When you ask how someone is now-days, what do they say? ‘Busy!!’ Well do you know anyone who isn’t busy?
I know I’m busy, I know all my friends are busy, my work-mates are busy and my family members are certainly busy. Yet here’s the remarkable thing. No matter where we live, no matter what we do, no matter how much money we have or what our social, economic, intellectual or any other circumstances, we are all fundamentally equal in one unequivocal sense. We all have precisely the same amount of time available to us in any one day – 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. The exact same amount as every single other person on this planet. Of course we all have differing amounts of time available to us over a life time, because we all die at different points in our life, but as far as I am aware (despite being a bit of a fan of Dr Who!), no-one has yet invented a way to increase or decrease the number of seconds we have available to us in a day.
So whilst this is true, we do have countless ways that we can use our 84,400 seconds. Our choices about how we spend our time are of course, reflective of our social, cultural, economic and geographical circumstances. But for the majority of us living in peaceful, first-world countries, where we do not have to spend our time either foraging for food or dodging bullets. we are relatively free to choose how we spend our time. We can chose to sleep in or get up and go the gym, to do housework or go to the pub, to work late or get home in time to see the kids, to check our emails and Facebook, or call a friend who’s been feeling down. Sure, there are consequences to every one of these choices, but we do have choices.
How we choose to spend our time should reflect what is most important to us. If our health is important, we’ll get up for the gym, if a relationship with our kids is important, we’ll figure out a way to not work late, if our friends are important, we’ll factor in time in our busy schedules to spend time with them.
Being busy is not a justification for not spending time really living our core values – everyone is busy, and everyone has the same amount of time. If you chose not to spend time on something, then admit to yourself (and others) that it’s not as important as other things for you right now. Don’t use lack of time as an excuse – it’s actually not about time, it’s about priorities. And the first step in getting control of our time and using it wisely is to get clear about our core values and how these translate to daily, weekly and annual priorities.