How to Hack Your To-Do List to Find More Time

Read about how to prioritize your to-do list to help decide what’s most important.
We all lead full lives. Caught within 24-hour days, 7-day weeks, and 52 weeks in each year, I’d be willing to wager that very few of us find ourselves walking around bored searching for more things to fit into our lives.

Often, I find myself thinking, “I just don’t have time for that.”

“I just don’t have time to make my way through my reading list.”
“I just don’t have time to weed the vegetable garden.”
“I just don’t have time for that run.”
“I just don’t have time to catch up with distant friends.”
“I just don’t have time to fit in regular weekday Masses.”

But what I’ve come to learn is that there is enough time to accomplish what absolutely must be done. We say we don’t have time, but what we really mean to say is “that’s not important right now.”

“My reading list isn’t important right now.”
“Weeding the vegetable garden isn’t important right now.”
“Going on a run isn’t important right now.”
“Catching up with distant friends isn’t important right now.”
“Weekday Mass isn’t important right now.”

Did those last few phrases sound funny to you? Surely, exercise is important for my short-term and long-term health. And aren’t human relationships, even with distant friends, more important than running? And isn’t spending time with God more important that any of the above?

Rephrasing from “I just don’t have time” to “that’s not important” helps me discern what really matters.

We have all been given 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week, and 52 weeks/year. Having created time, God is well aware of the constraints time limits put on our lives. Knowing this and knowing the desires of our hearts, He has called us each to a unique vocation. And the amount of time He has provided is enough to live out that vocational calling.

Maybe going on a run really isn’t important right now. And that’s okay. Maybe I need to choose how I balance my social life with other commitments, including giving my introverted self time to recharge. And that’s okay, too. And maybe sometimes I even have to choose between daily Mass, adoration, or spiritual reading. And even that’s okay.

God gives us the grace we need to discern our vocational calling in each particular challenge of life.

Even Jesus focused on his work as a carpenter until he began His public ministry. Because you know what? The Holy Family needed food on the table and a roof over their heads, and family is what was most important during that time.

We will never have time to do everything we’d like.

God has given us enough time to live out our vocations. In the words of my favorite Middle-earth wizard, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

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