If I had the time
Career Development,  Growth and Goals,  Lifestyle,  Thoughts

The Biggest Lie I Tell Myself is About All The Things I’d Do if I Had The Time

The Biggest Lie I Tell Myself is About All The Things I’d Do if I Had The Time

You know that old chestnut we tell ourselves. I’d do so much if only I had the time!

After all, I’m busy, I’ve got a social life and work and all that stuff. I want to write that novel or work out but I just don’t have the time. Life is too damn busy. I just can’t do it!

If I wasn’t so busy, I’d be like this stock photo guy.

had the time

Look at him. He’s got that self satisfied but not quite smug look on his face as he picks up his warm cup of coffee and gets ready to take on the day. There’s challenges ahead of him and this dude is facing them head on with the wonder of mother nature around him. He’s taking charge of things, doing all sorts of stuff and getting it done. This feller is making the most of his life and growing his business or whatever it is he’s doing.

I could do the same if only I had the time.

What a crock of shit.

If there’s one good thing that comes out of this quarantine is that it shatters this excuse. I have been at home since the middle of March. Now, I still have a job so it’s not like it’s magic free time manna falling from heaven. However, my job does allow me some freedom in terms of taking breaks and I save SO much time not getting ready for work and driving.

In essence, I have a good amount of extra time to do all that cool stuff I’ve always wanted to do but never did because I didn’t have free time.

After all, I set some personal goals this year. I should be doing some of them.

Of course, some of them are now impossible due to the quarantine. I’m clearly not visiting two new places this year unless those places are new found lands in either my bathroom, my kitchen, my bedroom or my living room. However, there’s plenty there that I can get done.

I should be like that guy above and get excited and get stuff done! Sure, there’s some limitations. After all, I can’t go to the gym and get buff but I do have a rowing machine at home. That’s a great thing to have for my goal to row 5000m in one sitting. I could still walk outside safely to get my steps goals going. There’s plenty of YouTube videos I could follow. Hell, I could even restart my 30 day plank challenge.

There’s recipes online I could try and books I could be reading. On top of that, I have a blog and plenty of time to write a crap load of new and exciting articles.

Have I been doing all that? Am I like that guy above, excited and eager to take on each and every day at home?

Nah.I haven’t done shit.

I’m more like this guy.

if I had the time

First of all, I want to say that I love stock photo websites. There’s a lot of fantastic series of photos if you search “lazy man” or “couch potato” out there. It’s true art. Second of all, there’s nothing wrong with a lazy day on the couch. It’s a perfectly fine day.

However, it’s not that perfect if it happens all the freaking time. This last month for me has been a long ass lazy day.

I now have extra time and I do nothing with it.

After all, here’s a list of things I have done that I don’t normally do since the quarantine began…

OK, list over, what a list! Thank god I had the time to do all that. What an efficient use of all my free time!

The reality is that I’ve sucked in doing anything that I could be doing. This whole “if I had the time” line is total bullshit. I have the time and I haven’t done anything with it.

I have been home since mid March. Sure, there’s a few trips to grocery stores or strolls outside to walk the dog but beyond that it’s been nothing. All I’ve really done with this time is sleep, work, eat, watch TV and play video games.

Sure, those are all fun things that are all fine to do but I really should be doing more. I shouldn’t be like that second guy every day. There’s nothing wrong with vegging out and taking a break from time to time. However, I should be more like that first guy who’s eager to do something every morning.

After all, I am kind of a driven guy, or at least I tell myself that I hope to be.

In addition, my great wife has been the total opposite of me. Unfortunately, she still has to go to work so she’s not even seeing the same benefit of no commute. However, she’s found time to do a bunch of extra stuff.

Most impressive are the dozens of cloth masks she’s been sewing for our nurse friends, our family and even her co-workers. What a gal! She’s been so busy and has worked so hard on cool personal projects and yet here I am being a lazy bum.

What’s the deal?

The problem is that it’s VERY easy to fall into a pattern once you start(or stop) something. If you write every day or walk every day, it’s easier to keep that train going.

It’s like pushing something up a hill, hard to get started but easier to get going once it’s moving. The only problem is that once you stop, it’s very hard to get going again and you can even have it roll down the hill.

That’s essentially what happened with me. I had a routine with work that made it easier for me to do stuff. I had to get up, get dressed and even that little something pushed me to do other items.

However, staying at home broke that routine and make me lazier than I ever was before this. Sure, I had more time but I had no drive to take advantage of it. Hell, I haven’t even showered every day since this whole thing began.

It’s true, I’m gross. My sleep schedule has also gotten a bit screwy as there are often nights when I don’t get into bed until well past 11! That’s crazy for me. After all, I normally live like an early introverted retiree who’s in bed at 9:30 during normal times.

I’ve also started growing a terrible quarantine beard. It’s quite a patchy disaster.

Now that’s not to say I’ve become a hermit who does nothing. I still work a full forty hours, do my regular chores around the house, read some books and all that stuff. In fact, I think I’m doing better at work than I was in the office.

However, I could be doing so much more than that. After all, I have all this extra time. Sure, it’s not the same as if I was retired and didn’t have to work forty hours. However, it’s certainly an extra hour or two every day. That’s pretty good. Most of that is from the lost commute and not having to get ready which I kind of love but that getting ready part often started my day on the right foot.

It seems like losing that has made me take a step back when it came to other personal growth opportunities.

This quarantine is a unique opportunity to figure out what I am as a person. Am I a lazy dude who doesn’t do much. Or am I self driven and ready to grow?

Well, the early results aren’t promising.

I always tell myself I’d do so much if only I had the time.

Well, I’ve got the damn time.


  • Reverse The Crush

    Interesting read, Time. It’s a very timely article on what we are all struggling with. If I may say, it sounds like you are being too hard on yourself if you are still working 40 hours per week. Unless you have a side business or something, even a few extra chores or cooking more seems reasonable to me. The other thing is that it takes time to build new habits and figure out what you want to do. I learned this when I took a year off. So maybe you will start forming new habits or be drawn to a new interest with more time working from home.

    This topic is super interesting to me because I feel like a lot of FI seekers won’t actually be satisfied once they reach FI. It seems to me like many are chasing the numbers over time to spend on what they love.

    For me, I have been utilizing the extra time for blogging. I have been absolutely loving it and treating it as if it is a full-time job. I guess that’s because I care about blogging so much more than my job.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Time. Always enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

  • Budget Life List

    Your candor is exactly what I needed! I appreciate that you confessed to the interweb about your expectations of spending your “spare time” are currently lacking. Perhaps after this moment of vulnerably you will feel the urge to get after it. Or not. It is a pandemic and my (nonprofessional) opinion is that things wont go as planned. The end game is survival, right? Good luck!

  • Grant Smith

    I love the honesty here haha! I’ve had to go to work everyday, but even so, it’s not like there is a lot a happenin’ on the weekends for my 20-something self. I’ve been reading Gary Keller’s, The One Thing, and he hits home on not having to do everything, but perhaps just one thing right. So cheers to punching those keys!

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