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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai


“You can do anything but not everything.”

Four out of five adults report feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Can you relate? Remember those New Year resolutions? Half the year is already gone! Where did the time go? Maybe you wanted to get things done but have not gotten around to it yet. And now you are feeling that tight squeeze in your stomach. You blame it on all those tasks and projects you initiated or were assigned and accepted. You ‘had’ to respond to all those endless messages and emails. And so many unexpected obstacles were thrown in your path across your life, business, and career. Even if you work with focus and no distractions (that is a huge “if ”), there is still not enough time in the day, week, month, or year to get it all done. When you are focused on what matters, you are stressed thinking about what you are not doing or have not done.

When working, you are guilty more time is not spent with family and friends. And when with family and friends, you feel guilty you are not working. When you spend time on self-care, you feel guilty you are not spending time at work or with family. There never seems to be enough time in the day for everything you need or want to do. But guess what? The amount of time everyone has in a day is fixed – 24 hours! It is your expectation and how much you allow your manager, society, parents, etc. to set the expectation of what must be done within the allotted time. It is your agreement made with time that determines your levels of stress. Most times the agreements made are impossible to fulfill within the limited about of time available. Rather than maintaining flawed agreements, understand and appreciate the time you have and place appropriate actions on what matters.

Time pressure does not only come down to a perceived lack of time. It also is the feeling that we do not have enough time to do what we want to do. The squeeze of time has to do with the things we value and the time we devote to them. Research suggests it also relates to our attitudes and mindsets about time. Rather than always blaming the clock, find the roots of the time crunch. Here are some insights on why you may be feeling the pressure of not having enough time:

Enjoyment and passion: When a day is packed with engaging activities, it feels less busy and stressful than a day of drudgery. If you feel short on time, it could be you are not enjoying the activities that fill up your schedule. If you find yourself feeling that way most of the time, it might help to add something that keeps you engaged.

Research has found that people who are more passionate, who aspire to do things that matter to them are not as rushed and hurried as others. Inner conflict: When not engaged and not enjoying their work, employees say their goals are always competing for their time and attention (work versus family). Employees who are engaged at work and enjoy their job saw their goals supporting each other. They balanced work with a healthy personal life giving them more energy and focus on work. There are also societal norms that drive inner conflict. You live up to one set of norms that go against another. For example, you work outside the home to help financially support your family that decreases time spent supporting family. Understand your inner conflicts and determine which activities causing the most conflict can be eliminated.

Sense of Control: Often when conflicted, it is because of an external obligation. Being at the mercy of these external forces, makes it more difficult to be resilient. This is when you can work to be more structured in managing your time. Learn to say no to things that do not matter to get your time back. Something is wrong if you consistently feel like you do not have enough time and cannot avoid it. Reflect on the below, determine what resonates, and note the changes you can make to ensure you control time and that time does not control you:

1. Rise early and act: Numerous studies correlates waking up early leads to more success.

2. Stop multitasking: Research at Stanford University found you are less productive and waste time between tasks.

3. Track and budget your time: Do not wonder where your time has gone. Know where it has gone.

4. Get organized: Do not waste time looking for misplaced items or what to do next.

5. Prioritize: Be efficient with your time. Do what is important and what matters to you instead of what is always urgent. Ask if you really need to do the task now and if so, do it.

6. Have daily routines and avoid distractions: Unplug and concentrate on the task at hand. Say no to interruptions. I no longer answer my phone or emails when focused on a block of allocated time. Follow your routine no matter what.

7. Slow down: Focus on functioning smoothly versus how fast you can complete the task. Your goal should be to finish the race bringing others along versus crossing the finish line first.

8. Review, review, review: Change is constant and may change your priorities. Review to determine how change impacts your schedule, plans, and habits and how you should realign.

9. Keep your negative attitudes in check: Be careful not to continually say you do not have time because you will then never have time. Make the time for what is important. Have an honest reflection about how you spend your time that can enable you to

find more room to breathe.

“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us.” Gandalf

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