Why I’m Pledging to No Longer Say “There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day”

Some instances where I have reverted back to scapegoating the innocent day for my failures include, but surely are not limited to….


Jenny Radloff

3 years ago | 6 min read

There aren’t enough hours in the day.” It’s a phrase I’ve said far too many times, nonchalantly, without a thought, simply tossing it out there anytime I needed an excuse for why something didn’t get done. And I’m making a pledge to say it no more.

Despite having leaned on this as a crutch even recently, I cringe looking back. Why? Because rather than take ownership over my poor time management and lack of prioritization, I’ve blamed an external source that can’t even debate my baseless claim, and it’s time for me to take accountability.

It’s a level playing field after all. Each of us has the same number of hours in a day; some people are just better at spending them. Sure, some of us might be trying to balance more things than others, making it seem like we’re running out of time to accomplish everything we’d like. But, ultimately, we have control over what makes it — or doesn’t make it — into our days.

Hence, any finger-pointing about failure to do something should be aimed at ourselves and no one else. I say this not so we beat ourselves up, but if you find yourself repeatedly using this same phrase as an excuse like I have, it’s an opportunity to pause, acknowledge the issue, and do better. This means deciding how our days are spent…either: 1) we let things happen to us or 2) we prioritize the activities that are most valuable.

Some instances where I have reverted back to scapegoating the innocent day for my failures include, but surely are not limited to….

  • Not getting to an errand that I have continuously procrastined day after day, week after week (oil change, clothing return, etc.)
  • Not reading
  • Going to bed late (and then, therefore, waking up later than intended)
  • Not exercising
  • Letting chores and housework pile up
  • Skipping out on a skincare routine or other self-care
  • Not starting or finishing a work assignment that I’ve had on my to-do list for too long

Do I ever have an issue with not getting around to watching my favorite Bravo TV show that week? Or walking my dog? Absolutely not.

These are things that either must happen (like taking my dog out) or that I’m proactively choosing to do, even if seems like it’s just happening on autopilot (watching TV). It’s not about “finding” time. It’s always there; we just need to decide what we will utilize it for.

While I still very much struggle with proactively planning my time to be spent on what is most important to me, I am making progress.

The biggest step for me has been simply becoming more aware of when I’m favoring a low-value activity. I now recognize and take accountability for that decision, as opposed to playing the victim, who must just be so much busier than everyone else (for example, realizing I favored scrolling on my phone instead of going to bed early, or that I should’ve declined an invitation to something that ultimately took away from my priorities).

Here are some steps I‘ve recently taken that have led to progress:

  • Investing financially in what matters most: I’m a runner. Simply put, I feel better on the days I run and worse on the days I don’t. I also have a desire to get faster and improve my fitness. After nearly two decades of running, I came to the conclusion that if this matters so much to me and I am still struggling to make it a priority, I needed to try something new. So, I decided to sign up for online coaching and I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner. If it’s so important to me, and I can afford this service, why not invest in it? It seemed like an unnecessary expense before, but once I recognized that I was ignoring what I considered to be a priority, it became necessary. This has been effective for two reasons. First, it gives me a plan to follow, so I no longer need to think about what my workout will be. That extra step in the process has been eliminated, making it easier to execute. Second, I feel a sense of accountability because not only am I paying each month for this service, but I also have a coach communicating with me every week and sending me a schedule. Previously, if I didn’t run, there was no one who would care except me. Now I have someone making sure that I’m following a plan. If you are able, I recommend putting financial resources into whatever it is that you consider most important — which might mean reallocating your budget from less important areas (perhaps canceling all those streaming TV subscriptions or cutting back on ordering out dinner, etc.).
  • Getting real with what’s possible & planning ahead: I tend to be way too optimistic about how much I can accomplish in a given timeframe. Not only do I underestimate how long things will take me, but I also forget to build in buffer time. I found that using time blocking for my workday was ineffective because I wasn’t allocating enough time for each task. Something I thought would take 30 minutes ultimately took an hour, so then everything I had planned became crunched and something would inevitably fall off. Or, I might think I could step out for a 30 minute run in between meetings, but didn’t account for the time it would take to get changed, stretch, and get out the door — and then realize, wait, I only have 15 minutes now and this simply isn’t possible. I still look ahead in my calendar and plan around what needs to happen, what I want to happen, and what is optional and therefore might need to be completely canceled or delayed. Giving myself more realistic time estimates, I might now realize that I have too many priorities in one day. This then allows me to opt-out of a meeting, request an extension on something, or perhaps arrange my day differently (e.g., workout in the morning as opposed to during my lunch break).
  • Putting first things first: It’s one of Stephen Covey’s famous habits from his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book. It always made sense to me, but it didn’t truly resonate until I put it into practice. I haven’t gotten to the point where it’s a habit just yet, but when I’ve done it, I’ve seen the enormous benefit. For example, when I’ve gone for a run in the morning before logging on for the workday, it’s an amazing feeling. Not only do I have a sense of accomplishment, but I no longer need to worry about how I’ll fit it in later, especially if something unexpected pops up. I’ve also read about how the best time to get into “flow state” for creative work is in the morning. On days where I don’t have morning meetings, I’ve started to crank out those important projects — giving myself an uninterrupted hour or two to really dig in, and get it done first thing. Previously, I would start my day with the “easy” tasks, those 5, 10, 15-minute activities that are quick to check off. Because it always feels good and productive to check a box off. But, this came at the expense of procrastinating the most important, more strategic items that required more thought and time. Then, when I only had 15 or 30 minutes in between meetings or realized it was getting too late in the day… those larger projects would get delayed yet again. By carving out dedicated time in the morning and focusing on the most important item first, I can set myself up for success. Then, when I have a short slot in between meetings or I’m hitting that dreaded afternoon wall, I can cross off those menial tasks that take little time or mental capacity. Even if I got one thing done that day instead of 20, I feel so much better about it, because those other items can happen easily and quickly.

This is not the first time I’ve written about striving for more intentional and effective time management — and it probably won’t be my last. To be clear, this isn’t because I’m an expert. I have lots of room for growth and will forever be looking for new ways to optimize the way I plan and execute my days.

Building better habits is easier said than done, and while I will share what has worked for me along my journey, I’m always open to learning new strategies. If you have one that’s been helpful in your daily life, leave a comment.


Created by

Jenny Radloff

B2B technology PR professional. Boston-area native. Pug mom. Competitive runner turned recreational jogger.







Related Articles