My life changed 19 days ago. I read something, somewhere, I don’t even know where, but it changed my LIFE! What were these life changing words strung together into a sentence? They are quite simple….
Take the words “I don’t have time for…” and replace them with “It isn’t a priority right now”.
That is it. That’s all! Now before you click the back button and go back to what you were doing, hear me out. If you say a sentence that has the phrase I don’t have time for….then replace that phrase with, “It isn’t a priority right now”. If the sentence you just said takes you back, makes your eyes bug out, your jaw drop, or doesn’t sound right, then it’s time to rethink. Here is an example.
4 year old: Mom can you play Candy Land with me?
Me: I’m sorry sweetie, I don’t have time to play Candy Land with you, I need to do the dishes.
Taking a mental step back and removing that sentence from my vocabulary, it sounds like this:
Me: I’m sorry sweetie It isn’t a priority right now to play Candy Land with you.
WHAT THE WHAT?
Did I really just say doing the dishes was higher priority than playing a game with my daughter? When did my priorities get so screwed up?
Seriously, when did this happen? How many times a day do I say, I don’t have time to exercise today? I don’t have time to clean out the cabinets? I don’t have time to study my scriptures, or read a book that has more than 4 words on a page and isn’t made out of cloth? I don’t have time for myself, I don’t have time for…..the list is endless.
I’m busy, just like you. I’ve got 4 kids, 2 jobs, 27 chickens, 2 dogs, volunteer to help out at church a lot, help out the PTO at school, make the school’s yearbook, run kids to activities, help with homework, dinner to make (did you know the people in my household want dinner…EVERY DAY?!), and everything else that gets piled high on my plate, just like you, I’m sure! What it comes down to is priorities.
Now I am not saying every time my daughter asks me to play Candy Land, color a picture, or paint her toenails, I must do it or else I’m a terrible parent. I obviously can’t say yes every single time because things do need to get done…..and that is okay! Sometimes getting dinner started is the priority. Explaining to my 4 year old that right now I need to get dinner cooking so we can eat at an acceptable time. After dinner my top priority will be to clean up and then play that game with you. Using this language with her will help her realize that NO, dinner, the dishes, or any task at hand isn’t necessarily more important than her, it just needs to be done first for _____________reason. Not only will this help her learn to prioritize as she grows up, she will also notice that she is important to me and the “daily tasks” of life just sometimes need to be done first.
As I mentioned I’ve been doing this for just shy of 3 weeks. I can not express to you the PEACE I have found from “prioritizing” my daily tasks. It has been mind blowing to take a step back each time I need to make a choice and determine, which task needs to be done now and which one can wait. This can be applied to all sorts of choices, not just ones between kids and housework. Just today I was prepping a big meal and cleaning the house because some of my favorite people coming over for dinner tonight. It came down to vacuum/sweep/mop every floor in the house or spend the time making the tortilla strips to go on top of the barbacoa sweet pork salads I was planning on making. After thinking through the goods and bads of both options, I decided that crushed tortilla chips would be close enough to tortilla strips and I’d love to have the entire house looking spotless for while they were here. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time….I had the WHOLE day to prepare (that is a lot of time!)…..I just had to prioritize on how to fill that time!
I urge you to remove the phrase “I don’t have time for” out of your vocabulary. We have so much time, fill it wisely with priorities, and enjoy the freedom that comes with it!