As far as excuses go, we’re all guilty of churning out the tired phrase: ‘I would love to but I just don’t have the time’. ‘I would love to learn French but I’m just flat out right now.’ Sound familiar? Citing our time-poor existence is a socially acceptable reason not to give something a crack, be it that project you’ve been meaning to start or that copy of War and Peace you’ve been avoiding eye contact with. And while the bottom line may be hard to swallow, it’s simple: whatever your workload or circumstances, if you really want to do something, there is always the time. It’s just a case of juggling your priorities. So stop using your schedule as an excuse and start living up to your potential. Here are a few excuses you no longer have the room to offer up:
The Age-Old Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Eat Healthily’
The Solution: Fueling our bodies with good nutrition needn’t be time consuming or a chore – it’s all about making the right choices. Minimise the risk of temptation by stocking up on healthy ingredients in advance. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, we’d recommended keeping a stash of a treat that contains no added sugar like the Well Naturally No Sugar Added Dark Chocolate goodies in your desk drawer. They’re made from 70% cocoa (hello antioxidants) and sweetened naturally by plant based sweetener stevia – a perfect way to indulge without derailing your new healthy eating regime (especially seeing as there’s a tasty milk chocolate version too).
The Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Read’
The Solution: First thing that should go? That rambling twenty minutes pre-bed social media session (don’t pretend you don’t). Doing this alone will immediately add an extra two hours of reading time to your week. Don’t think that sounds like a lot? Consider that it takes five to six hours to read a 100,000 word novel: with that logic, you would only need to adopt this routine for three weeks in order to finish Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird at 99,121 words. Your daily commute is also an excellent way to increase your read-time so always keep a book in your bag. Commute by car? Listen to an audio book or podcast.
The Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Learn a Language’
The Solution: Depending on the individual, it could take anything between 1,000 and 5,000 hours to learn a language from scratch (potentially more if you’re into Arabic or Mandarin). If that feels like a daunting prospect, get a jump-start on your journey to fluency by learning the 100 most common words. According to Tony Buzan, author of the book Using Your Memory, 100 words learnt in a particular language equates to 50% of all words used in conversation. (How many times a day do you use the word, “always”, for example?) Then, instead of setting aside dedicated time to learn your new language, try narrating parts of your daily life in said language or even changing the language setting on your phone.
(And watch this TED talk).
The Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Keep In Touch’
The Solution: Don’t let your relationships become a casualty of your too-busy existence – they’ll be the first thing you’ll notice a lack of once you stop being busy. The thing that usually eats time is the ‘getting settled part’: can you hear me? Can you see me? Where shall I sit?
Make a schedule to speak to your nearest and dearest at a time that works for your both and stick to it: lock in a phone or Skype date with your mum every Monday at 7pm to avoid the insufferable missed-call Ping-Pong. And don’t think you need to dedicate time to sit on the couch for it either – call your mum on your morning walk, your wander to work, when you’re cooking a simple dinner.
If you struggle to remember to keep in touch with your friends, why not send them a Whatsapp whenever a programme you both watch is on? The show will serve as a reminder to make contact and you’ll feel like you’re watching it together.
The Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Write a Book
The Solution: Here’s a fun fact; JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter while juggling single parenthood and a job as an admin assistant at a local church in Scotland. So before you discard those plans to write a novel – or any project, for that matter – make a thorough self-assessment of your time. For 24 hours, jot down exactly how you wile away your minutes in a journal and make a time budget, that way you can identify any pockets of activity that could be spent more productively.
The Excuse: ‘I Don’t Have Time To… Workout’
The Solution: A healthy exercise routine isn’t only reserved for those with both a gym membership and a lot of time on their hands. Collective Hub’s friend Sir Richard Branson wakes at 5am to squeeze in a spot of swimming or Bikram yoga and says his morning workouts make him extra productive throughout the rest of the day. But if you’re not much of an early bird, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate activity into your day. It’s a matter of rethinking what habits you’ve built and turning them on their head: take a leaf out of Mark Zuckerberg’s book and make any meetings you have a walking one, or perhaps arrange to workout with a friend instead of catching up over coffee.