The Dirty Secrets of Time, Priorities, and Honesty

December 21st, 2010

I hate excuses. And the one I despise most of all is “I don’t have time.” Bullshit. You can find the time. It exists. You choose not to devote the time, and there’s a big difference.

I don’t work out. (people that have met me in person are LOLing about the understated nature of that last sentence) Sure, I’m a busy guy. But I could absolutely work out if I chose to do so. I could get up earlier. I could stay up later. I could stop doing other things that I currently do instead. But I don’t. Because (perhaps foolishly) it’s not a priority for me.

And it’s all about priorities.

Several bloggers who I read regularly are writing less frequently these days. When asked why (by me, or by others via blog comments or Twitter), the answer is always the same:

“I want to write more, but when I get busy with other things, I just can’t write as often.”

What kind of signal does that send?

Bloggers hope and expect that readers will subscribe to the RSS feed, return often, leave comments, and share posts in social media. In short, bloggers want their work to be important to their readers. But it’s not important enough to the blogger himself to find a way to consistently publish?

Whether it’s a corporate blog, group-written blog, or a solo effort, you have to decide how it fits into your master plan.

What’s Important to You

The same is true of just about everything else in business and in life. You have to decide where on the infinite scale of ways to spend your time each of those things are slotted. When I ran my last digital marketing agency, we never missed a deadline. Ever. We made it a priority, committed to it, and it governed our behavior and our choices accordingly. I’ll admit that on occasion this commitment to delivering when we promised compromised quality – that taking a couple of extra days might have made some of the work better. But we chose to make deadlines a priority, and we stuck with it.

How important is returning phone calls in a timely fashion? How important is atomizing your content, and turning it from a blog post into a Slideshare presentation? How important is answering a customer question on Twitter within 10 minutes?

Fess Up If Your Priorities Change

Of course, our lives change and circumstances change. But when that happens to you, take the time to give the ramifications of those changes real thought, helping to see how priorities might have to shift correspondingly.

And most importantly, be honest with yourself. Admit that what once was critically important to you (like writing consistently) might not be as important now. Don’t blame it on not having enough time. That’s just code for “I don’t care as much as I used to, but haven’t admitted it to myself yet.”

So as we wrap up this crazy, crazy 2010, spend a few hours with yourself thinking about your priorities this year, and how they could or should change in 2011. It will give you a lot more clarity (and a lot less guilt) down the road.

(Image by Shutterstock, a Convince & Convert sponsor)

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