The “I Don’t Have Time” Lie

One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is “I don’t have time.”

We say this constantly. We say it to the fundraisers who wear neon vests and try to intersect our path on the sidewalk . We say it when we’re frustrated with a family member’s antics. We say this when we have a hazy dream inside that we’re afraid to start.

I Don’t Have Time is a statement that takes the responsibility off of us. When we Don’t Have Time, we are the victim. The planet teeters onward, some people live bold luminous radiant lives… and gosh, we would too… if only we had the Time. Oh well. So sad, right?

Five years ago, during my sophomore year of college, my sister found out she was pregnant. She spent several months on bed rest in a suburban hospital room. Between my job, school, trying to launch a farmers market, maintaining friendships, and trekking two hours each way on public transit to her hospital bed, I thought there was no way I could juggle it all.

And I didn’t. Several of my college friendships disintegrated during those months – those people sent me angry messages about how I wasn’t hanging out with them enough, and we haven’t spoken since. I used to think those relationships fell apart because I was too busy to have friends, but looking back, that wasn’t the case.

During that frenzied period of my life, I still managed to spend time with the friends who were supportive and juicy. The ones who would never “dump” me, who loved me unconditionally, who accepted that we wouldn’t see each other much, who threw me a 20th birthday party in a studio apartment and let me cry on their fuzzy blue futon while they applied to medical school.

Time expands when we decide that certain people and experiences are a crucial part of our lives. I didn’t have as much time to hang out with friends as I once did, so I chose how to spend that limited time – consciously or not. I prioritized.

And when it comes to our dreams, to the exquisite (and maybe undefined) things we want to accomplish in this lifetime:

We have to break free of the “I don’t have time” trap. No one can magically make extra time appear for us. We have to make the time.

Michael Bernard Beckwith says “Pain pushes until vision pulls.” When the pain of living a drab and half-awake life becomes great enough, we can let the strength of our vision propel us onwards – no matter how busy we already are.

Here is a peek into my current brain:

In eight months, I am self-publishing an e-book. My head is swirling. I want to have printed copies of this book too (“How do I do that?!”), I have never read an e-book and don’t know how to use a Kindle (although I just bought one that is untouched, sitting hauntingly on my desk), I need a designer, my website looks amateur, I should be teaching at more events (“WHAT DO I EVEN TEACH?”), I need to blog more and “build my e-mail list” to spread my message (“WHAT MESSAGE??”), I don’t know what I even write about, I don’t know how to use MailChimp, I don’t know if I should sell this book at a low cost or just give it away for free, I am afraid that anything I write is going to suck in that horrible, cheesy, plastic self-helpy way…

…and, oh right: I need to write a book. A book that I can love and be proud of. A book that, in most moments, I barely think I’m capable of writing.

It feels impossible. The rest of my life is already chaotically busy. My attention span is notoriously short (I can’t even sit through a full length movie). How can I possibly get it all done?

By taking a deep breath. By trusting that I have all the time I need. By browsing facebook less and laser-pointing my energy on my vision. By remembering that time expands in miraculous ways, that I am fully supported, and that my future moves steadily towards me as I move towards it. By banishing “I Don’t Have Time” from my vocabulary when it comes to the things I love.

The world needs your work and your light, your dreams and your projects. You have time to unleash that dazzling greatness from inside of you. Dump the excess – the Netflix, the social media, the crappy friends, the events you say “yes” to out of obligation.

Hone in on what’s important. Scribble down bits of poetry in between train stops. Close your computer. Doodle in the margins. Say “No thank you” as an act of self-respect.

Let your vision pull you. Honor your sacred, holy time.

You’re on fire already.


In dreams (and books) we trust,



Life becomes more enjoyable when we create the space and time to set the world on fire.
Life becomes more enjoyable when we create the space and time to set the world on fire.


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5 thoughts on “The “I Don’t Have Time” Lie

  1. Makes me wonder: we never hear children say “I don’t have time” and how happy are they most of the time playing and learning about the wonders of their worlds? They are crystal clear about their priorities, the only time whining when parental figures impose “shoulds.” Perhaps this is an overgeneralization, but you get the point. Love your message!

  2. I can help you with the email newsletter bit 🙂 I follow so many and have my own! I recommend TinyLetter — super easy to get started and up and running. Only feature it doesn’t have that MailChimp has that I miss is scheduling emails. Other than that, MailChimp had wayyyy more stuff than I wanted to bother with. Depends on what your needs/wants are though too 🙂 I am here for help and resources and venting!!

  3. It’s amazing how when you focus on the goal and the present moment, the necessary time suddenly appears. We all have the same allotment of time. The most successful people make the most of it 🙂

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