Long term · motivation · reason · reflection

Finding Time Means Finding Priorities

Before I step onto any metaphorical soap box, I hope that you are happy, healthy and smiling wherever you are right now.

I was unable to spend Thanksgiving with my biological family this year. Travel and my job simply didn’t create a great opportunity for it to happen. I did, however, have a lovely Thanksgiving day with a dear friend and her family. They allowed me to share Thanksgiving dinner in their home. Before we indulged in a glorious feast my friend said, “OK, we each have to say what we are thankful for.”  With forks and knives already in our hands, her family and I stopped what we were doing and set down our utensils. We then took turns stating what we were thankful for.

Even though the situation and dinner were informal, my heart was awfully heavy. It’s not uncommon to say aloud what you are thankful for (praying), but it felt a little strange to me because it was out of my normal routine. Being able to think about something is very different than speaking about it or actually doing it. For example, telling your Mom that you will call her everyday, or telling your significant other how much you love them everyday are great ideas in theory but unless those ideas manifest into reality, then that is all they are…ideas.

During my times as a student I can remember how my peers and I never seemed to have enough time. We made excuses such as, “Sorry Mr. Doowell but I had a lot of chores to do, and then I had baseball practice so I didn’t have enough time to finish my essay.”  I thought that life would slow down after college and I would have time to fit everything into my daily schedule. That didn’t happen.

During the time I worked as a teacher I can remember my coworkers and I never seemed to have enough time. I can remember telling my students more than once, “Sorry class, we are not going to get to have ‘Popsicle Runs’ today because I didn’t have enough time to get to the store for supplies.”

In my current job and in my personal life, there still never seems to be enough hours in the day. Projects at work don’t get done for various reasons. Sometimes we have lame excuses such as, “We will have to wait to launch DaBomb.comaGram until we have revised, consulted, and re-revised. Currently we don’t have the time.”

Time is linear so once it is gone we can’t loop back for one last go-around. That particular time frame is gone forever. In our lives there will never be ‘enough time’ because we make choices which use up time. By executing a particular choice, we eliminate the option for an alternate choice. Making choices is why we are all here and pursuing whatever it is we choose to pursue. Or whatever we choose to NOT pursue. Time and its relationship to the choices we make are the fabric of why you are reading this right now…because you chose to read what I wrote. I know that I’m rambling, but the words need to get out. The words in my head sometimes take control over me.  I fear that if I cannot find time to allow them to speak, that I may start my next sentence with something silly and inaccurate like, ‘I didn’t have enough time.’

I don’t have all the answers and I am far from figuring out what it is I am doing or where I am going in my timeline of life. I do, however, want to get better at spending my time. I think that priorities are a great tool to use in order to get better at utilizing the time we have. I think that priorities become more than an idea and can transform into a reality if we repeat them aloud and write them on paper (or a screen). Priorities can lead us on a path of our choice and regardless of the time used to navigate that path, we can be satisfied (even if it’s just a little satisfaction) with our time spent. Maybe we can avoid not having enough time by prioritizing.

In her YouTube video Sweet Brown claimed over and over that, ‘ain’t nobody got time fo dat.’  It was very funny how she kept repeating those words.  I challenge you to say that you do have enough time. If you discover that you weren’t able to do something because time ran out, then it was because your priorities took more time then you anticipated. And that’s okay. I think we can live with that.

In the first paragraph I said that I didn’t spend Thanksgiving with my biological family because, “Travel and my job simply didn’t create a great opportunity for it to happen.”  Those words are just a different way of saying that I didn’t have enough time. That is a cop-out. Being a man of reflection and growth, my priority is to be with my biological family next year at Thanksgiving.

I’ll make the time for that.

Be well and purposeful with your time.Image

One thought on “Finding Time Means Finding Priorities

  1. We just re-read the Finding Time Means Finding Priorities. Last Thanksgiving was the first holiday in 27 years that our son, Alex, wasn’t with us. It was a sad day for us to be without him here at home. We made a vow that we would go to Spokane to be with him on Thanksgiving Day of 2014.
    What a wonderful gift we got when last week he told us that he had made flight arrangements and he would be home to spend Thanksgiving with us! We are over-the-moon happy.
    We hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with the people they love and care about.
    Jackie & Mike O’Brien

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