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Time Anxiety: How to deal with feeling that there's "never enough time"

https://blog.rescuetime.com/time-anxiety/

blog.rescuetime.com

Time Anxiety: How to deal with feeling that there's "never enough time"
Do you feel like you never have enough time in the day? You might be suffering from something called time anxiety.

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William Penn

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Time anxiety

Time anxiety is the feeling that you have not done enough to meet your goals or that you're not using the time you do have effectively.

Time anxiety is more than feeling overwhelmed at times - it haunts your days and causes you to procrastinate on essential tasks.

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Your relationship with time changes

The irony is the more we focus on the limited time we do have, the more restricted our time feels.

Time had little impact on us as children. We used to spend our days with mostly unstructured games and learning. As we became teenagers, time started to gain importance. As adults, time becomes an essential and scarce resource that we have to attempt to control.

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Three types of time anxiety

Time anxiety shows up as:

  • Daily time anxiety: It is the feeling of not having enough time in your day.
  • Future time anxiety: You feel paralyzed thinking through every 'what if?' that may or may not happen.
  • Existential time anxiety: The feeling of only having a limited time to live your life.

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Overcoming time anxiety

Overcoming time anxiety boils down to awareness, understanding, and action.

Being aware of what you spend your time on can lessen your anxiety. But too much observation over every aspect of your life can add to your time anxiety. It's about finding a balance between awareness and action.

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Acknowledge your relationship with time

Truths about time:

  • Time exists.
  • You can't stop the clock from moving or slow it down.
  • You only have control over what you do in the future.

Time anxiety increases when we try to ignore or manipulate the ways time impacts our day. Acknowledging these truths can reduce anxiety and help you move forward.

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What ‘time well spent’ means to you

Ask yourself what a good day looks like at work and home.

  • Body: What do you want to do to feel healthy?
  • Mind: What engages your mind in a good way?
  • Love: Who do you want to spend your time with?
  • Work: What work or tasks make you feel good?
  • Money: How do you want to use the money you do have?
  • Play: What hobbies or activities do you really enjoy?

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Understand the planning fallacy

We often think 8 hours of work time means we can schedule all 8 hours. However, most people have at best 2.5 hours of real productive time a day.
At work, most people spend:

  • 15% of their time in meetings,
  • 25-30% on email, chat, and video calls, and
  • 40% multitasking and working sub-optimally.

This breakdown can help you understand the limitations you have to work within. The goal is to be realistic about what you can do with the time you do have.

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Make space for the things that matter

To feel motivated, you first need to act, then motivation will follow.

Look at your time well-spent activities and fit them into your day. In other words, think how and when your most meaningful tasks will fit into a real day. Understanding how to use your limited supply of time on what truly matters will help you cut out time-wasters that add to your time anxiety.

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Practice being a ‘Satisficer’ instead of a ‘Maximiser’

  • Maximizers try to make a choice that will give the maximum benefit later on.
  • Satisficers make choices according to their set of current criteria. Nothing more.

Trying to maximize every day will lead to more time anxiety. Instead, use your time well-spent activities and decide on what fits your time best now**.**

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Maria Edgeworth

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."

Maria Edgeworth

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What burnout is

Burnout can be broken down into three parts:

  • Exhaustion: it could lead you to be easily upset, have trouble sleeping, get sick more often, and struggle to concentrate.

What Causes Burnout

6 components of the workplace environment that can contribute to burnout:

  • Workload
  • Control
  • Reward
  • Community
  • Fairness
  • Values. 

We end up with burnout when one or more of these areas of our work don’t match our needs.

The Risks of Burnout

Chronic psychosocial stress that’s common in people suffering from burnout can impair personal and social functioning as well as overwhelming your cognitive skills and neuroendocrine systems. 

Over time the effects of burnout can lead to memory, attention, and emotional problems.

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Being purposeful with your day

Being purposeful with your day

Time management is about taking control of the time you do have available and using it optimally for productivity while creating balance.

How to plan your day

Much advice about time management is about creating a to-do list, reminding you what you want to do. However, it's more important to use a schedule, which tells you when you're going to do it.

  • Create "bookends" for each day. Consider your morning and evening routines, then "block" in time for your most important tasks. For example, a 2-hour writing-block every morning after breakfast.
  • Set aside time for your most important projects. The object is to be purposeful about what and when you're going to do something.
  • Schedule in breaks. A schedule has to be realistic. That means including time for breaks, food, exercise, social time, and other "non-school" tasks that keep you happy.

Be aware of how you’re spending your time

To build a better time management system, you need to know what you currently spend your time on. You need to know where you're losing time to the wrong things.

To track your time, spend a few days writing a "time log" to track how you spend your day.

Fighting For Our Focus

Fighting For Our Focus

Scheduling of work falls into two broad categories: Makers and Managers. Most of us are either managing people and projects or making something, like documents, apps or other creat...

Different Jobs See Time Differently

  • Managers can work in time blocks of 30 or 60 minutes, scheduling meetings or sending emails.
  • Makers need almost half a day to get down and create something, requiring an uninterrupted focus mode that is nearly impossible.

What complicates matters is that many managers who are managing the makers think of time as short blocks and try to break the focused time of the makers, requesting them to juggle work or multitask, which kills any productivity or quality with the unending context switching.

Schedules And Productivity

None of us can get creative in short 15-minute bursts of work sandwiched between a mandatory meeting and a sales team call. It is also a myth that people work for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Most people are productive in sporadic periods of time, like 15 minutes, followed by an interruption, then for 20 minutes, followed by a commitment/obligation/meeting and so on.

We need to align our schedules with our goals and create a strategy that helps us focus on deep work.