I have often been asked how I come up with a topic to write about every week. There are various places that I look for inspiration. I have books from the Harvard business review and books about successful sports teams. I subscribe to quote of the day emails and read blogs. But today as I was leafing through a book I came across a bright yellow sticky note. In green ink in my handwriting it said, “Providing the skills but no time to use them is useless”.
I realized as I sat looking at it that, for the last several weeks, I have been providing you with lots of skills. Tips and ideas that I hope you have found useful or at least thought provoking. But it is been a long time, if ever, since I have talked about how you are supposed to make yet another thing fit into your incredibly busy schedule.
I could talk about prioritization and time blocking for important tasks. Or I could remind you that you are important and that making time for yourself is crucial to your ability to reach and maintain top performance. But the truth is that is all general knowledge stuff. You can pick it up from any time management book and I am committed to giving you more than just the same ol’, same ol’ advice.
I am going to share with you something I recently changed in my life.
I used to constantly say, “I have been so busy I just haven’t had time for that”. And when I am talking to random people who aren’t part of my support group, I still might. It is an easy excuse for not doing something.
But here is what I know: We make time for the things that are important. It might be important to you personally. It might be important to your boss, your coach, your teammates, your spouse or your children. Your time is your most valuable asset, once spent you cannot get it back. Therefore the things you spend time on must be important. Right? Hmm or maybe they aren’t.
This is what I changed and challenge I offer you: Instead of saying, “I haven’t had time” or “I don’t have time” I now say “I haven’t made that a priority” or “That isn’t a priority”. That simple change in how I use language gives me moment’s pause. If the thing I am talking about really isn’t a priority and it doesn’t need to be – great. I don’t do it and I don’t feel guilty. But for the times when I was using “I don’t have time” as an excuse, saying “It isn’t a priority” doesn’t feel right, and I realize I have to take a closer look at my scheduling.
Does that sound like something that you could easily change about how you use language? Do you think it will make a difference in how you think about your time? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.