now Challenge #1
When I started this blog, my husband asked me when I planned to write these posts? I wasn’t sure exactly but I was excited about it and knew I would figure it out. On a typical day I get up an hour before I need to so I can have some quiet time in the house to drink coffee and read. My morning routine has morphed into an hour of coffee and social media instead. I spend an average of four hours a day using my phone in some form or another. My first Less For Now attempt to reclaim my time is to delete all the social media apps from my phone for one month. In the mornings I will drink coffee and work on the content for this blog. Throughout the day, instead of reaching for my phone, I will reach for a book, take a quick walk, or accomplish a task. I expect to feel more accomplished by the end of the month but I am nervous about how I will react to boredom. Wish me luck!