The no excuse lifestyle

Sometimes we can do things, sometimes we can't, but at the moment I'm trying to embrace what I'm calling the 'no excuses' lifestyle. I'm still fleshing it out but I think there might be something to this.

Every one of us has the same amount of time in any given week: one hundred and sixty eight hours. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult works out to be about fifty three hours, which leaves one hundred and fifteen waking hours. The full time working week is thirty eight hours. If you allow two hours a week for travelling to work, which I consider to be a conservative estimate, you are left with seventy five free waking hours. That's not long at all considering what most people have to achieve in that time. We have to be particularly careful: not just in how we use this time but careful about how honest we are with ourselves and others about why we are allocating it in the way that we are.

There is no purer expression of our priorities than the way we spend our time. This is one of the cold, hard, brutal truths of life. Talk is cheap. In economic parlance, our time is a highly constrained resource; our words, thoughts and good intentions are not. Truly knowing and understanding this means reorganising your life to better reflect what you really value. Only you can tell whether you are doing this well or not. They are your priorities and they are what makes your life your own.

Doing this effectively most often means cutting things out, not adding things in. Taking things that we like out of our lives can be painful, but we need to understand that the greater space that is granted to our true priorities, the better the experiences are in relation to these things. This requires the sort of honesty that we don't really like to dish out to ourselves, but it's really important.

My idea for the 'no excuses' lifestyle is pretty simple. If something is a genuine priority for you at a given time, you will find the time to do it. If you don't, it simply was not as high a priority for you as the things you actually did. Don't be dishonest to yourself or others: that thing didn't happen because it wasn't as important to you as what you ended up doing. If you are honest with yourself, you won't need to make excuses for anything. 'I was busy' is an excuse; 'I had other things to do that were more important' is honest. So many things we do in our lives are not actually that pressing and can be feasibly moved around. This is not excuse-making, it is prioritisation and it is life.