August 22, 2013

Examining your priorities

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, 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

It's interesting to look at the things we say we don't have time for and realize that we really mean they're just not that important to us.

You can extend this concept to almost anything, but it really resonates with me in the context of building success. Everyone wants to build an empire and be successful—they just don't have time. Of course, following Laura Vanderkam's advice, it's easy to see that success isn't a priority to most people. Time is just an excuse.

We have plenty of time.

If you're putting your goals on the back burner because you'd rather watch TV all evening, you're probably not cut out for success. You have to want it.

Here's another way of thinking about it:
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

~Gretchen Rubin

Wondering what your priorities are? Look at what you do every day. If you're not happy about it, make a change.


  1. I completely agree with this approach. Saying you don't have time for something is silly. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day. It is a matter of how you prioritize that time. I know one time management technique I use is to spend at least 10 minutes a day THINKING about my time. That may be looking at my calendar and canceling an appointment that is not a priority or it may be realizing I have a free day and thinking of something productive I can do to fill it. It is all about choices. Make positive choices that lead toward your goals, and you will be a success. Redefine how you define success instead of going at things they everyone else is going at them. There has never been a time in history where the majority of people were lined up for success. Ever. Success isn't something shared with the majority. I am not trying to be elitist, it is just how it has always worked. If you want to be "on top" even if that is not in a competitive way, you have to think differently.

  2. Liz, I totally agree. I've adopted the system of planning out how I would spend my time on an "ideal day," then writing down everything I do on an average day. If the two lists don't match up, I know I need to make a change.

    You're also right about successful people being in the minority. Everyone loves to tell you how you're supposed to do things, and then you look at where that got them and realize it's NOT the magic formula.

  3. I love the idea of comparing the two lists!