Do you approach life with the belief or expectation that somehow you should be able to find the time to do, experience and achieve everything you have to and all that you’d like to?
So many of us push ourselves to work harder, faster and longer and even then we don’t achieve all that we’d hoped to. We often compound the sense of disappointment with an unhealthy dose of self-criticism for not ‘doing enough’
But the simple truth is we don’t have time to do everything.
We don’t have the power to make more time, we can try all we like; go to bed late, get up early, rush around and multitask. But it doesn’t make any more time. There are 24 hours in our day and that’s it.
What’s more, we have limited resources. We are not machines that can just keep going. We have a limited tank of energy and willpower. We need to care for ourselves in order to top those resources up.
The good news is we do have the power to choose what we will spend our energy and willpower on.
There are just some things we don’t need to try and get done
It’s a common habit to go for the quick-to-do items on our list and postpone the more long-term, high-impact stuff. There’s a biological reason we spend most of our time on the quick-fix items; it’s because we experience a rush of dopamine – the feel good chemical – every time we tick an item off our list.
The problem is, focusing on the ‘easy wins’ means we rarely get to the long-term, high-impact ones. What’s more, we feel guilty about not getting more done and this guilt stops us from spending time on ourselves – leading to a vicious cycle of relentless doing, exhaustion, disappointment and stress.
How do we break this cycle and find balance?
Have you ever thought about how you are spending your time? Is it on the quick-to-do items or is it on those tasks that are more demanding yet have long lasting benefits?
I encourage you to review your to-do list and think about, not which is the easiest item to accomplish, but which one is going to make the biggest difference once you complete it.
Get mindful about your time using a simple strategy
Be mindful about how you are spending your time. To help you make this mindfulness a lifelong habit try this strategy:
Stop for just one minute every hour and check-in.
Use these questions to check in on what you’re doing and how you’re being.
Right now am I doing what I most need to be doing?
Right now am I being who I most want to be?
Are you thinking that this action sounds too simple to make any difference? But isn’t simple what we want? Something that won’t take a lot of time out of our day but will make a big difference?
Commit to checking in every day this week and see what a difference it makes to your focus, your mindset and your productivity.