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Wicked Veracity Podcast Show Notes | Episode 132

coaching podcast Mar 26, 2023
Wicked Veracity Podcast Episode 132

I Don’t Have Time

People get really upset with me about this, but when anyone says ‘I don’t have time,” it is always a lie. 

Before you get your knickers in a twist and tell me about all of the special snowflake circumstances that make it not a lie for you, let me stop you. If you come at me with that nonsense, I will brutally and methodically deconstruct every excuse you throw at me because the very fact that you have time to consume my content and try to argue with me in favor of your self-imposed limitations means you’re lying to yourself. Which is fine…if you do it quietly and not in my direction. But if you utter those words to me, buckle up. 

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s a malicious lie. In fact, I don’t think most people register the fact that they are lying, and even if they do, they think it’s a ‘white lie’ that is somehow morally superior to the other kinds of lies.

It’s so prevalent that most of the time I just let it pass and translate the words into the correct form which is “that isn’t a priority for me”. 

I get this excuse from people all of the freaking time. It’s like an epidemic. 

I meant to call, remember the holiday, wash the dishes, but time got away from me. This one kills me. Time is not a wild animal that wrestled its way out of a cage and went galloping off in the other direction requiring an expedition into the wilderness for you to recover. 

I was going to work on writing my book but my family was distracting me and I ran out of time.

I really wanted to work on my business but I had so many social engagements I just didn’t have time.

I’ve been trying to learn astrology (copywriting, Facebook ads, podcasting, or whatever) for a decade but it just takes so much time.

I want to date but I’m just so busy.

Time is Finite

The thing about time is, we all have a finite amount of it.

We each have the same 24 hours within each day to accomplish everything we want and we each only have so many of those days in our current life. 

Unfortunately, what we don’t know is how many of those 24-hour cycles we will have.

I’ve known for as long as I can remember that at any moment I could just cease to exist. 

It use to cause a LOT of anxiety for me. And I don’t mean the kind of anxiety that comes from knowing that one day the sun will blow up, I mean the kind that comes in the split second before the 1975 Ford Van t-bones your Kia Rio and causes the glass to explode and the gas tank to rupture (true story). 

Except it would just happen randomly in the middle of the night or on the playground during a game of tag in elementary school. 

And even though I know with complete and terrifying certainty that time is finite, I still spent years on autopilot acting like I’d get to reboot the game. 

Don’t get me wrong. Most people who know me and more of my life story wouldn’t say I’m lazy. Most of them wouldn’t even say I know how to effectively relax and on the outside, I’m sure that appears to be true. But on the inside, I know how much of my finite time I’ve wasted not being who I am and doing what I truly want.

I deeply want to help other people avoid wasting their finite time on things that aren’t filling them with joy, sparking their curiosity, or making them relish each and every single moment.

Priorities or Fear

So why do people say they don’t have time for something? It’s either not a priority for them in the moment or they’re afraid of something.

You might be tempted to think I’m wrong and that I don’t understand how busy you are and how many obligations you have and that you just don’t have any more time to devote to learning the thing you really want, creating the kind of relationship you crave, building a business, writing a book, or whatever.

The thing is, some people really are too busy ensuring they have food on the table and a roof over their heads to really focus on anything else. They are prioritizing food and shelter, and most reasonable people would think that makes sense because both of those contribute to having more of those 24-hour periods in the future.

In fact, I’d argue that for much of human history, the vast majority of people were in that cycle. 

But even when that seems reasonable, not everyone chooses to make hunting or gathering their priority. Right? People choose to give up all the time or they innovate and find a way to do something that takes less of their time to fulfill their basic needs. This is literally how agriculture and most advancements in human society came to be. 

Regardless, once we achieve the staying alive threshold, we for sure get to prioritize how we spend our time. 

I happen to work a lot. Some might even call me a workaholic because it tends to be woven into most areas of my life. But I don’t apologize for it or say I don’t have time for other things. 

If one of my goals in life was to train for a marathon, I absolutely have time to do that. However, it is never going to be how I prioritize my time. And that’s totally fine.

It’s completely fine if you don’t want to prioritize spending time with family, people you use to be close to, your business, a hobby, learning something new, etc. It’s your life. You get to prioritize it however you want - but it is important to recognize that you’re the one who is ultimately in control of that prioritization process. 

The other reason people don’t do something they say they want to do is that they’re afraid.

There are a lot of ways fear can get in your way.

You can be afraid of being too successful, afraid of falling on your face and being thought a fool, afraid of the pain of losing something, afraid of being burned at the stake, afraid of people not loving you anymore, afraid of people you don’t know stalking you, afraid you won’t be the best, afraid you’ll make the wrong decision or do the thing wrong, or really anything because brains dislike change and fear is a really good way to keep you safe in your cave.

Not Being a Priority Isn’t a Problem

Let’s circle back to something not being a priority. This is not a problem. It isn’t a problem if you don’t want to prioritize someone or something and it isn’t a problem if you are the one who isn’t being prioritized. 

Sure it might not feel good for whoever isn’t at the top of the priorities list but that’s usually because their thought is that they *should* be at the tippy top. 

Sometimes it feels bad because the thought is “it isn’t fair that they get to do what they want when I can’t” but that’s just a thought error because we all have the ability to prioritize how we spend our time.

Another thing about where something rates on the prioritization scale is that it is malleable. 

