It’s not a priority?

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A new email arrives in my inbox: “That picture on my website doesn’t align like it should. Can you have a look and fix it?” It’s a reasonable question, since I help maintain several WordPress sites for clients and friends.

But just as I try to fix the issue, my son walks in: “Mom, I can’t find my shoes. Can you help me find them?” “Not now – just put on your sandals, okay?” “But I want to wear my sneakers!” “Sorry, I don’t have time right now to help you search for them. Check the hallway again!” A few minutes later I have my husband on the phone. “Have you already made up your mind about the wall color you want upstairs?”

Well no, I haven’t. “I didn’t have time to think about that yet!”

Really?

Time is a choice

When I feel overwhelmed by every little thing that needs to be done on a daily basis, I often want to sigh: “I just don’t have enough time!”

But how true is that? Many of us are familiar with the phrase: “It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.” Because when something truly matters, you will find the time for it.

Recently I watched an interesting TED talk with time management expert Laura Vanderkam. She challenged her audience:

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
– Laura Vanderkam, Time management expert


What are my priorities?

Apparently, I made it a priority to do that thing on my computer. To fix that little thing on a website. But in the meantime, I didn’t prioritize helping my son finding his shoes. And my absolutely wonderful husband, who wants to make our home beautiful, still didn’t get a serious answer on his question about the wall color issue, although he has been asking me about it for like a week or so.

Was that the right choice? Or should I have spent my time differently? Perhaps that little website problem could have waited until 9 p.m.?

Being intentional with my time

I realize how often I’m not living consciously enough. And I also know that, despite all my effort, I will fall short when it comes to living intentionally. That’s why I really need God in my life! It’s only by His help that I can learn to focus on what really matters in each situation. God gives the holy Spirit to guide me – but I need to have an open ear, so that I can actually hear His soft voice inside. In that way I can learn to understand what God’s will is for me in that situation.

And when I do His will, when I prioritize that every single moment, He will see to it that I have enough time to accomplish whatever needs to be done. What a peaceful life!

So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time? How do you cope with that?

– Anne


8 Comments

  • This is brilliant! What a great idea to say ‘It’s not a priority’ rather than ‘I don’t have time’ and see how it feels!! Will have to try that!

    Reply
    • Anne

      July 2, 2017

      Yes, that sentence really puts things into perspective for me 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

      Reply
  • Mary Leigh

    June 29, 2017

    This is such a good post and a great reminder! It is so true. We always have time, we just have to decide how to use it.

    Reply
    • Anne

      July 2, 2017

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Yes, these daily decisions about how to spend our time are so important!

      Reply
  • Ruth van den Brink

    July 6, 2017

    That small change in language changes things so much! I have recommended this language change to my children a lot recently but your post has reminded me to use it myself again. Sharing this post with others.

    Reply
    • Anne

      July 6, 2017

      I often need to remind myself again! Thank you for commenting & sharing!

      Reply
  • Alyson

    July 16, 2017

    Anne,
    This is so good! I am going to start doing that – changing “I don’t have time” to “It’s not a priority.” What a great way to help us see it correctly! Thanks!
    Alyson

    Reply
    • Anne

      July 16, 2017

      You’re welcome! It really makes a difference to me. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Reply

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