Most Americans are Strapped for Time

Why we’re Time Poor in an Era of Conveniences

Surveys tell us that about half of Americans claim they don’t have enough time to get everything done.

But other studies show that 82% of people don’t have a time management system.

If you’re out there trying to get all sorts of stuff done, but you don’t know which activities are priorities, or where your time is going, the result is going to be a feeling of frustration about not having enough time in the day.

Knowing what’s taking up your time is the first step; knowing what to do about it is the next.

What’s eating up our time?

Small disruptions – Imagine you lost a dime every 10 minutes.  No big deal, right?  It’s just ten cents.  A dime here and there isn’t a big deal.  If you extrapolate that out 24 hours a day for a year, you’ve lost $5,256.

Small disruptions (pings, emails, texts, and more) chip away at your time without you knowing the full cost.

What to do about it: The number one best way to eliminate those small disruptions is to turn off notifications.  Take care of those pings all at once at the beginning or end of the day.

Not valuing our time – We all know that we should value our time, but how many of us really value our time?  Too often we take on menial projects, offer free time, or do stuff that just wastes time.

What to do about it:  It’s going to come down to a blunt mindset shift.  To get there start paying for the wasted time.  Set a dollar amount, maybe $50 per hour, and pay into a penalty jar whenever you find you’ve wasted time.

Busy is seen as productive – Nobody knows where it came from, but somewhere along the lines being busy became seen as being productive.  The idea of the “busy executive” was sexy, and sought after.

Naturally a lot of these people are successful, because even though they’re busy they are getting a lot done.  But they could get just as much done, and have more free time, by optimizing what they do.

What to do about it:  If you find that you’re really busy, you have to take a step back and see what went wrong.  Productivity is all about using systems and processes to your advantage.  If you have too much on your plate, it’s time to figure out how to get rid of some of it.

Idle Hands – There’s a saying, it comes from one particular translation of the Bible saying that idle hands are the devil’s workshop.  The idea was to discourage people from being lazy, and to work when work needed to be done.

The saying, however, has been taken too far.  And it has come to mean that we should never be idle, constantly go-go-going!  This creates a time crunch because we fill our days to the brim, with no wiggle room.

What to do about it:  Rest.  We aren’t meant to be constantly on the go.  We are meant to take a break here and there.  Build periods of rest into your schedule so that you can enjoy life, smell the roses, and recharge to get more done tomorrow.

There’s always tomorrow – Which leads us to the idea that when our days are jam packed, and we can’t get everything done, we slough tasks off until tomorrow.

We lie to ourselves saying, “I’ll get caught up tomorrow.”  But when there isn’t enough time in today, and now we’ve pushed tasks into an already full tomorrow, why would there be any time tomorrow?

What to do about it:  Create your days with fewer to-do’s.  Build time into your schedule to get caught up.  When you are caught up, use that time that you’ve built into your schedule to take a break.  You deserve it!

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