When you have the flu, suddenly your health and sleep become a top priority and taking care of a baby or making it to work falls down the list. When you get a new job or launch a new product, suddenly home-cooked meals and date nights might need to slip down the list a bit. 

These are simple examples of situations faced by most people over the course of their life and even the way I’ve prioritized things is unlikely to match everyone reading or listening to this. For some people, a new job or launch aren’t reasons to skimp on meal prep or date nights. 

That’s the cool thing about your priorities, you get to set the rules. And so does everyone else. 

Which brings me to the other half of this equation, your perception of how other people prioritize you.

It’s also not a problem if you aren’t at the top of someone else’s priorities list. Other people have the exact same autonomy you have and they aren’t bad, wrong, evil, selfish, or any other negative descriptor just because they don’t have the same priorities you have OR the ones you wish they had.

It’s simply neutral data that you can use to make decisions moving forward. 

Fear IS (usually) a Problem

Let’s talk about the other reason people say they don’t have time: fear. 

Fear is, in my worldview at least, a problematic reason for choosing to do or not do something (usually). I don’t love fear as a reason for any of my choices for taking or not taking action and the fastest way to get me to reconsider my stance on something is to say I am making a decision out of a place of fear.

That’s my full disclosure on this point and I want to offer that if you happen to love fear as a reason to do or not do something, then you can skip ahead.

The problem with letting fear drive is that it isn’t reliable. Your brain is hardwired to fear things that are new and different and to feel safe with things that are familiar. This is true even if the situation, person, or thing that is familiar isn’t aligned with what you ultimately want for your future.

It’s why people in abusive relationships often fear leaving the relationship or losing their abuser, it’s why people in jobs and relationships they’ve outgrown say they have no choice but to stay, it’s why a smoker who has lung cancer goes out and buys a cigarette after chemo, and it’s even why people will stay in their hometown despite disliking the environment, people, entertainment, and weather. It all boils down to comfort in the familiar and fear of the unfamiliar.

Most of the time fear likes to hide behind “responsibility” or “convention” and it sounds like:

  • He needs me, I can’t leave him.
  • I’ve invested too much time in my career, it’s too late to start over.
  • When we started it was so good, I just want it to go back to the way it was.
  • One more cigarette isn’t going to make it any worse, I’m already dying.
  • All of my family is here, I can’t leave.
  • My children and husband expect me to manage everything for the family, I can’t focus on my business.

None of those sound exactly like fear but the thought driving those sentences is mostly creating fear in the person thinking them

  • I’m afraid I’m unlovable, at least sometimes he’s nice to me.
  • I’m afraid I’m too old or not good enough to do something else, at least here I have job security.
  • I’m afraid to hope for something great if it means letting go of something good that is in the past, at least there’s a chance it will get better again.
  • I’m afraid the chemo isn’t going to work, at least I can enjoy another cigarette now. 
  • I’m afraid my family will be mad at me, at least if I’m here they won’t be disappointed.
  • I’m afraid I won’t be considered a good mother or wife if I pursue my dream, at least if I focus on them they’ll be happy.


Fear tends to push us towards prioritizing others and limiting ourselves and a lot of times the phrase “at least” can be found in our rationalization.

Another key in uncovering if fear is running the show is when you say you “can’t” do something. That tends to be a lie fear is serving up to keep us stuck, which tends to feel like keeping us safe.

Of course, fear also keeps us from eating those new berries that might kill us, running wildly in the dark, or getting into cars with strangers… so it’s not always a bad reason. 

Let’s just consider it another excellent data point.

Time Management Isn’t a Thing

Sometimes when people try to solve for not having time to get everything done, they turn to time management strategies. 

Unfortunately, you can’t manage time. At least not in the way most people think of it. You can’t suddenly make more of it exist, or make it behave better by lashing it with lists and alarm clocks. That’s like saying you have any kind of chance in a cat herding endeavor. 

The only thing you can do with your time is prioritize the way you spend it. If you’re scrolling social media for an hour a day, you clearly prioritize watching cat videos, stalking your ex, finding new music, or scoping out the entrepreneurial competition over whatever it is you “don’t have time for.”

And that’s completely fine.

You don’t have to make time for anything you don’t want to prioritize. But…

Be Honest

What I would encourage you to do is to be honest with yourself. When you say you don’t have time, you give your autonomy away and make it very difficult for yourself to create the results you want in your life.

When you say “I’m prioritizing XYZ right now and I may choose to prioritize that at some point” (or not), that keeps you in complete control. 

If your friends want to explore Europe for two weeks but you have a family or job that are a higher priority for you in this moment, then frame it that way. Acknowledge that you would love to go (if that’s true) but that right now your priorities are on moving up the corporate ladder instead of saying I wish I could but I have to work because (and here’s where the honesty part comes in) you actually don’t have to work. No one is going to shoot you at dawn if you take a holiday or quit your job.

If that sounds like an insignificant difference to you, I invite you to game it out in your life for a week and see what happens. Refuse to let yourself say or think that you don’t have time for something (or someone). Instead, be honest (at least with yourself) and reframe it by listing what it is exactly that you’re placing a higher priority on. If you love what you discover, awesome. If not, maybe it’s time to reconsider your priorities.

If you’re feeling frisky, hit me up on Instagram and let me know what you’re prioritizing.

Until next time, my wish for you is the freedom that comes from prioritizing your time intentionally.

Podcast Theme Music

LicenseRustic Ballad by Alexander Nakarada

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