I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “I’m so sorry, things are just so crazy right now,” or, “This week has just been so busy!”
We often respond to such statements with a knowing sigh as if to say, “you’re telling me!” It seems that everyone’s lives are getting busier and busier all the time. What’s that all about?
Is there not a limit to how busy a person can be? Twenty-four hours in a day, right? Never mind how difficult it might be to add “one more thing” on your plate, is it even possible to shove more than 24 hours of stuff into a single day? We would have to travel through time! If we were really becoming more and more busy all the time, our day would quickly fill up beyond capacity! We would have to jump in our time machine at the end of the day so we could add on a few more hours so we could get it all done. (For you sci-fi fans out there, yes I know that’s not how time travel would actually work.)
The point is that we’re really not becoming more or less busy…ever. We all use every last second of our day, every day. It’s unavoidable. So then why do some people say that their days are busier than others? Because their priorities are getting crowded out.
For example, I make it a habit to sleep every night. But, what if at 11PM my daughter woke up and at 3AM I got up to start working on a school assignment due that day? I would probably tell you I had a busy night. However, if the same things happened during the day (my daughter woke up from a nap at 11AM and I worked on a school project at 3PM) they would be rather unremarkable. That would not be a busy day.
Things start to feel “busy” only when my priorities are challenged by other priorities. (i.e. sleep vs. caring for my daughter or sleep vs. making a good grade) But here are the facts: We all have the exact same amount of time in our day as the next person, and we all spend all of that time. The difference is in how we spend it.
The next time you feel “tied up” by responsibilities or busy-ness in your day, remember that you are spending your time exactly as you choose to. When people say, “I have no choice but to do this or that,” what they are really saying is that their priorities are so clear that it is as if they can do nothing else…but they really can. So can you. Take ownership of your time, and remember that it has always been yours. And, if you don’t like the way you see your time being spent, change it!
Line up your life with your priorities, and maybe your “busy-ness” won’t feel so busy anymore.