In our busy lives, we tend to struggle with not having enough time to do the things we really want to. If we listen to conversations, it is very common to hear all sorts of reasons why someone is not able to do things they’ve dreamed of doing.
The presupposition here is we know what we want, however it’s common for people to settle for the life they’ve landed on rather being willing to risk creating the life they want.
It is has often been said that the opposite of courage is not weakness but conformity. We tend to compromise doing the things we want because we have commitments and responsibilities.
However, the truth is if we looked at how we spend our time currently, it won’t be difficult to make time to do the things we want to.
We all get the same amount of time each day. How we use our time is what determines what we’re able and willing to do.
How do you use your time? Did you know that every minute of your day is accounted for? Whether you waste time or do something productive with it, all your time is accounted for because of your habits or paradigms.
Here are 10 things we may be doing which, if we’re really honest with ourselves, are wasting our precious time and preventing us from doing things that are meaningful or important to us.
- Watching mindless television programs. Not all TV is good for us. Watching other people on reality shows attempting to make their lives better does not change our lives. Cutting out two hours of television per day will result in close to 60 hours of free time per month. What could you do with 60 hours of time per month?
- Not being organised. We tend to waste a lot of time if we don’t plan our day well. Each time we have redo something or have to look for something before we can do what we need to, costs us valuable time and energy. Getting into the habit of planning each day can create opportunities to schedule things we’ve been pitting off.
- Not having daily rituals. Our rituals are things we do everyday without fail to get us going. These rituals can also help us be more efficient with our time which, over the cause of a day, week or month, adds up to a lot of time being saved. Examples of such rituals may include reading something informative at specific times or leaving home at a certain time in order to avoid extra traffic on the road.
- Lacking clear priorities. Lack of clarity is often a major reason why we get overwhelmed, stressed or frustrated. Compounded with no clear priorities for our day or week, the amount of time we have to focus on things we’d like to do will be significantly reduced.
- Not scheduling time for distractions Similar to not being organised, interruptions and distractions are two of the biggest productivity killers. If we have multiple disruptions throughout our day, it can easily cost us hours of actual productive work. The way around it is to actually make time for the interruptions we know about like checking emails, making phone calls or surfing the internet. A bit of planning can save a lot of time.
- Multitasking throughout the day. Multitasking or task switching means we are constantly switching between activities, which is a very inefficient way to work. The constant stopping and starting habit when working results in us taking longer to complete things, which chews into time we could have been using to do other fruitful activities.
- Wasting time complaining and whining. It is very easy to complain about things that are not to our satisfaction. The problem is it doesn’t resolve anything apart from maybe making us feel better in the moment. Instead of complaining about things not right, it is so much better to focus on solutions and how to make things better.
- Taking on more than you can handle. This is a recipe for stress, disappointment, frustration, and can also lead to a loss of trust with others if we aren’t able to stick to our commitments. The key here is to say no more often and also being willing to negotiate deadlines if we’re already overcommitted.
- Engaging in unproductive or negative conversations. One of my pet hates is to get drawn into conversations that lack purpose or with no outcome in mind. It is so easy to get drawn into conversations with colleagues, workmates or loved ones that simply wastes our time. Having the awareness and confidence to walk away from such conversations can save us so much time and mental energy.
- Not reviewing your day or week. Unless we know what we want and what we are currently doing to get there, we won’t make the necessary adjustments we should. Reviewing our day and week is so beneficial because it gives us the opportunity to look at where things did not go as well as we would have liked and what we could possibly do differently if we’re in a similar situation again. These review can take less than 10 minutes however the cumulative benefit will be more than the time we invest in the review.
Most times, we are the reason why we lack time to do what we want. If we’re able to change our behaviour and place a higher value on our time, we will automatically find time to do things we have been putting off or have not got around to.
If you don’t currently enough time to do what you want and are not willing to apply some of these ideas, then chances are, you will still struggle with not having enough time. All it takes to get started is a commitment to start doing things differently.
Question: What else do you think you do that may be costing you valuable time to do what you want?
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