Making Time for What’s Important

The things that are important should have room in your life.

Anna Burgess Yang
4 min readMar 22, 2018


“A clock with the big hand at 12 and little hand at 10” by Tristan Colangelo on Unsplash

A few years ago, I tripped across the line:

Replace the words “I don’t have time” with “It’s not important to me” and see how it feels.

The idea was to recognize prioritizing certain things over other things. The things that are important should have room in your life.

I ran across this line again the other day, or a variation thereof. A few years ago, I was all over that line, thinking “YES! I can feel so much better if I can only focus on the things that are IMPORTANT to me!” Now, I’m not so sure.

A few years ago, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book dedicated to fierce decluttering of the home, and only keeping items that “spark joy.” Quite literally, holding an item in your hands and saying “Do you bring me joy?” If not, get rid of it. While I appreciated the overall sentiment of the book, I found myself wondering if it could really apply to everything. A can opener doesn’t really bring me joy, but I need to keep it. Diapers certainly don’t bring me joy.

Kondo clarified later to look at necessary household objects along these lines: “If I don’t have a can opener, I cannot open cans. Therefore, this item brings me joy. If I don’t have diapers, the baby poop will be everywhere. Therefore, diapers bring me joy.”

When re-reading the line recently about saying “it’s not important to me” I found myself with similar misgivings that I had when I read Marie Kondo. We are not an overly-scheduled family. My kids (ages 8 and 6) do swimming lessons for part of the year because swimming is a necessary life skill, and for six weeks in the winter they participated in a one-hour afterschool art class, but that’s it. No soccer practice, no music lessons. We have done activities through the park district and taekwondo classes in the past, but found that the kids much preferred to just be at home. And that is completely fine — we enrich their lives in other ways, like trips to the museum, or playdates with friends. Just not recurring commitments.

So then I look at the waking hours of the day and still wonder how I can fit it all in. Laundry is important, so that we have clean…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •