A lot of people feel like they don’t have enough time. One study found that it was 48% that feel this way.
The interesting thing is that this isn’t really different from about 20 years ago.
Why do we feel this way?
Where does the time go?
There are some new things that secretly take our time these days. But there are some that have been plaguing us for decades.
Here is a little insight into things secretly taking up your time along with a few ways to manage your time better.
1. Cramming Mentality
I remember reading a study back when I was in college that found that college students were cramming too much. When most would sit back and think about the timeframe to study, few would take the opportunity to space out their study time.
So the test would come. They would cram. Some would do well and others wouldn’t.
If you’ve ever met a college student you know that most feel they are busy and don’t have enough time. It is certainly the case for many. But part of the issue is the cramming mentality.
And it doesn’t really go away as we get older and get into the workforce. If anything, it gets worse.
Humans are driven by deadlines. We like to procrastinate. Deadlines help us achieve goals. The issue for most of us is that we don’t spread out our deadlines. We don’t space out our activities.
And it leads to us feeling busy and out of time.
2. Lack of Autonomy
Another thing that makes us feel like we are out of time is a lack of control over our schedules.
Autonomy, or control over our lives, is a feeling central for most humans. We want to be in control of our own destinies.
Sometimes a job can make you feel like you’re out of control. And it can be difficult to leave a job if you depend on the income.
The same could be true with family. Kids take up a lot of time and sometimes it can feel like your life isn’t your own when you’re busy doing everything else for your family.
3. Dopamine Distractions
Today, these seem to mostly come from smartphone apps. Social media. Messaging. Email. Notifications from news apps. All kinds of things.
Each one of them gives our brains a little feel-good hormone called dopamine. We see an image on Instagram. It feels good for an instant. Then we do it again. And again.
Pretty soon 30 minutes has gone by and we realize that we’re behind on work or doing something else that’s a little more productive.
Dopamine distractions are things that have always been part of life. Radio. TV. Even watching nature.
It’s our job to be disciplined in how we let dopamine hits come into our lives because they are more plentiful than ever.
Some feel that anxiety is snowballing in the world today.
We all experience it to some degree. A general understanding of anxiety seems to be that you’re thinking about the future. Maybe there is something coming up at work and you’re a little worried about how it will work out.
Anxiety can be good and bad. It can be good if we use it to help us prepare for something important. But it can be bad when it paralyzes us in the present. When we can’t do anything because our mind and body aren’t working correctly.
A negative attitude works against you getting things done. It also works against your ability to do what you want and to enjoy the moment.
Negativity can creep into your life slowly. Maybe a few things don’t go your way in the morning. The maybe your spouse disagrees with you on something. Then maybe you lose out on a project at work.
All these things can add up and eventually you’re back home thinking that the world is out to get you. When you’re in that mindset you just want to get away from it all and put all the things you’ve been wanting to do on the back burner.
Tip #1. Assess What You Want
These following two tips can help with all the items above. But the big first step is to know what’s going on in your own life and recognize if any of the issues are yours. Then look for ways to work yourself out of them.
From there, assess what you want. What you want in life right now and in the future. Don’t worry about the past so much. There isn’t anything you can do to change it.
I try to ask myself this question. Once in awhile I’ll ask family and friends what they want from their lives. It’s kind of amazing and also kind of sad how many get a confused look on their faces.
They don’t really know what they want. They haven’t thought about it.
But once you thin about it, it’s obvious that if you don’t take time to understand what you want that you’re going to be aimlessly going through life.
Once you understand what you want, it becomes easier to see what’s important and what isn’t. And that definitely helps with prioritizing your time better.
If you know that getting a promotion or a certain job is a top priority, then it becomes easier to set the smartphone down.
Tip #2. Recreate Your Daily Schedule
Take time every six months to assess your daily schedule. The previous tip helps you create goals. But once you have goals you still have to work back to your daily and weekly schedule.
What you do every day leads to long-term progress toward your goals. And the more control you have over your schedule the better you’ll be able to get things accomplished. You won’t feel as busy or out of time.
But you need to do this regularly because bad habits almost always creep in.
It’s definitely normal to feel like you’re out of time. It’s been that way for humans for most of history. It’s especially easy to feel this way today because there is so much biding for our attention. It’s easy to give in. But know that you have the control to take back your life. Just follow the tips above.