Shifting How We View Time

Changing how you speak about your time affects your relationship with it.
~ Danielle LaPorte

Whenever I run into someone I know, I ask them how they’re doing. Invariably the response I get has something to do with being busy, or its variant, exhaustion.

Some of the common responses?

    am swamped,
    running on fumes,
    can’t keep up,
    have too many things to do and not enough time,
    yada, yada, yada…”

Why is it that people wear their busyness like a badge of honor? What has brought us to the point that we believe that our degree of busyness equals our importance?

Some of this busyness is inescapable, and some is self-imposed. I believe that inwardly we take a secret pleasure in having so much to do. It gives us an excuse to seek sympathy. “Oh, look at me , I’m just SO busy!”

You know what? I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re ALL busy.

So, if being busy is the standard, and I’m NOT saying it should be, let’s also agree to shut up about it!

Why? Because too often it’s out of habit, a throwaway line, or an excuse, or a way to seek attention, or as in my case, my drug of choice (so I don’t have to think about unpleasant things).

There are only ever going to be 24 hours in a day. Period. We’re just not powerful enough to add more hours to our day.

So, what if we shift how we view and speak about time?

How we choose – and we DO make choices – to use those 24 hours is in our hands. We can choose to view each day’s hours as an ever renewable gift. We can choose to greet the day with a smile. We can choose to make time for ourselves each day. We can choose our attitude toward the hours ahead.

Of course, that means we need to give up the victim role: “they” give me so much to do, “my (fill in the blank) expects me to do X”, “my time is not my own.” And my favorite, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

We are not VICTIMS, of time. We are CHOOSERS of how we use our time.

Let that thought sink in.

WE decide how we use our time…if we feel time pressure, it’s because we try to cram so much into our daily allotment. Let’s agree right now that not everything is going to fit – ever, ever, ever!

I’ll reiterate: we CHOOSE how we spend our time each day. The moral of the story: we need to choose wisely what we allow into our day. And we need to reframe how we look at the gift of each new day.

Instead of thinking, “I’ll never get everything done today”, how about reframing that thought into something like, “I have been given the precious gift of another 24 hours and I will consciously choose how I will use them. I will not whine about how busy I am; I will be grateful for each moment.”

Now when I ask you, “How ARE you?”, what’s your answer gonna be?

Your Call to Action
How do you talk about spending time during your day? What do you notice? Where do you act like a victim? If you say, “I’m really busy” in response to someone, what are you REALLY trying to convey?


Shifting How We View Time — 7 Comments

  1. Your message is so timely. I woke up this morning feeling good about my decision to go to bed and get some sleep. Woke up thinking about my time. 24 hours – 10 hrs work and commute time – 8 hrs rest/sleep – 2 hrs food cooking/eating breakfast and dinner – choice for 3-4 hrs a day (shopping appointments cleaning laundry gardening walking dogs family friends other sometimes more for work). I believe 3 hours a day and weekends should be for tending and caring for the things and activities that connect us to who we are and the people and animals that make us better for passing through this place. Thank you for this message today.

    • Annie,
      As Henry Higgins said, “By George, I do believe shes’s got it!” What an inspiration you are to others!

  2. Hi Robin,
    So true! I was determined to be stress free this holiday season! Someone was telling me how they were stressed and had nothing done for the holidays over the weekend, and then asked me if I was ready for the holidays…when I answered an emphatic “yes, I am!” …they didn’t know quite how to respond! It was awkward! ha ha

    • Shirl,
      Congratulations – now you can sit back and truly enjoy the holidays. I know so many women who would LOVE to be in your position. Would you mind sharing how you did this? What finally helped you to see the light?

      You go, girl!

  3. After a very stressful summer/fall with family health issues, elderly mother, kids moving everywhere…I decided the holidays were going to be “simplified, putting people first (not my to-do list)”. I am sticking with it. Cut back on gifts, not as many decorations, parties, etc… but the clincher is…be able to do it guilt free. Somehow, putting first things first…everything else seems to be falling into place! Either I”m on to something or it’s a miracle! 🙂

  4. Robin, thanks for these thoughts during what has to be the most “doing” season of the year. I’m a human being not a human doing! LOL. We don’t have to do it all, we GET to do whatever we choose, and we have a choice ~~ what a concept! AFter I send out my cards tomorrow I will be done with Christmas prep and able to enjoy the last two weeks. How did I do it? Cut everything in half: cards, decorating, cookies, and events. It is awesome to just BE. Love, C