Life Is Short and Quickly Slips Away. Become Aware of the Factors Stealing Bits of Your Time Every Day.
As Aluxers we’ve got places to be and people to see, and no time to waste in the process. But according to Einstein, time is an illusion. So why does time play such a big role in our happiness. If time is finite, but whether we have too much or too little of it is just a perception, then what are we doing wrong that makes it feel like we don’t have enough time?
We’re going to look into some of the reasons, actions and psychological patterns that have been robbing you of your precious time.
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With that plugged in, let’s get started with reason #1.
We Aren’t in Control Of
Those of us who are lucky enough to control our daily schedules and set our own deadlines will be able to have an “active” approach to time passing us by. But for the majority, we experience life and scheduling and time passing reactively.
What we mean is that it’s the feeling of struggling to get up to your alarm, then carrel the kids through breakfast into the car before hitting a traffic jam and ending up late for a meeting at work and the rest of the day is spent playing catch up until you fall into bed again.
This feeling of not having control over your time and schedule is what causes the feeling of not having enough time. If you stopped and were able to cancel one appointment and give yourself a breather you would be able to gain control and the clock would slow down.
When every minute is accounted for, it causes a knock-on effect when one thing makes us run late and we feel a time conflict, and then we lose control.
Our Expectations Are Off
Have you ever started a project thinking it would take a Saturday but instead it took all weekend and it still wasn’t done? So, is this a case of not having enough weekend or having too much project?
We are terrible at estimating how long things should take, our expectations are unreasonable, and this causes it to feel like there isn’t enough time. The truth is that we want to get too much done in a day often. There are 24 hours in a day after all, although even that is not strictly true, stick around to the end to see why.
When you become realistic in your expectations of yourself and how long things take you, you will allow enough time for things and be less likely to cram so much in that you are rushed or don’t finish. This might mean letting go of other peoples flawed ideas of what you should get done in a day. Rather appreciate what time you do have, and what you were able to do.
You Waste Time Searching
One way to waste a ton of time is to lose things and have to turn over your house or office looking for them. It’s a major waste of time, and could have been easily resolved.
Just having a place you leave your handbag, jacket or keys could add 15minutes to your day. Or a year over your lifetime. That’s a wild thought.
If you want more ideas on some common things wasting your time, take a few minutes to read our article on 15 Biggest Time Wasters in Life.
Social Media Robs You of Time
The infinite scroll could be costing you hours of your day. And although we all like to think we are well controlled and not spending “that much time on the ‘gram.” On average it equates to 2 hours a day according to studies. Imagine if you had 2 hours a day to do whatever you want? Would you trade it for the joy that scrolling brings you? If the answer is yes then you have 2hours of extra time coming your way each day.
We Are Overly Optimistic
Ever heard yourself use the words “pop to the shops” or “make a quick?” These little additions to our days can be putting more pressure on your time than you give them credit for.
We are overly optimistic about how long things really take. After you’ve waited to go in the boom, parked, walked in, got side tracked at the specials table, grabbed what you needed and queued it wasn’t really a 10minute trip was it, more like 30minutes and now you’re late again.
We’re not saying don’t add unexpected errands to your day, but be realistic and recognise that it will put you under pressure. Then you’re less likely to get stressed out when you suddenly look at the time.
You Don’t Prioritise
Not all activities are equal, and unless you write down your schedule once in a while you will have no idea where you time has gone. When you plan and write stuff into a calendar and schedule you will give yourself a minute to realise if something is actually important and worth doing.
When you plan on the fly you actually fail to plan. As you go you agree to things, say yes to stuff you don’t care about and before you know it another year has passed and you haven’t done the trip you wanted, started eating better or updated your resume.
Stop for a few minutes a week or each day and check that what you are doing is what you should or want to be doing. If not, take a minute to shuffle things about and send some apologies and move on with your life.
Being organised takes time to save you time long term. Sure you have to pack your lunch the night before or get your gym bag in order, but it saves frantic minutes in the morning or a trip back home at lunch time to pack your gym bag or go out to buy a sandwich.
If you’re constantly having to double back and detour because you didn’t spend a few extra minutes planning, then your shortcuts are costing you and nothing’s going to change until you get organised.
You Don’t Plan
We mentioned it before, but without planning you’re going to be living reactively rather than in control. Don’t wait until your car conks out and you are without wheels for two weeks. Rather stay on top of basic maintenance.
