Without resorting to less sleep, fast food or outsourcing, here are two new ideas on how to get extra time in your day.
First Way: Pay attention to what you’re doing
Nothing creates a sense of rush like bouncing from place to place, telling yourself how busy you are. You can do the same things as you normally would, minus feeling rushed, by changing your mindset. Here’s how:
First, stop (don’t worry, just temporarily).
Take a deep breath in and pause. Notice how it’s okay to do this.
Tell yourself ‘I choose to be calm.’
Then go do the same things as before. Resist the temptation to continually run your to-do list through your mind. Instead, just do what you’re doing, and repeat the phrase ‘I choose to be calm’. Yes, there is a lot to do, but no, you’re not going to let that fact translate into feeling rushed.
Paying attention to what’s happening right now, at the expense of thoughts which weren’t helpful anyway, will help you notice what’s important, and remember that later. Translation: you’ll do things right the first time, saving time in the long run.
Second Way: Do what’s important at the expense of what’s urgent
Our brain tends to notice what screams the loudest: new email – better read it. Pile of dishes in the kitchen – better wash them. Today’s newspaper in the lunchroom – what are the headlines? Nothing wrong with that: if you’ve got lots of spare time.
But if you end up constantly doing small things which don’t add value to your life, , there’s a lot wrong with that. Because what really matters to you, what’s important, will get drowned out by the more ‘urgent’. Too often, you’ll run out of time to do what really matters to you.
For example, if you value your relationships, then you don’t need to read that email right now. Not if you’re spending time with someone you care about. One of the most cited productivity hacks is to not check your phone first thing in the morning. As soon as you unlock your phone, you get hooked into other people’s priorities.
Instead, think about what matters most to you in your life, and do that first thing each morning. Before anything else can take that time from you. This increases your feelings of satisfaction because you’ve prioritised what matters. You may even find you’re more patient and generous with others, because you’ve taken care of yourself and your needs already. But the most important reason to do it, is that you will feel like you have enough time.
After all, if you have time for a coffee with yourself, or time to go for a run, or to draw something, how busy can you be? You trick yourself into feeling like you have the luxury of more time. You still have the same stuff to do, but you’ll feel better, because you’re no longer missing out on what you’re really craving – those experiences that make life worth living, that you do all the other stuff for to get to.
Try listing out what matters most to you in life (what you value). Find ways to act on those things each day (little ways are fine, not doing it every day is fine). Get these things done first, and then fit in work. Then your chores and obligations. Because having ‘enough time’ often means having enough time to care for yourself. It’s the first thing to go when you’re feeling busy, but leaving it out of your life is the single biggest thing that’ll make you feel pressured, rushed, stressed and out of time.