What activities fill your time? Are they all important? Which ones are urgent? Do you know how to prioritize to be more effective?
I don’t have enough time!
The lack of time to carry out day-to-day tasks or simply the mere personal feeling of not having enough time, or not getting to everything you want to do, can generate stress and anxiety in us. It is important, therefore, to learn to recognize what these “time thieves” are, that is, those circumstances, facts or even people in our environment that steal our time and cause our self-perception of efficiency to be impaired.
For some people, these time thieves may be related to what is currently known as FOMO (fear of missing out) which can be translated as “fear of missing something”. This pathology has to do with an abuse of social networks (facebook, instagram, whatsapp…), email, internet, television, etc.
Other people, invest a lot of time in making and answering phone calls. But also disorganization, postponing things, not finishing what they start, perfectionism, improvisation, lack of punctuality and / or discipline, disorder or lack of constancy, being thinking about it (what in psychology is known as ruminating) … can become real time thieves.
Other time thieves have to do with multitasking, something that, a priori seems interesting because it makes us more effective but is, in fact, the opposite: When we are doing several things at once we run the risk of being distracted more easily, of making more mistakes and misinterpretations.
We work at a slower pace, attention is jumping from one activity to another, so we are spending a greater amount of energy and, in addition, we are generating the possibility of having more mental gaps and cognitive biases.
These situations are going to generate stress and anxiety. Computers can work in multitasking mode, but the human brain works in a sequential way, so it’s best for us to focus on one task at a time so that we can concentrate better on it.
What can we do to get rid of this feeling of lack of time? The most important thing is to prioritize the different tasks or activities to be able to plan more effectively and, in addition, to consider within that planning to leave some time for possible contingencies, so that we can manage our agenda without stress.
But how do I prioritize my agenda?
The first thing is to be very aware of which activities are urgent and which are important.
Urgent activities or tasks are those related to deadlines, expirations, unforeseen events, and the passing of time in general. It is important to be very clear about what resources we have available to be able to give these tasks an efficient solution.
The important tasks have to do with the consequences that will arise if I do not carry them out, so it is better to do that activity first, which, if I do it later, will have a more serious consequence for me.
This type of task requires reflection on my objectives in order to be able to solve them effectively.
What’s on my schedule?
Another thing we can do is see how we can “simplify” our lives in some way: Perhaps we can stop filling in the gaps in our agenda and dedicate them to being rather than doing. Maybe we can delegate some task or ask for help in doing it, or maybe we can take on fewer obligations. Maybe we can say NO sometime. Maybe we can ask ourselves if it is necessary to earn so much money…
It would seem that the above would be enough to manage time well, wouldn’t it? Well, not exactly, because we can’t forget that a good management of our agenda requires reserving some time to take care of ourselves, to go to the gym, to rest, to meet with friends, to play with our children, to meditate, to go on vacation, to talk with our partner…
Mindfulness and time management
The most important thing is, whatever we are doing, to stay in the present, attentive to what we are doing, not letting the mind hijack our thinking and take us to other times or other places and live in the here and now. This is, in short, living in Mindfulness.
What benefits will the practice of Mindfulness bring us in terms of time management:
-Developing full attention, improving concentration and, therefore, our ability to be more present in what we are doing. In this way, we manage to be more efficient and make fewer mistakes.
-Improving awareness of the present moment, returning to the here and now, so that we are better able to detect the time thieves in our lives. If we have no choice but to “live in a hurry”, the practice of Mindfulness will allow us to ask ourselves if it is really worth losing our health in this…
-More efficient time management, as we will be more conscious of prioritizing our activities.
-By meditating, we manage to get out of that time flow for a few moments and regain our balance and calm.
-Improve stress and anxiety.