Planning also means you do things when it suits you, and you can do it efficiently instead of plugging holes when you have no time. You can group together things on the same side of town, and spend less time on things when you don’t have to multitask. Which bring us to the next reason you never have enough time.
Multi-Tasking Is a Myth
You might think you are king of multi-tasking, but it’s more like you are a slave to it. When you multi task each individual task takes a lot longer. Even though you feel like you’re achieving a lot you are actually doing everything half-heartedly and make more mistakes.
Rather block out time per section work, family, and relaxation. And then per item. Make all your calls in one go, then answer your emails, then complete a project. When you do things like this your mind also isn’t split, you are reaching your maximum potential and don’t have a worrying mind.
All day long, every day of our lives, we have many things vying for our attention and energy. Something’s however only drain energy, while others energise us. Having a schedule full of activities that only drain us, make days feel like they blend into each other in a blur with no highlights.
Feeling like you have time is also intrinsically linked to our energy levels. If you’re tired or uninspired, you won’t feel like any amount of time is long enough to finish a task. Also, if all you do is live up to societal expectations or norms and make choices based on other people’s needs alone, then you need to make some choices and consider letting some things go.
You need to have a good mix, with some highlights that help you come up for air and at least have some memories and points of reference in a week, a month or a year.
Be sure to mix the bitter with the sweet because all work and no play makes Jack a dull…life!
Time Pressure Can Be Imagined
The Time V Money battle makes time seem even less in supply. Either you work all yours hours and still don’t have enough money, or you have enough money but no time to spend it. Tim Kasser, a Professor of Psychology, explains the quandary of time like this: “In a society like ours, the go-to answer [for happiness] is make more money, buy more stuff. Well, no; what people actually need is more time.”
You would think that a single mom working 3 jobs with no child-care help feels the most time pressure. But because time pressure is perceived it doesn’t work like that.
The truth is when people acquire more wealth they feel even more time pressure. So many expensive hobbies and travel options to do, so little time. What’s crazy is that it’s not the actual reality of time pressure that makes us feel short on time, it’s just a perception that we value using our time differently or that we should be using our time differently.
Hopefully next time you’re spinning with no time you can take a breath and remember this.
You’re Lying to Yourself
One of the reasons we don’t have enough time is we waste it, and then we’re not honest about it.
Ever spent the weekend binging Netflix and then hear yourself joining in on a conversation about how you never get a weekend free to finish building the shelves you started 3 years ago. When we get stuck in these cycles of perceiving we don’t have enough time instead of looking very honestly at what activities we spend time doing, then we’re going to always feel slave to time.
Rather embrace what you are doing. If you want to spend the weekend watching series then do it. But don’t let yourself get suckered into believing you don’t have time to finish the shelf.
If you can’t remember that, then here it is summed up by Gary Vaynerchuk, a successful business man and speaker, “Everybody has time. Stop watching f*cking Lost.”
Maybe Lost is an old reference, but you get the picture.
You’re Not Busy, You’re Just Tired
There are 24 hours in a day, and part of that needs to be dedicated to the R word. This has become almost an off limits word in the modern world. But Rest is what makes everything sustainable. When we are run ragged, then just adding one more item to our To Do list can upset the whole apple cart and make us go from handling this to a nervous wreck without anytime for ANYTHING.
Punctuate every 24hours cycle with solid rest and you will handle your waking hours better.
We Don’t Ask for Help or Read the Manual
It’s wild to think that out there exists an instruction manual or instruction for every single task and piece of equipment you ever wanted to use. Except we opt to struggle our way through where the screws go and which ways the back, instead of taking 10mins to follow the instructions. And then ending up back at the hardware or furniture store asking for advice or a replacement.
Think of instructions as “life hacks” if you will, except they are written by experts not college boys. Save yourself times and ask for help or read the manual.
You’re Living Without Pleasure
We touched on it before, but one of the biggest illusions that time is passing you by is that everything just fades into a blur of work. Sleep. Repeat.
If you’re not enjoying what you do, then you will feel that life is passing you by. Living is also about passion, enjoyment and fulfilment. Because work takes up such a big part of our life this is one element that needs to elicit pleasure. If you can’t, you need to include happy moments in other ways. Schedule in time with friends, exercise or cooking if that’s what brings you joy.
Having things you can look forward will stop procrastination and help give you a highlight to look forward to and you will keep track of time that passed and how you spent it.
Confession time: Which point on this list are you most guilty of?