If I Only Had More Time...
Updated: May 17, 2022
Why is it that there is never enough time to do all the things you need to get done? Do you ever feel that if only there were a few more hours in a day or week you could get to everything on your ‘To Do’ list?
As a society, we are time-poor. Too many things to do and not enough time to do it all. Finding me-time? That is usually at the bottom of the list. First, you have to take care of your kids, the work that is piling up, the household and so many chores, family obligations, aging parents who need you now more than ever; you are just too busy, rushing from one thing to the next. This makes you feel extremely stressed and leaves you feeling like things are out of control and you cannot catch up.
Your perspective on time can influence your happiness levels. Don’t lose hope; you can do certain things to help you out of a time scarcity rut. The perception of the amount of control over your time is what can help you with your overall physical and psychological health.
Shift your focus from being time-poor to becoming time-rich.
Here are five steps to help you become time-rich:
1. Change Your Mindset – how you think about things influences your feelings and happiness. Instead of thinking there is not enough time in a day to get everything you need done, flip the script and think about how many hours in the day ahead you do have. Think about the thousands of hours of waking time you have in a year. Time is abundant, not scarce. And think about what you want to do with all this time. Think big. Do you want to learn a new language or run a marathon? You can do it. An abundant mindset can give you the energy to tackle your big dreams and goals.
2. Time Audit – take a look at how you are spending your time and track your activities. Be honest with yourself. This will help you create smarter habits around your daily activities. How long are you really spending in meetings? How long are you sitting in traffic to pick up your kids from school? This will help you see if you are spending your time in alignment with your values and goals.
3. Prioritize Your Time – it is so easy to focus on the minutiae and neglect relationships with family or friends. Think about what is important to you and what you care about. Stop doing things that sap your energy and invest your time in what is important to you.Be intentional about how you are filling your days.
4. Time Block – be smart about how you spend your time. Group like tasks and schedule a block of time to work on these tasks. Running errands a few days a week? Do them on the same day. Do you constantly check your emails? A study found that Americans check their email on average 74 times a day! Instead, set a dedicated time two or three times a day to check your email. Schedule your activity blocks into your calendar. Research shows that task-switching (switching attention from one thing to another) interrupts flow and we work harder and are not as efficient at what we are doing.
5. Eliminate Distractions - trying to focus and having distractions interrupt what you are doing wastes time. Visual clutter can be a distraction and increase stress– all the papers on your desk, clutter in your room, or email notifications. Interruptions by people or your phone ringing, and a big time-suck, social media, are distractions. Take a social media break for a few hours so you can focus on what you need to do. Turn off your messaging or email notifications. It can take at least 15-20 minutes to focus and get into a flow state where you are so engaged in an activity and lose track of time. Distractions will prevent you from getting and maintaining a flow state.
If you start implementing these steps, you will have more control over your time and do more things that bring meaning into your life.