Time == Priority

“I don’t have time” is something i hear people saying often. I hear it at work when we’re thinking about a new project, or sometimes I hear the words coming out of my own mouth explaining to my wife why I haven’t started on some home-improvement-project yet. Everyone is busy. But are we really?

I must have been around 16 when I was at summer camp. I don’t remember what the conversation was about, but I clearly remember one of my friends muttering: “time is priority” after someone complained about not having enough time. At the time I thought that was a wise thing to say. It stuck with me and became one of my core values.

Basically the amount of time we have is the same for everyone. Lets say you sleep about 8 hours per day. That leaves 16 hours per day or 5840 hours per year. If you are lucky enough to live a full 80 years, that means a whopping 467200 waking hours that you get to spend on this (mostly) beautiful earth. That sounds like a lot right?

Now the question is: how will you spend these hours? There are so many options to spend your time on. An hour spent scrolling through instagram is an hour not spent doing useful work. And an hour doing useful work is an hour not spent with your loved ones. So how do you make a decision about what you spend your next hour on? I think the answer should be priority.

If some activity has a high priority, you should try very hard to spend enough time on it. If health and fitness are a high priority for you, you will probably spend multiple hours per week doing something sporty. If your work is important for you, you might be putting in a bit more than the regular 40 hours.

This does not just go for your “life choices”. It is also true for the choices you make at work. No matter how big your team is, you will always have to make choices on what you spend your time on.

So instead of saying: “I don’t have time for that” it would be more accurate to say: “I have other things to do that are higher priority for me” But on the other hand, that might sound less friendly to the person asking for your time. So maybe just keep the priority thing to yourself :-)