“I’m too busy.”
We’ve all said it. We’ve all felt it.
The problem? We’re really not that busy. You see, we don’t have a time problem. We have a habits problem.
The problem is that we’ve all bought in on a lie that says that the best parents are busy and frantic; a lie that says that to be successful in business you have to get to work early, stay late, and work while you’re at home; a lie that says you don’t have time to cook, clean, or grocery shop so we hit the drive through, hire a cleaning service, and have our groceries delivered to our door.
How do I know?
- According to Comscore, a company that studies these numbers to tell advertisers how much to spend on ads, Americans spend an average of 89 hours per month watching streaming services. That is almost 3 hours per day!
- According to ResearchGate the average working-class child participates in 3.7 afterschool activities per week. These activities vary between sports, music, drama, church, etc. That’s a lot, but the kicker is that each activity required an average of 1.5 hours each. That’s almost 6 hours per week per child of activities.
- Global Webindex shows that the average user spends 2 hours and 30 minutes on social media each day. That is over 17 hours each week and a whopping 912 hours each year! That means each year the average American spends 38 days each year scrolling through social media!!!
- According to my own research, the average person waits approximately 6 hours per day in the Chick-fil-A and Starbucks drive-through. Ok, that one may not be entirely accurate, but have you seen those places. I mean come on. Seriously. Chicken and coffee??? Sorry. I’ll get back to it.
“Ok. Ok. Mr. C, I see what you’re saying. Let’s say I agree with you. What can I possibly do about it?”
I am so glad you asked.
I know that you feel the stress. I hear “I’m too busy” at least 5 times each week at the martial arts school. “I’m too busy” to start my children in another activity. “I’m too busy” to go hiking or camping. “I’m too busy” to read a book. We always say it sadly and regrettably with our face turned down and our hands turned up, but we secretly wear it like a badge of honor. Part of us likes feeling stressed and overwhelmed because we’ve bought into those lies and feel like life is supposed to be this way. But what if it wasn’t?
Arguably the greatest team builder in history, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once asked, “If you are too busy to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?” The point? You only have so many hours so lets focus them on what is really important and what will benefit us the most. I know that is easier said than done, so here are three simple yet difficult suggestions for eliminating the “busy” and creating the “beneficial.”
- Make a list of the most important and most valuable activities for you and your family. Maybe it is preparing a meal together. Maybe it is Saturday movie night or a campfire in the back yard. Whatever is most important to your family put it on the list and put it on there in order of importance. These are your non-negotiables.
- Time-block your day and your week. Time-blocking is a system of planning out every waking hour of your day. This guarantees that time is allotted for your non-negotiables first. Then you fill in the gaps with the other things that need to be done. Want to watch Netflix? Assign a time to do so. Need to get your garage organized. Put it on the schedule. Everything goes into the planner just like a dentist appointment or work meeting.
- It is time to make some cuts to free up time for you and your family.Will it be the end of the world if you don’t watch the latest season of the hottest show? Will your child be ruined if they don’t learn to play trumpet? Are you really going to get fired if you don’t reply to that email until tomorrow? Honestly, do you have to “like” and “comment” on every post, picture, and rant on social media? Does anyone truly care? Seriously, do what is best for you and your family. Don’t simply subscribe to what everyone else is doing.
The bottom-line is that we all must remember that time is the only commodity that we can’t get more of. Prioritize yours and be selfish with it. Only spend your time on things that will bring you joy, peace, and success.