But I don’t have time!

Well, I have to fess up.  You may not have seen a blog post from me in a few weeks and it is because I haven’t written one.  I apologize for casting aside what I do believe to be a very important dialogue but the experience has inspired this blog post, so something good came from it!

Consider the title of the post, what’s the first thing that you think of?  For me, the first thing that comes to mind is, “well I’ve heard that before”.  I’ve heard it from friends, colleagues, teachers, and of course, myself.  Time is a scarce resource!  (For the record, I am not just realizing this now).  This is a phrase that is very common in our society.

So, what can we do about it so that I don’t disappoint you next week by again missing a blog post?  I can’t say I have the perfect answer, but I can say that repeating “but I don’t have time” won’t be helpful.  The phrase itself takes all responsibility off of myself and gives the power to elements of my external environment that I have no control over.  Instead of blaming the lack of time (which is a very disempowering statement), I should take ownership over my decision.  For example, last night, I chose to watch Glee instead of writing my blog post for Fireside HR.  Was it the right decision?  Maybe not (I do really like Glee…).  But it was my decision and I have the power to make the same or a different decision the next time.

Now that the answer lies in my own power to make decisions about how I spend my time, the question is, how I decide where to spend my time?

One example of a useful tool is the Time Management Matrix presented by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  In this tool, Covey maps out on a grid two components of the ways we choose to spend our time:  Urgency and Importance.  He asserts that we often spend a lot of time in the urgent but not important quadrant, neglecting things that are important and not urgent.  He argues that we should focus on these tasks as well in order to truly be effective at managing our time.

What I really like about this tool and find useful is that it reminds me that just because something is right in front of my face, doesn’t mean that it is the most important thing in my life right now nor is it necessarily where I should spend all my time.  The other reminder it gives me is that I need to be clear with myself about what is important.  I’m not saying it’s easy but identifying your priorities gives you the freedom to make decisions about how you spend your time, rather than leaving you a victim to ‘not enough time’.

So yes, the next time I’ll tape Glee and write my blog!

Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.


2 Responses

  1. On the other hand, perhaps you were spending your time on the important non-urgent items like visiting your grandparents and other kin so you are allowed to “not have time” to write your blog.

  2. Recently I read a great post called: Compromises, Choices, Serendipity and Sh#t, http://infullbloom.us/?p=1389 where the author outlines that life involves balancing these four universal forces. It really resonated with me. I agree that we often don’t take control of our time and as much as I have used the time quadrants, awareness and willpower are not always enough for me.

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