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I didn’t have time to do this

I don't have time to do this

I didn't have time to do this

“I didn’t have time to do this” is by far the lamest excuse I hear and we hear it all the time. Why is that?

You know the scenario. Someone committed to delivering something to you by a certain date and once the time comes, you ask the individual to honor their commitment only to hear these words – “I didn’t have time…”.

Although I could go into time management, this is not the point I want to make. Let’s call a spade, a spade and stop pretending that work doesn’t get done because people didn’t have time to do it. Think about it, when was the last time you heard someone tell you, “I have too much time”?

Life is as such as we accept more work and activities than we have time for, so claiming we didn’t have time for something seems like an understatement. In reality, what really happens is:

  1. the individual didn’t want to do the work in the first place;
  2. the person is procrastinating;
  3. the person has difficulties in prioritizing their activities and cannot make a decision to determine which piece of work is more critical and should be completed first.

As you can see, none of these options would be a popular answer, so people use the same lame excuse over and over again.

Now that you know there is no such thing as having too much time, you may want to ask the person using the lack-of-time excuse to provide the real reason why the commitment has been broken. That should make for an interesting conversation.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I agree, but IMO It’s not always about taking on too many tasks. No matter how busy your life is, you can *always* find 5 or 10 mins to do something. It really annoys me when I ask someone for a small favor that would take only 5 mins and they keep saying they don’t have time and end up doing it 3 weeks later. “I don’t have time” is really a slap in the face. It essentially means “I don’t feel like it. I’d rather do some pointless, meaningless stuff than do you a favor.”
    When a friend asks me for a favor, I prioritize it over whatever else I’d be doing when not doing something critical. Even when we’re super busy, we all somehow find the time to do stuff like read blogs, post on forums, watch youtube vids, TV, play games, talk on the phone, etc. No one spends 16+ hours a day doing only critical stuff.

    February 4, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tools that may help if you are a “I didn’t have time to do this” person | Agile Gardener
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