How much time do you have? Ok this is a bit of trick question because most people will say not much. Either they are rushing to get projects done or they are when the pandemic isn’t shutting the world down, shuttling kids off to do one of ten different activities. Before everybody was locked away in their homes for their own safety, Many people were stating that they didn’t have enough time in the day to do anything that was of quality time.
There is a unique phenomenon happening these days where people are actually feeling happier and more relaxed, even though the stress of the uncertainty of today’s events were being hammered in our heads that we should run and hide.
So why are some people able to become happier and others are still not able to find enough time in the day to do the projects they really want to get done while they may be locked away in the house? Well if you are like me all the crap that’s going on doesn’t affect me. I still got up and hopped in my truck and took to other towns to deliver building materials. So My time off is limited anyhow. I am able to get home on the weekends. Do I feel as if I have enough time to get everything done? Nope, but I am ok with that.
I know what has to be done and what needs to be done. So I get what I want to get done. Can I get everything done? Shoot no! Neither can you Yet that is the problem isn’t it? You cant get everything that you feel needs to be done.
We spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to try to find the best way to manage our time. That way we can get the most stuff done in a day. Now many of these programs like Getting Things Done and The One Thing are good they can work. Yet they are so complicated that most of the time we incorporate some of it and then get frustrated that it isn’t working right.
It is interesting that we all have the same amount of time on a set day. We all have 1440 minutes in a day or 168 hours in a week. That goes for you and all the successful people who started where you are.
So can you actually get more stuff done in a day? Well yes and no. So let’s dive into this problem.
Why are we so pressed for time?
This is sort of a question for the ages. Yet the answer is actually simple and can be transformative. You honestly don’t need fancy methods to have enough time. Though we like to think that if they are complicated they must work.
So what is the secret to why we are so pressed for time? The answer is because of our priorities. We actually have all the time for everything we truly want to do. Yet the reasons we are pressed for time is because we don’t want to own up to the responsibility that we make our own time crunch. We want to blame traffic or the kids or that we had to get something else done first before we could do what we want to do.
We also find reasons to put off the stuff we don’t want to do. That is the reason for procrastination. We often tell our sons that we don’t have time to throw the baseball around when in reality we don’t want to throw the ball. We may know and understand that we should be out in the front yard tossing a baseball or football back and forth. That is the quality time we are all talking about. Yet it doesn’t happen because we don’t want to.
Now we don’t say that to our kids and nor should we. Yet you can tell them you want to get this task finished first then you will go throw the ball. If you do say that then when you are finished go out and keep your promise that is very important. Make that a priority.
Now I an hearing ya say spending quality time with my son is my top priority. That is a story you are telling yourself. You do your actual priorities in order of what you want to do. So even though you say your priority is that you want to spend quality time with junior. However if your Saturday is you are work on the house, Then Change the oil in the car, followed by Mowing the lawn, and Trimming the hedges, Finally, you go do something with your son at 5:30. You actually have all those other tasks set at a higher priority than little Billy.
Why don’t we have enough time?
Now most of that answer is given in the prior section because in reality we do have enough time. Yet we don’t feel as if there is enough time in the day. Why do we not have enough time? And there are several reasons why we don’t have enough time. Let’s look at those
The biggest reason we don’t have enough time is we allow others to layout our time for us. Now before you start saying I have to work to pay the bills. I know, I get ya, you have certain obligations you have to tend to. Yet when you are not at work how many times are you faced with Hey can you help me with this? Or Can I borrow you for a minute? Hey I need some people to work on Saturday and you volunteer.
There is a reason that God rested on the 7th day. Even the good Lord gets tired. Yet we measure our abilities by how much we are able to get done. There are other people’s fires that they would like for you to assist in putting out. If you don’t set a boundary and decide that you need that day of rest, no one else is going to decide it for you.
We all need some margin in our lives. The way you get that margin is to decide what those boundaries are and you have to be willing to tell people, “no”. I have other things I need to do. That is pretty much what the whole mental health day is. You just take a break for the stresses of the routine.
Yeah there are people who won’t like to hear no. Those folks are the people who are used to you saying yes. They will get over it and as if you hold your boundaries they will come to accept that you will not work on said say, after quitting time. The key is your choice. You have to own your time and take responsibility for your life and what fills it up.
Are you going to have to work? Well yeah that is a given. Are you going to have to work on Saturdays? On very rare occasions you may have to or you may not again that is your choice. If you are wanting to slow down and smell the roses you are the only one who can apply the brakes and stop.
