EXCUSE: “I never have enough time to do that stuff!”
REALITY: “It’s not really a priority”
Maybe you didn’t have time the first day you tried to get something done – but every day? Come on.
You had enough time today to do everything that you prioritised. You prioritise continuously, just not always the way you intend. The problem isn’t time. It is that there are conscious and unconscious influencers on what you really want to do.
Pick me! Pick me!
You always find enough time to do the things you want to do. Everything else you talk about doing struggles in second place. This is largely because they are not automatic, routine or habitual. They take effort. Effort is hard.
Daniel Kahneman writes in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” of the dual process model of
System-1 (Intuition/Unconscious) and System-2 (Reasoning/Conscious) thinking.
System-1 is Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious.
System-2 is Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious.
System-1 loves looking after everything we couldn’t be bothered consciously thinking about like breathing, eating and letting you daydream while you drive your car to work. All the stuff you just know how to do and can autopilot away. It also loves influencing your conscious (System-2) thoughts with its’ opinions and emotions.
System-2 loves any excuse to have a break and let System-1 take over. But when it is in control it is reasoned, calculating and the bit that makes you feel like you could or should have spent time on all these other things.
This sharing of your mental resources is what leads to the disparity between your actions and words. System-2 promises and System-1 delivers something else.
It’s really easy to let your day go to System-1. It is what happens by default.
Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconcious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character
With effort you make the choice on what is the most worthy of your time.
Without effort you go with whatever feels good or whichever wheel squeaks the loudest. Thinking is hard work.
The frustration your System-2 brain generates when something doesn’t happen should be spent on steps towards that goal. Don’t let it be an excuse you verbalise.
Accept that if we repeatedly didn’t do something, it is not really because we were too busy. It was because we were busy doing other things that we really wanted to do. Even if that thing was doing nothing. Wasting time is easy, fun, even therapeutic. It is OK in moderation. System-1 enables you to surrender yourself to it. As with anything borne of System-1 it is automatic and familiar, which also means it isn’t growing or changing you.
If you go into this mode and stay there you can’t lay out the excuse that you didn’t get something done because you didn’t have time.
You didn’t have to toil in your inbox for 2 hours shifting over the same messages. You didn’t have to draw out that meeting with inane questions. You didn’t have to spend 20 minutes hanging out at someone else’s desk for a gossip.
Truly own how you spend your time. If something is really important you will get it done. Now.
Have you turned a System-2 desire into a System-1 habit? Tell us how below.