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  • Sofia Sulikowski

"I don't have time," redefined

The effect of caring on perceptions of time

Here we are again. The second period of overlapping full-time commitments in 2020. As I'm wrapping up my summer internship while taking online classes, free time doesn't come around often. My calendar looks like an advanced Tetris board, and our family dinners have migrated to 9PM.


Yet, I still find time.


I find time to exercise, talk to friends, cook, write, and sleep (!).


Some inevitable cuts took place—experimental recipes, supermarket wanderings, and reaching out to strangers on the internet. But for the most part, my usual assortment of activities remains intact.


“Don't find the time, find the why”

This quote from Chris Guillebeau sums up my philosophy.


Of course, there exist exceptions— I've had days where I failed to follow through on personal commitments or reduced my priorities due to lack of time or availability miscalculations.


But for the most part, the busier I am, the more productively I work and the clearer my priorities become. I can never do 10+ things well. But I can consistently prioritize strong relationships, health, etc. and maintain a semblance of balance through periods of reduced free time.


So when someone tells me "I'd love to but I don't have the time," I hear "I don't care enough. It's not a priority to me." Time is valuable and you should be picky with how (and who) you spend your ~16 waking hours. But a full day can comfortably fit meaningful priorities and more.


With the start of school, I've noticed the return of the lack-of-time fallacy students (including myself) fall into during the academic year. I've interacted with students who would not accept a single commitment outside the library, no matter how brief, because they need to study. For most, though: you're not studying while you eat lunch, or stand in line for coffee, or take extended bathroom breaks, or stare off into space. And yet, you don't have time for a 15-minute phone call with a friend?


9 times out of 10, I'd bet the "why" is missing, not time.


Micro-blog style inspired by Eddie Shleyner from VeryGoodCopy.

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