It’s been a pretty interesting week. I turned 24, found out I passed my final year exams, gave a presentation about the YouTube channel to the Cambridge clinical school faculty, and yesterday afternoon delivered a 2-hour revision session on Obstetrics & Gynaecology to around 100 students in the year below.
With all this going on, I’ve allowed various other things to pile up – life admin, video editing, 6med emails, mortgage paperwork, messages from people on Instagram etc etc. In the past, I would have been tempted to tell myself that “I didn’t have time” which is why stuff piled up.
Over the past few years though, I’ve tried hard to eliminate that phrase from my vocabulary, reframing it in a way that’s more helpful.
“I don’t have time”
From the age of 13 onwards, I’ve been asked some variant of ‘how do you have the time to do so much stuff‘ on an almost weekly basis.
I’ve always been a bit confused by the question. We all have the same 24 hours each day. If we sleep for 8, and we’re at work/school for 8, that leaves 8 hours for other things (and far more on weekends and holidays). Even with ‘dinner’ and ‘hanging out with the fam’ and extracurricular activities, we still have a large amount of free time each week, every week for pretty much our whole lives.
What we do with that time is our choice. I don’t like the phrase I don’t have time because it encourages us to think of our time as something outside our control. When we say I don’t have time, it absolves us of responsibility and functions as an easy excuse. But if we reframe it as I am choosing not to make the time, it reminds us that what we do with our time is our choice.
Sure, if you’re a single mum working 3 jobs to feed your kids, then okay – you probably don’t have time to start a YouTube channel. But I’d contend that almost no one reading this falls into that category. We all have time on our hands. We just choose to use that time in different ways.
So how do I have the time to supposedly do so much stuff? Firstly, I think of my time as something in my control. Whatever I do is what I am choosing to do.
So this past week, it’s not that I haven’t had the time to reply to messages or keep on top of video editing. It’s that I’ve been choosing to prioritise other things above those. And that’s fine (and apologies to anyone who’s waiting on a reply to an email/instagram DM/YouTube comment lol).
Other than simply reframing ‘I don’t have time’ as ‘I am choosing not to make the time’, I’ve developed a few other time management tips/hacks that will be the subject of a YouTube video at some point.
So what can we take away from this email? Next time we find ourselves thinking ‘I want to do X but I don’t have the time’, we can remind ourselves that how we spend our time is almost entirely in our own control. Instead of saying ‘I don’t have the time’, we can tell ourselves ‘I am actively choosing not to make the time’. If we do that, we might find that time disappears from our internal list-of-excuses that prevents us from doing worthwhile things.
Also, you might like to check out some of the articles below. They’re pretty good on the time management theme.
Have a great week!
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Officially a doctor wooooo. Can’t wait to vlog about life in the NHS ❤️❤️❤️❤️🍰🍰 pic.twitter.com/pbksPKHSnn
— Ali Abdaal (@AliAbdaal) May 11, 2018