This idea has stuck with me. I think I first heard it from Daymond John, one of the Sharks on the show Shark Tank. It is true that each of us has 24 hours in a day, and that our time is a limited resource. Do you have time to do everything? Of course not. That is not a bad thing. But what is important to remember is to not use the phrase “I don’t have time” as an excuse for not doing something that truly should be prioritized. This is important in all aspects of life.
It is important to think through what the priorities in your job truly are. Is it training others? Is it sales? Is it paying vendors? “I don’t have time to pay our vendors” won’t fly when your primary responsibility is to handle payables. Focusing on the wrong thing is a huge danger in any job. I have found that in sales for example, other tasks creep into your work life. These tasks, though necessary, may threaten time spent selling. Although it is a constant battle, I try to always remind myself that protecting the prime selling hours of the day is essential to my success. It is true that some days, you don’t have time to do everything. Just remember that priorities must be protected. Ideally, unless there is an emergency or I am doing something mandatory such as training or traveling, I should never sacrifice an entire day where I don’t spend at least some time performing sales related activities. Why? Because that is the point of my job. That is what I am paid to do. Does this mean some tasks will get delayed? It’s possible. But if you “don’t have time” to do it all, then do what matters most.
My overall priorities in my life are as follows: God, then family, then work. I don’t always do the best job at reading my Bible and praying, yet I say my faith and relationship with God come first. The truth is I have to be better. “I don’t have time to read my Bible” is not a valid excuse. Despite the busyness of life, I should always prioritize my time spent with God. Just as I “protect” my sales hours at work, so should I protect spending time reading Scripture and in prayer and then schedule the remainder of my day around that protected time. The same principle can be applied to family. “I don’t have time to spend with my son or wife” really means that I’m not making them priorities. Don’t make excuses.
Maybe you have acquaintances in your life that you can’t seem to find time for. And maybe that is okay. I’m not advocating for burning bridges or ending friendships at all. The point is to vehemently protect the most important relationships and duties in life. It can sometimes be a fight and a struggle to maintain this perspective. Life can be distracting. Other people and activities can steal your time. Maybe you have to say no more? Maybe you need to empty your plate of some time consuming outings? Maybe you need to be honest with your boss and tell him or her that you need to focus more on the most important tasks that you were hired to do instead of performing less important tasks that decrease productivity.
According to Investopedia,
“Opportunity costs represent the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.”
So what is the opportunity cost of prioritizing the wrong thing? Perhaps you miss out on a sale at work. Or you may miss an opportunity to spend quality family time or time with God because you decide to watch YouTube videos all night. (I enjoy watching YouTube videos on random topics just as much as the next person!). A day here and there of being unintentional is inevitable, we’re all human. But try to reset and create a lifestyle where priorities are prioritized. Protect what’s important.