Do you feel like you're overwhelmingly busy? Like you always don’t have enough time and your schedule is ever growing? Many people today feel that way and constantly lament about a lack of time. If you are like them and you barely have time to do even simple tasks like cooking a meal or completing your daily to-do list, something is wrong.
Here are ten reasons why some people always feel like they don’t have enough time and what you can do to avoid it.
The modern world we live in runs largely on a 9-to-5 schedule. Waking up early gives you an advantage over people who sleep in. Numerous studies have actually correlated waking up early with success. Analyze the lives of the most successful men and women and you will find that almost every one of them starts their day early. People who don’t rise up early are the ones most likely to complain that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that they want to do.
You might think that you are getting more done and saving time by multitasking, but studies show we're not the brilliant multitaskers we think we are. Research conducted at Stanford University, for example, found that people who multitask are less productive and waste more time when switching between tasks than if they had stuck with one task until they finish. Moreover, multitasking damages the brain and careers. The human brain is simply not capable of focusing on multiple tasks at once.
A litany of productivity experts agree that tracking and budgeting your time is vital to take control of your day. Record ALL your appointments, deadlines and everything in between and analyze the actual time you spend on each activity with what you think is the best amount for each. You will discover just how much time you’re frittering away and get a chance to reevaluate, budget and monitor your time. People who don’t budget and track their time are the ones who wonder where time has gone and can’t understand why they accomplish so little at the end of each workday.
People who are disorganized not only waste time looking for misplaced items, but also lower their productivity and hinder their chances for success. However, if you are organized, you give your productivity a real boost and are able to create time for the things and people that matter in your life. Spend a little time up front planning your day and keep things neat and tidy. This way you will know exactly what items you have and where they are located, which can save you a lot of time, money and stress.
Most people have a prioritization problem. They don’t rank tasks in order of importance or make decisions on what’s most important in their lives, which explains why they always feel like there is not enough hours in a day. Think about your core objectives and all the different things you want to do and then figure out what is important to you. Do not start and plug through every task until you’ve asked this question: “Do I really need to do this now?” If you don’t need to do it now, don’t do it. Tackle high priority tasks first and then turn to the other things. Prioritizing ensures you make the most efficient use of your time.
Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and author of Driven to Distraction, noted that many people today have “culturally generated ADD.” What he means is that we have way more tantalizing, easily accessible, shiny things available to us 24/7 than ever before. It is not surprising, therefore, that many people are easily distracted from their core goals and end up lamenting that they never have enough time.
Lock yourself somewhere quiet when working. “Unplug” from technology and concentrate on the task at hand. That way you will avoid being distracted and sidetracked by the cacophony of voices, text messages, e-mail and social media notifications. If the people around you are the source of distraction, ask them politely to let you finish what you are doing first and then you will attend to them. Don’t be afraid to say “No” to anyone who constantly interrupts you when you are working.
Woody Allen, one of the most prolific film directors who has written and directed fifty films in almost as many years, once said that 80% of success is showing up. In other words, when, how and where you show up are the most important factors for accomplishing more and achieving success. And the key to ensuring you always show up is to establish a daily routine that you follow no matter what, including a healthy sleep routine.
People who don’t have a routine that they follow every day are susceptible to distractions and likely to miss deadlines and tasks that need to be done. Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and HuffPost’s Arianna Huffington, for example, all have a daily ritual. Every night before bed they “unplug” and read a book. Sandberg says her bedtime ritual helps her unwind and allows her sleep better and wake up re-energized the next day.
Oliver Burkeman in his enlightening book, The Antidote, tells of a Formula One pit crew – a group that depends on fast, efficient teamwork – that realized they were not at top speed when they concentrated on speed, rather they were at their best times when they emphasized more on functioning smoothly as a group. The same case applies to time management and productivity. People who are too concerned with working fast or those who act rashly instead of "smoothly" end up not as productive or even as fast as they can be.
Focus more on functioning “smoothly” rather than fast. You will improve your productivity and get more done in good time. Besides, life is a marathon not a sprint. The goal is to finish the race (and help others do the same) not merely to cross the finish line first.
People who don’t review their schedules, plans and habits regularly often end up wasting their time and energy on things that are no longer helpful to their cause. This is especially true when your priorities have changed – as they inevitably will with time – but you keep doing the same things you’ve always done expecting different results. Check with yourself weekly, monthly or even yearly to ensure your schedules and efforts align with your overall goals and objectives. Change or alter your course as necessary so that unnecessary tasks don’t eat up your time and clog your day.
People who are always saying they don’t have time, or are too busy to read, write, workout, travel etc, won’t have time to do those things. However, people who speak positively, stay organized and prioritize are able to do much more. Instead of saying: "I don’t have time to spend with my family because I have a hectic schedule." Rephrase that sentence and say it like this: “I could spend more time with my family but work is a greater priority.” That is essentially what you mean when you give excuses for a lack of time.
Everyone has exactly 24 hours in a day. If others can get work done and still find time for family and friends, so can you. Stop complaining and giving excuses; Start planning and prioritizing your days better.
--- This article originally appeared on Lifehack.org.
See Also: 8 Tips to Make Your Mornings Count.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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