A few years ago, before I started to setup goals and priorities, I used to say « I didn’t have the time » for things I planned or committed to do, but I obviously didn’t.
Indeed it was not honest from me, and my wife once told me:
You have the time for what you want.
I think it was about building some Ikea furniture or doing some boring administrative tasks I didn’t want to do. Would I have been honest, I would have said « Do it if you want because I don’t want to do it ».
Since the day I started to use tasks list (not TODO) and milestones, I’ve made an important language switch. I’ve stopped saying:
I didn’t have the time.
Instead, I say:
I didn’t prioritize it.
This is much more honest. The words say exactly what they mean.
The reason why I didn’t do that thing, whatever it is, is not because I did not have the time. Saying you didn’t have the time implies some external events prevented you from doing what you had to do. Most of the time, it’s a lie. It’s part of the ostrich policy I was writing about yesterday. The job not being done is not your fault, you can’t be held responsible for what (did not) happened.
Admitting you did not do the job because you did not prioritize it is admitting it was not a priority for you. That may seem obvious, but it’s important: instead of rejecting the fault on the time you didn’t have, you admit judging what you were ask less important than some other things.
Because you didn’t want to do it.