Do you catch yourself wishing you had more time?
Does your life feel like a never-ending hamster wheel of tasks?
If so, you're not alone.
We live in the most overworked and stressed society in the world, at least according to statistics.
Despite the rising pressures, we wear our busyness like a badge of honor and keep telling ourselves that multitasking is the new fad. But if you're tired of constantly running out of hours in a day while your self-care goes down the drain and productivity declines, it's time to change something.
Here are a few things you can start applying today:
1. Take care of the time thieves.
Time is the most valuable thing in this world, but we let it get stolen right from under our nose. How? Let's look at some of the activities that might snatch it away without us even noticing.
We spend about 3.5 hours on the phone on average, out of which about 2.5 (depending on our age) go toward social media. (RescueTime, BLS, DIW) Then we dedicate about 3 hours a day watching TV and 1 hour playing games. That's a total of 7.5 hours. Wow, a second full-time job!
While I'm not suggesting we turn off the screens completely, we can certainly cut down on mindless scrolling, streaming, and collecting useless information or at least take a break once in a while. And if you're in denial of this world-wide addiction, try deleting social media apps on your phone for a few days. (Are you having withdrawal symptoms just thinking about it? :))
But maybe you'd say that these statistics don't apply to you. Here are a few more examples of things that might steal our time (you might need to monitor your schedule for a few days to discover your own):
Unexpected/unplanned requests that seem urgent but thwart all your original plans.
Poor set up/prep of workspace or task itself - lots of time is spent looking for things, readjusting, adding, moving around, etc. Take advantage of the innovative approaches that will help you create a more productive work environment - read about the AnthroDesk.com (more info below).
Not putting activities in the right order - see what can be re-arranged in your schedule to cut down on commute, combine tasks, avoid having to re-focus and switch gears.
2. Schedule time for yourself.
Usually, a busy life means your physical, mental, and spiritual needs get neglected. Do you run yourself ragged by cutting down on sleep, skipping meals, gym or both? Then your ability to think, to take care of others, and to work efficiently will eventually decline too. So, by keeping your health a priority, you're doing everyone else a favor.
What is it that your body, your mind, or your soul needs right now?
What have you been neglecting?
Make it a daily priority.
3. Focus on one thing at a time.
In case you didn't read the latest studies, multitasking is actually not something most humans can do. In fact, only 2% can accomplish it effectively. (PRDaily)
We don't do well when trying to perform multiple things at the same time. Our brain has to constantly switch back and forth. Our ability to think declines. Our results suffer. That's why you can't drive the car and text.
People actually spend at least 2 hours a day just recovering from distraction. (BLS)
So, what's the answer?
You will accomplish more in less time. If you haven't read the book The One Thing by Gary Keller, I highly recommend it, but here are a few things to try:
Focus on each task separately and eliminate everything else that might pull your attention away.
Turn off your phone, your internet (if not needed), step away from the house or office into neutral territory.
Start with the most important task on your agenda, do it first.
After you complete what needs to be done or spend at last 20 minutes on it, move on to the next item on your list.
4. Learn to say "no" to time drainers.
Did you know that if you put more water into a cup with a hole in it, the water will just keep draining out no matter how hard you'll try to keep it full? Same thing with our lives when there are things or people that constantly drain our time.
Do you frequently agree to take on extra responsibilities at work that others should be doing?
Do you make commitments in your schedule that don't align with what you want or need just because you don't want someone to get upset?
Do you have people in your life that are always needy and take more of your time that you're able to willing to give pulling you away from your own responsibilities?
Identify these things and learn to say "no."
5. Spend time with the people you love.
While you need to stay away from people who just want to dump their responsibilities or problems on your willing shoulders, you should be making an effort to create time for your loved ones.
Sadly, we spend on average just under 40 minutes a day of quality time as a family or with friends (so much less than we socialize with others online!). (Dovico) Just remember that the missed opportunities to spend meaningful moments with people you care about could never be recovered. Kids grow up, friends move away, and nobody lives forever. Let's not miss out on making real, lasting connections with others. Because at the end of the day, this is the only thing that's truly worth our time.
6. Make time to think, plan, and re-evaluate.
In our society that encourages people to constantly move, bustle, hustle, be on the go, how would you even notice if you're running in the wrong direction without stopping to take a breath and think? You might just be beating the air or running in circles. That's why it's important to take time each day or at least once a week to evaluate what you're doing, re-group, and then move forward again.
I would also encourage you to take one day a month to rest and think about your future plans. How can you rearrange your schedule to make things work better? What can you delegate? What are you missing? Are you taking care of yourself and other important things like family? Otherwise, you might get so far that it will be hard to return and start over.
7. Put your dream on the schedule.
"I will do it when I have more time."
How many times have you said this to yourself? Was it by chance something you wanted to do for a long time? A dream you've been putting off for years? Well, let me tell you, it ain't gonna happen unless you schedule it.
Which direction do you want your life to go?
Where do you want to be years from now?
Unless you start making at least small steps in that direction, you won't get any closer.
There is no better time than now.
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