Yes, You Have the Time
Not having time is the oldest excuse in the world. When people say they don't have time for something (or someone), all they're really saying is that they don't want to make the time. Whatever you spend your time on is what you prioritize. So if someone asks you to come to their Lularoe event and your cop out is "I'd love to, I just don't have the time," you may as well be saying, "Purchasing over-priced gaudy leggings from you is not a priority for me." People who hawk shit to their friends and family are a special kind of cursed (mlm's, I'm looking at you), but I digress.
Americans are obsessed with productivity because we see an obvious correlation: productive people are successful people. But, one thing that most successful people have that others don't is a very clear sense of direction. They guard their time fiercely and spend it wisely. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and successful people make each minute count.
Focus on One Task at a Time
If you're working, work. Don't check your email, message your friend, or shop online. If you're in a meeting, focus on getting the most out of that meeting in the most efficient manner possible. If you're eating, eat. If you're reading, read. If you're spending time with your friends or family, don't allow work or your phone to become a distraction. Allocate focused, quality time toward things that are important to you and you'll be surprised how much you can get done. Alan Cohen said, “It’s not more time you need. It’s more quality use of the time you already have.” Bingo.
Warren Buffet said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Say no to work, people, or activities that don't set your soul on fire. Having a clear sense of direction and purpose will help you figure out when to say yes and when to say no, but it's important to give yourself grace. You'll likely say yes to a lot of shit that wastes your time before you figure out that it wastes your time. Honing your ability to say "no," without feeling guilty or feeling the need to justify it will take time.
Prioritize & Schedule Your Time
The infamous 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of activities. Focus the bulk of your time on the activities that produce the most results. This is as obvious as it is difficult, largely because many of us don't feel in control of our own time. Sticking to a schedule will help you allocate adequate time to the activities that matter most, and in sticking to your schedule, you'll likely get some practice saying no.
Stop Glorifying "Busy"
Being "busy" is one of the most annoying things we all complain about, for a few reasons:
-Filling time does not mean time is being well spent. You can be "busy" watching a movie or picking your nose or buying overpriced hand soaps at Bath and Body Works. "Busy" does not mean productive or useful.
-Humans are wired to do stuff, even if the stuff we spend our time is ins't inherently "productive." Being busy makes us happy, so why complain about it?
Sometimes when say we don't have enough time what we're really saying is, "that sounds too hard and I'd rather not." Maybe we don't want to start something because we don't know how. Or maybe, we're just straight up scared. But if you replace "I don't have enough time," with "that's just not important to me right now," you'll see how insidious this excuse can be. It's not that we all don't have time to exercise or read more or make dinner, it's that a LOT of us would rather not. But saying we'd rather not is a whole different can of worms because it translates to, "Exercising or reading or eating healthfully isn't a priority for me right now." And that translates to, "I'm putting less important things ahead of my own needs." See the difference?
P.S. We all have 24 hours in a day, and it's up to us how to use them. Infamous author/speaker/entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk says, "Everybody has time. Stop watching fucking Lost."