Do you have too much to do and too little time to do it? Do you have tons of unread emails in your inbox? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. In today’s hectic, connected world it seems like we should be busy 24/7 just to keep up with the basics. What we do never seems to be enough and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do things well.
Time Pressure and a “Scarcity” Mindset
Too many demands on your time can lead to a “scarcity mindset” in which you are so busy running around taking care of the problem right in front of you that you neglect to take actions or make decisions that will help you in the long run. Feeling deprived of time or energy makes you eat fast foods instead of cooking healthy meals, forget to pay bills on time, not return important emails or phone calls, or allow your house or apartment to disintegrate into chaos. A scarcity mindset may lead you to you neglect the people you care about and your own health and well-being.
Take Control of Your Time
So what can you do instead? The key is to take control of your time, rather than letting time control you. One study found that people who were under time pressure and felt they had control over their time reported greater life satisfaction, felt less overloaded, and had less tension than those who were equally busy, but felt they had little or no control over their time. Even if you can’t control how much free time you have because of a demanding job and/or taking care of kids, you can start to be more intentional about how you manage the time you have.
Below are five things you can do to take control of your time:
1. Set priorities
Take a step back and think about your larger life goals. Decide what goals are most important to you. Is it to build and maintain relationships, be a good parent, advance at your work, contribute to your family or neighborhood, make lots of money, or take care of your health and live a balanced life? Once you’re clear about your priorities and goals, you can use this as a basis for planning your time and commitments.