For the next 5 days I’ll be hanging out with Michael, Missy, Ryan, Katie, Nathan, Elizabeth and so many other amazing athletes as they vie for a spot on the U.S. national swim team. Those who make it will be competing in the Pan Pacific Games and then Worlds next year.

And there are some of you who are thinking I have no business going now. I’m in the middle of shooting a video training series, I have private consulting clients who are counting on me, and I need to prep for a major speaking gig coming up. You may be thinking I don’t have time to go off and have fun.

But…this is a priority to me and I’m going.

Why do we complain about not having enough time (especially in the nonprofit sector)?

Time represents priorities. Nothing more or less. It’s usually that simple. We always have choices. And now some of you are thinking that how you spend your time isn’t up to you. Really? If you work somewhere that keeps you from having much discretionary time, you can work somewhere else. If your job is so demanding that competing priorities keep you from ever accomplishing the important stuff, then change the way you work; bring in a coach that can guide you. Make a choice.

How can you feel less time pressure?

1. It starts with your mindset. The difference between people who can get the job done, hang out with those people who matter, have plenty of time for fun – and those people who complain about not having enough time – is their perspective. When you place high enough value on something, you will find the time to get it done. Once you believe it’s possible, the road to relief begins. You are not a victim. Think about these Olympic swimmers and the choices they made in regard to their vision – they did not allow time pressure to be an excuse, even when juggling very complicated schedules.

2. Identify your priorities so you can focus your energy effectively. They will be different for everyone. Focus on the action which will give you the greatest return on your priorities. Be careful to limit yourself though, because too many priorities could become distractions. Take a step back and look at the big picture. If taking two vacations a year, working no more than 40 hours, and maintaining a healthy diet are important to you, then take time to shop at the right stores, schedule your time off well in advance and tell everyone your plans, and determine how you can be most efficient during the week.

3. Remove the obstacles in your path. Are there people issues? Technical snafus? A broken down communication system? Look for the real problem behind the issues. You may be required to change something, stop doing something, or have a difficult conversation. But are you committed to your plan? Your new normal may be uncomfortable at first. Just focus forward and if you need to, go back and read #1.

4. Remain fiercely determined. I think this is the trickiest part. Sometimes we allow others to derail our best intentions. Think about who you know who seems to be remarkably happy, and with little stress. What are they doing to stay on track? How are they finding time to do what they find most important? Make your choices and stand by them. Find your “zone” and let others know you’re making some changes and need their support. Maybe you can find a buddy striving to find more time in their week also, and you can be accountability partners for each other.

Bottom line – no one has any more time in their day than you do. So step up and choose to invest time in the right places. You deserve to have less chaos and more fun in your life.

Thanks for being patient over the next few days while I’m less accessible than usual. I’ll be hanging out with Michael. I hope he sees me. Watch for the occasional tweet or Facebook post!