The Busy Mindset

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 resume, 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, Are We As Busy As We Think?

For most of 2017, I was a full-time student, part-time software engineer, and part-time private tutor. This was a significant time commitment of approximately 80 hours per week, equivalent to working two full-time jobs. I often lost sleep and sometimes struggled to keep up with deadlines from both school and work. At times, I neglected my hobbies and my health, simply because “I don’t have the time”.

That statement was a lie.

As Laura mentioned above, spending time is a choice. Although I did have plenty of responsibilities, I also had a lot of free time as well. Every morning, I would lay in bed scrolling through Facebook before starting my day. Between classes, I would pass the time by reading posts on Hacker News and Reddit. And every night, I would watch the latest YouTube videos until I fell asleep.

All of this wasted time really added up. This was time I could have spent working out or on my various hobbies. Instead, I (wrongly) chose to prioritize browsing Facebook and YouTube over my own health and wellness.

In the end, we all have the same number of hours in a day. There are people like Elon Musk who can utilize those hours to work at five companies, be a father, and still get six hours of sleep a night. Therefore 24 hours should be more than enough for me to accomplish my own goals and responsibilities without sacrificing my hobbies or health. I just have to determine what my priorities are.