“I don’t have time” – because I didn’t take it…

October 28, 2012

Week #1 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012.

This week’s title is “I don’t have time”.  First off, it has been great to see, and read, all of the activity that this blog battle started this year.  I am super excited to see others writing, blogging, and sharing their ideas.  It is fun!

The phrase “I don’t have time” is an excuse.  (And it is also a hysterical inside-joke about not rebasing on master from one of SEP’s Startup Weekends.)

Think about the meaning of the phrase – “I do not have the time to do [X]”.

I never really, really, looked at the meaning of this phrase, until after I was working with a customer.  English is a second language for this particular customer…let’s call him Fred.  (I don’t personally know anyone named Fred, so that should be a safe name.)

Fred told me on a conference call one day, “Matt, I did not take the time to do [X].”

My initial reaction was – oh, that is another one of those quirks of speaking English as a second language.  I mean, if you take something…then you have it, right?

But then, moments later, Fred said it again…”Matt, I did not take the time to do [Y].”  But this time, he followed up with, “I had to take my family to the airport.”

Now I got it…he wasn’t stumbling over our clumsy English syntax…he wasn’t trying to soften the blow by using the canned excuse of not having time for something.  No…he was being straight with me.  He simply did not take the time to do X, or Y, because he spent his entire evening helping his family pack, spending time with them, and driving them to the airport.

Ever since that day, I try to channel my inner Fred and avoid using the phrase “I don’t have time”.  Instead, I will give it to you straight…I didn’t take the time, or I didn’t prioritize it, or I simply did not want to do it.

Take this blog post, for example…I did not take the time to write this post until just now…merely hours before the cutoff for this first week’s blog battle.

So instead of saying you didn’t have time to do something…I challenge you to channel your inner Fred, and tell it like it really is.