15 Nov 2019

Career Development

Need more hours in the day?

Written by Dennis Stanley

Do you sometimes feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Wishing if you could add some more time or slow it down somehow then you’d be able to get everything ticked off of your to-do-list?

I’d put money on the fact that we’ve all had a variation of this thought at some time in our lives. But, if it’s a common feeling for you then something needs to change.

Why do I feel this way?

No matter how busy we are (or feel), there are only 24 hours in a day. And, not all of those can be productive. Of course, you need to do things like sleep, eat, and travel between destinations, but you also need to take the time to relax, to learn and to enjoy yourself. Add in that great big chunk of time you spend at work each day and all of a sudden 24 hours doesn’t seem very long at all.

But, the problem is, we’re all so busy being… well, busy. So, when we claim some of our time to do something for ourselves we feel guilty about it. We feel unproductive or self-indulgent – and worry others will see us that way too. How often have you felt guilty when taking half an hour to eat your lunch away from your desk, or for spending a day in a training session. Both activities provide benefits (in different ways) and are needed if you want to thrive and progress in life. Yet we wont bat an eyelid for the hours or even days “wasted” on trying to maintain an empty “inbox”, binge watching on Netflix or mindless scrolling through your social media.

So what can I do?

Until time travel becomes possible (you never know!), I’m afraid you’re stuck with the 24 hours you’re given. There isn’t a way to eke out time to make it last longer. Instead you need to look at what you do with the time you have. Without meaning to sound cheesy and dramatic, you have to learn to understand how precious your time is.

For me the key to this is using your time wisely, making sure that you consciously spend it in ways that benefit you. I’ve previously written about the importance of setting goals, your goals or objectives act as the blueprint – your mental justification – for how you use your time.

Ask yourself does this activity fit with my goals and values? If not, why are you doing it? Be honest with yourself here. If you’re working late every night, is there anything you can do to reduce your workload? If you hate your job, what steps can you make towards a new one? This thinking can be applied to other aspects of your life too. If you loath doing the housework, could you get a cleaner? I could go on here, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Without retaining a focus on your goals and values it’s easy for your time to become full with activities that don’t serve you. Yes, you’re sometimes going to have to do things that you don’t want to (I’m afraid that’s life), but by shifting your mindset to being intentional with your time and by learning to say “no” more often, you can priortise what you do to fit the time you have.

Take a moment to reflect back on the last goals or objectives that you set yourself. Have you achieved them? Ask yourself whether you would have a better chance of success if you had been more intentional with your time? If you haven’t set any goals – are you “happy” with where you are right now?

I’m going to be writing my next LinkedIn article on how to set yourself up for success when setting your objectives for 2020. But, if you’d like some personalised guidance and support on setting yours, or using your time more intentionally, get in touch by emailing me at dennis.stanley@marriage-stanley.com