We don’t slow down to smell the roses
Life throws so much our way. Yeah we want to slow down yet as you probably have seen more than once that life will carry you downriver in its swift currents if you aren’t diligent slowing down.
I said while the kids were small that I wanted to go take them to a campsite I use to go to. I wanted to show them the fun of tubing down the Guadalupe River. I thought I had the time and then suddenly my youngest was graduating from high school and we never took that trip.
I let the river of life just carry me. I was drifting you do that you will wind up at a location just more than likely not the location you were wanting.
To if you want time with your son you have to make that time. You will have to cut the lawn mowing out of the schedule once in a while. There may be tasks that start to pile up. But you can make the time needed to spend time with your son once a month at least.
We don’t enjoy the activities we are doing
There are so many activities that choke our time. The worst offenders are those tasks that you simply hate doing. Now I am not meaning the dishes, or making your bed. I am meaning things like the lawn. Or Tasks at work that are really not suited to your skillset.
The longest days I had were when I was working on the truck I drove. Being a mechanic was at my level of incompetency. I know how to turn a wrench but I have no interest in working on engines or changing out airbags or anything with the truck. I drive it and I did way too much of that. There are minor things I could do like changing a mudflap if needed. I didn’t really mind that. It was a simple 4 bolts and away I went. IF I had to fix a sand hose again I could quickly bust off the old bands cut the hose at the damaged area and reattach the fitting and I was done. Maybe 15 minutes at the most.
Yet if I had to change the oil in the truck that was an all-day affair. Why? Cause above all I hated working on my truck. So because of that Everything in the universe would be keeping me from doing it. Being under the truck would cause me to find something else wrong with the truck and by the time the truck was good the day was gone.
When we do tasks that we don’t like they stretch out and take up even more time. Now you can change how you look at the task and with that change you change your attitude. That does help. Then again, you can also have someone else do that job you hate that is in their wheelhouse. Pay someone to mow the lawn. You can find solutions to the different timesucks that are affecting you.
To reiterate. Either change your attitude about the task at hand and make it positive or find someone else to do it for you. If you don’t it will take 3 times longer than it really should.
We let other people control our time
We are the masters of our time. Yet for some reason we give other people the controls of our time. If you want to be able to have more time, you have to control your time. If you are wanting to be at someplace and only spend 2 hours. Then set a silent reminder when it is time to leave. If the people you are visiting or co-worker is asking, “why you are leaving?” You can simply say something to the tune of I have some other things to do. You don’t have to give any more detail than that.
This goes with the boundaries. You are taking responsibility for your time. You are the guardian of who gets to choose where your time is spent. It is up to you and you alone.
We try to multitask
When it comes to multitasking. We as humans simply can’t do it. When you are in the flow of a project and you suddenly switch to another task it takes you up to 30 minutes for your brain to engage in the task then if you switch back to the first project it will again take your brain another 30 minutes to get back into that gear.
You are better suited to just plowing through that project and then when you are at a stopping spot then switch. It is even better if you can work on a project until lit is done then let your full mind do a full switch to the new project.
This is a case where you want to slow down to go faster. If you will take the time to get each project done you actually will get both projects done faster.
Most of the time we start the day off by just rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. This is actually the worst way to save time. It is better if you take the time while you are you winding down from your day or as you are waking up making a todo list. List out all the items you want to get done and then choose the three you absolutely want to get done.
Once you have chosen what you want to work on. Set a time limit for each of those projects. Say one project is a 4-hour project another is a 1.5-hour project and the last is a 3-hour project. Then stick to those times.
You are practicing Parkingsons Law when you do this. What is Parkinson’s law?
work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
This is why we are able to get so much done right before we go on vacation. We are committed to getting all those loose ends tied up before we take off to Jamaica. So schedule your todo ist.
Brooke Castillo calls this a To-do Download. Here is how you do a todo Download
- Write down all the tasks you know need to be done
- Find all the tasks you don’t want to do and mark them off.
- Now number them from the top priority to the lowest.
- Open up your Calendar app and schedule each of those tasks.
- Block our every project and how much time it will take for you to complete them.
- Then stick to the plan.
Now decide what is your priority then hold yourself to that. You will slide from time to time. Those old habits are hard to kill. Especially if you are a people pleaser. You hate telling people no. Yet for your dignity and integrity, you really need to start making boundaries on when you are willing to do something and when you are with your family and alone time.
Once you have mastered your time you will be able to start spending that more time with your son. Now you may have to make some very drastic changes to your life. If you are in a job that doesn’t allow you to have some flexibility then you have to decide what is more important. The work or your free time. You should want to loaf around from time to time. It does you good and keeps you from burning out.