Hi, it’s me. It’s been a long time, I know. (insert excuses that are pure bullshit and move on to the real thing). So, this topic seems like a good fit for the current situation.
As we chronologically grow older there are many ‘truths’ we begin seeing as patterns in our lives. One of them that ocurred to me is the illusion of not having enough time.
Do you have that friend who is constantly in a rush and never has time to meet up? Or a co-worker who is slacking work?
What is it that makes this person repeatingly find excuses and postpone meetings/work we ask ourselves… I cut it down to two explanations:
- That person is a complete mess.
- That person does not care about your relationship/the work.
If you are trying to quit smoking, does it help you to spend time with people who smoke? Where would you go if you want to find a job in NBA, Europe or USA? In the same way… If you want your life to have structure and purpose, do you want to spend time with people who are going in a completely different direction? It is like putting a weight down your ankle and dragging it wherever you are going. You are a sum of 5 people you spend the most time with and you need to choose wisely. It is not a sin to change your environment, to move on. We all go through different phases in life and I am sure that each one of people in your life has contributed some good to your development. Meeting people you are learning about yourself and at some point your paths will go different directions. It is on you to keep in touch, or not, support and guide, or not.
This text is straying from the main topic a bit, I got slightly taken away… Coming back to the main point.
Firstly, it’s important to know that you cannot possess time. There are certain hours of day and certain hours of night that we have a choice to use in a way we want to. So when someone fails to deliver a task in a given time-frame or a goal that was self-imposed it means that a) there was no structure and organisation or b) the goal is not relevant enough.
Let’s start with a) solutions…
Choosing A over B because of X. You have a choice to make and time to relocate to certain tasks. Rule of the thumb is to do what is more relevant to you in a given moment. Sometimes it is quite difficult for us to discern what option is better for us to choose. Decision-making sometimes takes a lot of time and by avoiding to ‘miss out on something’ we often times end up doing it all and not so effectively.
Multitasking? It’s a myth. Dividing resources is making your work lack quality and you are definitely not training your concentration there. (Hello generation of finding distractions…) So, how to pick ‘the right option’? If it is a difficult decision mostly the differences are so subtle and in the long-run it won’t make any difference. So just go with one that is calling your attention, and forget about the other option. Put all your attention and effort into that one thing.
Many people work well with agendas and to-do lists. Those tools help us to not to waste time. Myself, I am very much oriented to effectiveness of execution and it pains me to spend a day for something I could do in less time so I set-up a start and a finnish time so there is no lingering. What happens when we know we have ‘a whole afternoon to study’? If we are talking about 5 hours, what usually happens is that we get relaxed because ‘there is a lot of time still’ and start falling off track only to end up with an hour or two or real ‘study-time’. Where did the time go?
You get lost between snacking, texting your friends and scrolling on your phone. Danger lies in the unconsciousness of your actions. You’re bored so you go to eat. You’re bored so you take your phone. Did you stop to think about it for a second? No, it’s automatic. Attention-span of generation Z has shortened to 8 seconds, reports the research. Impulses are taking rule over our actions and by giving in we are converting it into a habit. So take a breath, check your agenda and deal with the task that was proposed for this time-frame. Time is up? Chill, and then take on the next objective.
A common mistake that happens in planning is to fill your day with activities 8-20. What happens if the meeting at 11 gets delayed for half an hour? Houston, we have a problem… Because from that moment on, you will be in a rush for a whole day. In the next meeting you will be a reason for the delay and on top of that you will come stressed. Imagine that wheel turning for the following 8 hours and maybe repeating itself each day.
In order to prevent this mess, it is important to always plan to have ‘a buffer time’. This 30-minutes window (at least) between activities allows you multiple things. If you need to commute to your next meeting place and you come across your old university friend you will have some time to have a quick chat. You will be able to brighten up someone’s day with small kind acts you can do on the street, or just sharing these deep looks with the passer-by. You can keep your calm better and significantly lower your stress if you are not in a rush. All of these things are impossible if your schedule is tight and packed.
When it comes to b) … Hey, why are you doing this? Do you want to do it? What are your motivations? If there is no motivation for the task/to meet up, you might as well not do it because the result will suck. There is many auto-motivation options that I will cover in some of the next posts… Let’s just give a little intro into that our motivations are threesome (I really needed to write this. Not sorry): relatedness, autonomy and competence. You are doing it to socialize? You are doing it to have money? You are doing it because you want to improve your performance?
So yeah, I was a bit of a mess without giving enough attention to something that I actually enjoy. So, lesson learned. Until the next post 🙂