We’ve all been there. We’ve all said ‘if only a had more time’. We’ve all wished there were more hours in the day.
It’s a reality in most of our lives, we are overwhelmed with tasks that need to be done in a day. Most work days are a struggle to get all the prep work done in the morning, work through the to-do list, and then manage the evening.
I know I’ve given up a lot of activities because I feel limited by time.
The problem is the way we look at time. We look at time as a clock counting down on all the small checklist items we want to complete from day-to-day. Most days we get a third of the items on the list done. Maybe we get a few more things done or half done.
As we finish things though new additions are made. It’s a never ending struggling. the only other thing that can happen from day-to-day is we don’t meet the desired results and we get disappointed – eventually falling further behind.
We need more time. But with more time we become less productive. Most of us feel like without a deadline we have plenty of time, until we don’t get things done. Then we feel behind, we get stressed, and we get less done.
So, are there ways to feel like we have more time?
1. Choose activities wisely
There a few ideas that come to mind here. 1) Choose activities that not only you want to do but can do. 2) Choose activities that are convenient. 3) Choose activities you can group together.
What does all this mean?
We all have things that perhaps we’d like to do if only we could. But sometimes we have to make a choice; we need to be honest with ourselves. The choice has to fit our life and lifestyle. With so many reality shows now and so many social media sites we are inundated with potential things to do. Unfortunately, not everything should be things we should consider.
I’ve always thought working with animals would be fun and something I would enjoy. Although, the best choice for me is to have a pet. I don’t have time in my reality to do pet care. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality.
Next, make sure the activity is close to where you are. Even something as general as going to the gym, needs to be close to work/home, on the way home from work, or close to another activity. If the destination of the activity isn’t convenient you will be derailed by the annoyance of out-of-the-way places.
Finally, try to group activities in a smart way. This could be as simple as running errands all at the same time and considering making a circle of the shopping. When you do things one after the other, less time is wasted.
2. Get organized
Again there are a few ideas that come to mind here. 1) Use a notebook, your phone, or calendar to write down all the things you want to do and/or need to do. 2) If at home activities, set up spaces for the activities and make sure you have everything you need. 3) If on the road, get the stuff you need in bags, again buy all materials you need.
Too often we jump into new activities without thinking about the impact they will have on our lives or make sure we have everything we need to actually get the most out of the activity.
There is no reason we can’t be accomplished and do many things (or just a few) but organizing our day and our lives will make sure that we are maximizing the time we have in the day.
That being said – don’t forget to take time for you too, which you’ll have because everything is where it needs to be.. Time for you is rest time, relaxing in whatever way is your downtime activity.
3. Plan ahead
This feels like it follows the previous two suggestions. Thinking about what you want to do and planning your week or month will help you know what and where you are going. If you like to use a calendar use it. If you prefer the phone feature use it. Put the items in, setting aside the time in your calendar including extra time for travel will ensure you don’t overbook.
Remember the suggestion about running errands in bulk? Plan on a circle of errands. By planning you can avoid running around. Suddenly, you’ll have more time.
4. Enlist help
Don’t be afraid to get help. If you have children, don’t be afraid to have them help you with chore or have them join you for the activities. Two great ways to have more time – spreading out the tasks and multitasking. Asking people to do a few things on your list will free up more time for you. Asking people to help you also gives you time to spend with them.
Too often we listen to the saying, ‘if you want things done right, do it yourself. Yes, the first few times you might have to teach, help, encourage, remind, etc. But in a few sessions your help will know exactly what you want and how to meet your expectations.
Help can also come from experts. When you’re trying to do things whether they are new or old, experts can help you speed things up by giving you suggestions that might help you avoid pitfalls. Spending time figuring things out for yourself and surmounting obstacles can waste time. People who have done what you want to do can give you advice.
5. Be proud of accomplishments
One of the hardest things in the process of having more time is removing guilt. Guilt is a time killer.
Sometimes you don’t finish what was on your list, but perhaps you actually accomplished something else worthwhile. Those extra things can be distractions that were more important than the things on the list.
Sometimes you need to spend time with friends, especially if something unexpected comes up. Initial time with friends can be roughly planned into your plans. An option, but totally a personal choice, is to create end times. When at work, meetings are often scheduled with specific start and end times. If you are person whose time often runs away it might be a good initial step to create end times for ‘surprise’ events.
Time is tough. Time is something you can’t get back.
There is no perfect outcome. Time is what you make of it. If you do a lot of things, I often find you get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. You are a multitasker and superworker. Remember as mentioned to take time for you!