“Having enough time” begins with knowing when to say when
In Part 2 of our time and priority management discussion, we continue to explore the challenge that the real issue when we don’t have enough time is the problem of unrealistic expectations. Last week, Part 1 unpacked the unrealistic expectations related to our boundaries with others. This week, we’re going to discuss unrealistic expectations that hit a little closer to home.
Below are two seemingly harmless lies you may be telling yourself that eat away at your productivity:
5. I don’t need to keep track. If someone asks how much time you spend each day or week surfing the internet, gaming, or binge-watching your favorite show, would you make up an answer because you truly have no idea? Does your unwinding time frequently slip away from you like the bag of chips you sat down with, five episodes of Stranger Things ago?
Unrealistic expectation: My downtime activities are not a significant enough threat to my productivity to become mindful about them.
Truth: Downtime is important, but real rest and wasting time are two different things. Discretionary time is a precious commodity. Be intentional about your rest. Keep track of how much you are taking. Know when to disengage - and be intentional about re-engaging when it’s time to get focused again.
6. I still have time to do this one little thing (and this one, and this one…). If you have allotted a specific time to get something done, do you slip other “little things” into that slot while you’re still working on the main thing? Do you try to answer emails while problem-solving with a colleague in your office? How often do you respond to a “quick email” in the middle of an urgent project, only to realize it took you 30 minutes just to compile the necessary information?
Unrealistic expectation: I can get more done in a single hour than is possible by humans in earth time; the little things are not significantly compromising my focus or flow.
Truth: Your tendency to be overly optimistic about what you can get in an hour is setting you up to be perpetually behind. Do one thing. Finish it. If you have extra time, do the stack of “little things” after.
Time Management Truth
Here’s the biggest truth of all:
There will never be enough time until you understand what the word “enough” really means.
You are enough. What you truly can do is enough.
You will not ever be able to find enough time to do what you shouldn’t be doing or can’t afford to keep doing. Before adjusting your schedule, be kind enough to yourself to do some deep reflecting, and adjust your expectations.
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