Problems vs. Solutions: priorities

I’m so busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

It’s a familiar refrain I hear a dozen times a week. I overhear it standing in line at the bank and from the next table over at lunch. I hear it from clients, friends, and the barista at my favorite cafe.

And it makes me wonder how great things get done.

I mean, there are women out there—right now—writing books and starting blogs. Getting a new job or getting that business up and rolling. Making it a mission to get healthy or support a cause. Practicing self-care and spending time with family. Innovating and mentoring. Exploring and creating.

And, somehow, the women getting the very most done are not the ones who go around talking about how busy they are or complaining there aren’t enough hours in the day.


Which makes me realize these three truths:

  1. We all have the same 24 hours.
  2. It comes down to what’s important to you.
  3. It matters what you prioritize.

24 hours = 1440 minutes

I’m assuming no one is going to argue with that first truth: We all have the same 24 hours. Are you making the minutes and moments count? Or are you frittering away time (Facebook, anyone?)

Imagine this is your last 24 hours. Feel the clarity of that. (Composing the perfect Tweet or spending time comparing your thighs to those of some celebrity just doesn’t seem so important now, right?)

OK, luckily it’s not your last 24 hours. But that doesn’t mean you should treat time as disposable or take for granted there will always be more of it.

So if we all have the same 24 hours, but you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, then time to move on to our next two truths.

Do you really know what’s important to you?

If you don’t know what’s most important to you, it’s time to figure it out—pronto. Don’t waste another day floundering in inertia and confusion about what kind of life you want.

As I always like to say, Life is short and this is not a dress rehearsal. And you simply can’t focus your attention, time, and energy on what’s important to you if you don’t know what that is.

Are you actually prioritizing what’s most important to you?

Which brings me to Truth #3: It matters what you prioritize.

OK, so you’re well aware there’s 24 hours in a day. And you’re crystal clear about what’s important to you.

But is what matters most what you’re prioritizing?

Here’s a super-easy litmus test

Simply look at how you spend your time. Because how you spend your time is a reflection of your priorities. Plain and simple. Period.

You may want to say, Yeah, but… and talk about extenuating this or temporary that …or other excuses. But the truth remains: What you spend your time on is what you’re making a priority.

Your choices matter

What you choose first and second and third matters. How you spend your attention, time, and energy matters.

Going to the office early every morning, working late every night, and never seeing your kids is a reflection of your priorities. That’s not a judgment, just a fact.

Now before my inbox fills with people saying It’s a good job, I have to pay the mortgage, I’m not encouraging you to quit your job, sell your house, or turn your back on your responsibilities.

But I am saying that how you spend your time is a very clear reflection of what’s important to you. Imagine it like a reflection in a mirror. Do you like what you see?

Busy is boring and wishing is a waste of time

Let’s all agree to stop (wasting time) complaining about how busy we are. Because not only is it a waste of time, it’s also kind of boring.

And instead of wishing for more than 24 hours in a day, let’s be grateful for the hours we have—and use them wisely, with intention, aligned with what matters most.