Updated: September 19, 2020
A couple of months ago, I experienced an unfortunate incident on my right eye. Of course, I immediately went to the doctor to have it examined.
Over the next two weeks, I had to schedule several appointments with a retina specialist. And I had to undergo a couple of medical tests, which included taking an angiogram (X-ray photograph of the blood vessels) of my eyes.
Thankfully, the doctor said there was no need for me to worry. I will have to deal with blurred vision (that eyeglasses can’t correct), but I should expect everything to go back to normal after several weeks.
My right vision is still a bit blurred, but it’s significantly better than it was two months ago. During my last visit to the doctor, he said my eye is actually healing nicely.
It’s really a good thing that I have Philhealth and an HMO medical insurance because I didn’t have to pay anything except for prescription medicines. Everything else, including the tests and consultations, were covered and free of charge.
But this article is not really about the importance and the benefits of having health insurance. It’s really about the choices we make with our time.
Finding free time
Before the incident happened, my schedule was full of meetings, errands, and events.
If you called me the day before to set an appointment, I would have said that my next free time would be after two weeks.
However, because of my medical emergency, I “miraculously” had free time to visit the doctor and go to the clinic several times over the next couple of weeks.
Of course, I was forced to cancel meetings, delegate some of the errands, and suddenly decline on attending most of the events that I was supposed to go to.
We can make time when it matters. That ultimately, what we do every day is our decision.
This was my realization. Something that I thought about during my recent visit to the doctor, while I was waiting for my turn at the clinic.
Priorities in life
We’re all busy — school, work, career, business, family, friends, hobbies — there’s always something that we need to do, and someplace we need to be.
I often hear people, especially friends, wishing for better time management skills; and also asking for effective ways to deal with laziness and procrastination.
What my eye injury taught me is that, if it’s urgent and important to you — then you will find time for it. And you will not procrastinate in doing it.
So thus perhaps, the key to better time management could simply be asking and honestly answering the question, “What are my priorities in life?”
And then treating those priorities similarly as that eye injury, which needs urgent attention and immediate action.
Urgent and important
One time, a friend told me that he often wishes that he could quit his job and become an entrepreneur, just like what I did years ago.
I told him that he should plan for it. And that it’s possible to develop and start a venture while he’s still working in the corporate world; that he can run a business even with a day job.
He told me that he’s just too busy at work, that’s why he can’t.
A few days ago, we met up for coffee and asked him, “Imagine that you were diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy every day for 1 hour this week. How would you fit that into your schedule?”
He replied that he’d do it after work, to which I replied, “Because that medical procedure is urgent and important, you were willing to make time for it.”
“If you treat your desire to start a business with the same urgency and importance,” I continued. “Then I’m sure you can also find the time to achieve what you’ve been dreaming of for years.”
Whenever you catch yourself saying these:
- I don’t have time for X
- I’m too busy to do X
- I wish I have the time to do X
- I’ll do X when I get the time
Instead, say it this way to yourself: I will never do X because it is not my priority.
Observe how it feels to say it that way. Did it feel uncomfortable? It usually is, because this truth about yourself is painful to hear.
You don’t have time to create a budget? You actually don’t want to create one because proper spending and having savings is not your priority.
You’re too busy to learn about investing? You just don’t want to learn because growing your money and preparing for the future is not your priority.
You wish you have time to start a business? You will never become an entrepreneur because that is not your priority; your priority is getting that promotion at work or watching all the episodes of your favorite TV series.
I’m not saying that what you’re doing is wrong. What I’m saying is that you should be honest with yourself, particularly on your priorities.
If you can honestly say that watching television is more important to you than writing a business plan, then you’re good on my book. The goal is to be clear with your intentions when it comes to how you spend your time.
In the end, you can say that these are just words.
But I know that they’re powerful enough to put things into a better perspective. And hopefully, motivate us to make more honest decisions when it comes to choosing what we do every day.