I Don’t Have Enough Time, and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

In this episode:

This might be tough to accept, but if you want to achieve a dream of any kind, you’re going to have to admit that no one else has more time in a day than you do. Others aren't just lucky. They weren't given more time. They learned how to kick out the lies that held them back, and they made some changes to use their time differently.

Inspired Life

I read an article from pastor and leader Carey Nieuwhof (I think he prounounces it like new-off) that really resonated with me. In this episode I incorporate Nieuwhof’s ideas and apply them to my audience and see if these same myth-debunkers work. He writes to leaders and pastors in his article. But let’s boil this down to some of the things my audience might be facing.

I have had people insinuate that because I have accomplished some pretty big goals that I might somehow have more ability or more time than someone else. This is just not true.

Let me explain. These are some of the things that were on my “want to” list 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years…you get it. Not once in those decades did I really ever get the time. I never had weeks without interruptions.

I never cleared my to-do list.

I never had a source of wealth to provide a second salary for our family so that I could have a sabbatical.


  • I launched a speaking ministry and have spoken up to 20 times in a year.
  • I published four books.
  • I got my masters degree in ministry leadership.
  • I launched a freelance business to help authors with editing and design of books.
  • I created a website and learned how to do digital ads.
  • I launched a podcast.

During the last decade and a half:

  • We moved to a new town and new church.
  • I took a full-time job at a marketing agency for a while to help with the bills.
  • I taught piano lessons.
  • Two boys graduated from high school.
  • I played piano for the high school choir.
  • I was a worship and music coordinator for my church.
  • I helped my husband raise his salary for missions support (he’s been on missionary staff for more than 14 years)

Ok. You get it. This is not a brag about Michelle episode. Don’t get me wrong! This is about showing that we don’t have time unless we make it. I’ve never had much bonus time. I’ve had to make it.

Some of you work full-time out of the house, others at home. But I have a feeling, each of you has your own version of a dream. Let’s take a look at Nieuwhof’s 7 statements and frame them for my audience of women who have a dream but are stuck in the land of myths about their time.

Life, Repurposed

Let's look at the myths. I have modified them a little to fit my audience.

  1. I don’t have enough time.

Here, Nieuwhof reminds readers that every person owns the same amount of time. This is unique, since we don’t own the same amount of real estate, money, possessions, etc. but we do have the same time. We just use it differently. This means we don't make time.

That one is tough, but if you want to achieve a dream of any kind, you’re going to have to admit that no one else has more time than you do. Michelle Rayburn wasn’t lucky. I didn’t get a special pass that gave me more time.

So will you take ownership of that time you have? I’m preaching to myself here too!

  1. I need to know how to manage my time better.

There are a lot of podcasts out there about time management. I’ve tried to even teach it to others myself. And I admit I have my own set of problems related to it. But, Nieuwhof challenges his readers saying, “On its own, time management doesn’t prepare you to handle 10x or 100x your current responsibilities.”

Instead he talks about getting a better strategy. This is sort of like the idea of how organizing without downsizing my stuff, doesn’t really help. There is still no room for new and better stuff, if I shuffle the same stuff around. So eliminating is a key that has helped me to be able to managed the remaining time.

  1. I need to be more efficient

This is an area where I think I have fallen for a myth. I love efficiency. But Nieuwhof says, “As efficient as you may become, you only have so many hours in a day. And part of what you do will never be fully efficient.”

He says instead of trying to be more efficient, we need to become more effective.

This was a lightbulb moment for me.

Nieuwhof says we can be efficient at things that don’t matter and this isn’t a win. We need to cut even efficient things out of our life.

Here is an example from my life. I’m efficient at cleaning my house. I used to clean other people’s houses. I am good at it. But I found myself bumping that to the end of the list week after week because I was overwhelmed and it didn’t seem urgent.

This year, I hired someone to clean my house. And now I can use those three hours to work on what needs to get done. It’s fantastic! That is being more effective.

  1. I don’t need sleep.

Again, I’m guilty.

There are all sorts of health problems with lack of sleep. I don’t need as much sleep as some people and I have tracked my sleep and I get more deep sleep than average. But I have a boundary. There is still a number I can’t go under without suffering. Sleepy me isn't near as efficient as awake me.

  1. I need to push myself

Nieuwhof suggest that this is ok sometimes but not every day. When you try to push yourself to do more than you want to do, how do you feel?

How would the people around you say it makes you? Their answer is the truthful one.

  1. There are things out of my control.

Nieuwhof talks about this in terms of not being in control because a boss controls the calendar. In my own frame of reference I could say client deadlines control it, the school schedule, etc.

This is equal to saying, “I can’t.” I’ll take it a step further. It is saying “I want the excuse of saying I can’t because it takes the blame off me.”

Instead, let’s focus on what we CAN control. Sure, there are things I can’t control.

Nieuwhof says, “typically, we love to focus on what we can’t control not on what we can....Leaders who focus on what they can control always outperform leaders who focus on what they can’t control.”

  1. I can’t say no to that commitment

You can. Raise your right hand, or left hand if you’re holding a baby, and repeat after me, “I can say no to anything that I don’t want to do.”

Nieuwhof says, “Your desire to do everything kills your ability to do anything well.”

“Saying no actually makes your time more valuable, not less valuable, because scarcity creates value.”

When I say yes to everything, it fills up my brain, and when I finally get time to work on my dreams, I have no brain function left. I’ve had writing time and sat staring at a screen, eating M&M’s and longing to distract myself with social media.

What will you cut out so that you can take charge of your schedule? What excuses will you stop making for yourself?

Recommended Resources

I’m linking in the show notes to Carey Nieuwhof article: THE TOP 7 MYTHS ABOUT TIME (IT’S TIME TO BUST)

The Top 7 Myths About Time (It’s Time to Bust)


I’m also giving you a few additional resources:

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst. She talks about how to say no to in order to overcome the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.

Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanityby Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.

Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul by Courtney Ellis. You'll learn tips for paring down your possessions, simplifying your schedule, and practicing the ancient art of Sabbath.

(Afflilate links)

I hope you give yourself some grace as you begin to work on your excuses. But the next time you catch yourself saying, “I don’t have enough time,” stop and ask yourself what myths you’ve let yourself believe.


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Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

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