Do you feel like you have never enough time?
You know, the day ends and your to-do list is longer than it was in the morning? Or, you go to bed thinking about all the things you didn’t get done? Maybe you’re even running through your to-do list when you intended to be present with a loved one (e.g., playing with your child, during s&x, in a conversation)!
Been there. Lots.
I’ve heard this called productivity shame or time anxiety, but the term that resonates most with me is time poverty.
Read on and/or watch the video here:
Time poverty is the chronic feeling of having too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
It can show up:
- About the present: “There’s never enough time in my day”. You feel rushed, overwhelmed–even sometimes frantic and panicked.
- About the future: You’re consumed with thoughts of “what if?” and troubled by everything that may or may not happen in your future depending on your actions today.
- Overall: You function with a knowing that your presence on this earth is limited. Nevertheless, you’re determined to push forward…and hussle, get less sleep, drive yourself hard.
As an ambitious perfectionist, your stress can be magnified because you’re aware that you spend excessive hours on tasks, have trouble with boundaries, and sometimes doubt yourself (and therefore keep revisiting a project).
Many of us feel “time poor” – incessantly rushing from one thing to another, carrying over items from our to-do list, and ending the day wishing we had been able to do more.
In fact, research has found that 80% of employed Americans report feeling they “never have enough time”(Giurge et al., 2020). Are you in that category?
Why is this a problem?
There are numerous negative consequences of feeling like there are never enough hours in the day and these include:
- stress, overwhelm, anxiety (which can manifest as physical symptoms, loss of sleep, impatience)
- inner conflict between what you value and what you do (i.e. you say you want to visit with friends more often, but you prioritize work)
- thoughts of “I am not ____ (efficient, smart, competent…) enough”
Subjective feelings of time poverty are more than a nuisance: they are linked to lower physical health, well-being, and productivity (Edlund, 2010).
How can I experience more time prosperity? (or, at least, reduce feelings of scarcity)
Time poverty is a feeling that resides within us.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not disputing/challenging the fact that you are legit busy.
However, alleviating the tension goes beyond productivity hacks. Yes, those can help (if you implement them) and I have shared many of these in previous posts (see, for example, How to use time blocking to get meaningful things done and How to save time by simplifying).
Shifting towards time abundance starts with building your awareness.
1. Notice how you speak and think about time.
Take note of when your thoughts fixate on time running out or not having enough hours. When you’re in that state, ask yourself “How might this not be true?” and “How might it be true that I have enough time for _____?”
2. Notice how you move through your day.
When and how often do you rush as you go about your day? Do you march down the hallway engrossed in your thoughts or amble in a leisurely fashion? When do you move more slowly? How do these different ways of walking/moving feel?
3. Acknowledge yourself when you take time to rest.
When you engage in non-work activities that feel like “time well spent”, give yourself kudos. Celebrate with a mental high-five or fist bump to solidify the habit of rest (Fogg, 2019). Whenever you recognize the positive moves you make, you give yourself another vote of confidence.
Ready to reduce your stress and direct your energy to better things?
If you’re ready to step out of constant overwhelm and put your energy towards things you can control, contact me for a conversation about how my coaching support can help you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free consultation here: https://isabeauiqbal.com/contact/ (if you go to the Book Online button, you’ll have direct access to my online calendar).
Photo credit: Oleksandr K on Flickr