I used to say
I don’t have time
when I noticed that I couldn’t do something that I would’ve like to do. This didn’t felt like a huge problem, but it did trouble me a bit. Every now and then I would feel stressful that I wasn’t able to find time for example to educating myself on something I was interested of.
One day I read a blog post from Michael Bolton where he told a story of how he had to hurry home from a conference. This is when Jerry Weinberg pointed out that he has chosen to go home, instead of needing to go home. Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:
“Hi, Jerry,” I said, offering and accepting a hug. “Great to see you! And I’d really like to hang out with you as much as I can for all four days of the conference, but I have to go home.”
“No you don’t,” said Jerry.
I was taken aback. “Huh?”
“You don’t have to go home.”
“No, Jerry, I really do. My family’s there, and I’ve been away a lot lately.”
“You don’t have to go home. You don’t have to do anything.”
“You don’t have to go home. You want to go home, and you’ve chosen to go home. And that’s fine.”
It might seem trivial to realize that you choose to do things instead having to do things. But it’s actually something that has give me a lot of inner peace and clarified purpose in my life.
It’s a choice
I have two main priorities (purpose you could say) in my life (in this order)
- Family (wife & son)
- Career (my effort on understanding more and more deeply testing and software development more generally)
I also have 24 hours every day that I can choose to spend as I want. While you could see going to work and spending time with your family as something you’re not choosing - that’s exactly what you are doing.
For me it has been liberating to realise that I choose where I will put my time. And as my family goes to top on my priorities, I’ve chosen to dedicate the majority of my time to them. Then there’s also approximately 40 hours per week that I put to enjoying my career in software development. What’s left goes to sleeping, exercising, out-of-the-work-development and so on. Without jeopardising my main priorities.
Knowing your priorities and acting according to them, gives you congruence. Which in the long term has made me much calmer and peaceful.
You do have time
It’s not actually true if you say that you don’t have time. You have all the time in the world. 24 hours every day. And you choose where to use them.
Perhaps it’s easier to say to someone (or yourself) that you don’t have time than I have more important to do.
Wherever you choose to spend your time, realize that you could choose otherwise. And you can also be totally happy with the choice you’ve made. Especially if it’s based on what matters to you.