Time-famine has become one of the greatest stresses of modern life. Here’s how to beat it:
1. Do not dismiss technology: It is important to recognise that technology is not good or ill. You have to appreciate and address the fact that you have a relationship with it. What you are being sold when you buy into technology is a promise that things will be easier, faster and better. We often look at technology as a toy, but behind its promise lie unspoken consequences. We need to lose both our awe and our fear of technology, and see it with clear eyes.
2. Time at work: Recognise your personal energy levels. If you are tired and stressed, stop. Be realistic about how much you can do. Resolve to work only as long as that permits. You may have to ask yourself, do I want this job, or my health and family? Be realistic in defining yourself and in your expectations. Most psychological pressures in the work-place come from unmet expectations.
3. Aim for an appreciation of processes, not just results: ‘You are what you achieve’ is not necessarily true. Do not ask yourself relentlessly ‘What have I achieved?’ but ‘Did I enjoy the process of doing it? Did I learn from it?’ This alleviates guilt and anxiety over work.
4. Tailor the quality of your work to the time available: Perfectionists balk when told to make it good enough.
Yet PC printers offer ‘fast’, ‘good; and ‘best’ options. Why?
Because excellence is not a prerequisite for every task.
Realise that good enough is still good, increasing productivity and free time for other tasks.
5. Time at home: Slumping in front of the TV creates lots of ‘dead time’. Is it such a good idea for a stressed, tired person to subject themselves to the evening news? Many time-management experts identify ‘vegging out’ with the TV as a major cause of lost time, fatigue and dissatisfaction.
6. Satisfy your inner needs: It is easy to let the thoughts and effects of work overbalance into home time. At the end of the day take an opportunity to buy back time for yourself.
It is extremely unlikely that work gives you what you need to satisfy your innermost requirements, so have a hobby for achieving that balance.
7. Sorry, you still have to vacuum the carpet: Wilfully managing your time allows you to do a great deal more with your life. Sadly, this does not translate into no longer having to do the housework. Understand that it is the accumulation of small daily victories that enhance our sense of self-worth. Be self-disciplined, do the work at a pre-governed time, and you will find that beating the housework counts.
8. Time alone or relaxation: For so many of us, time alone is either a luxury we can not afford or something we fear and try to avoid at all costs.
Either way, we almost never get time completely to ourselves. And yet it can be an enormously powerful way to get back a feeling of owning your own time, destressing and balancing the pace of your life.
9. Feel the fear and do it anyway: The constructive side to loneliness can be that it serves as the impetus and motivation to look within for your inner resources; to find the stillness in the whirlpool. It can be overcome by making friends with yourself.
10. Stop criticising and belittling yourself: Treat yourself kindly and politely as you would another, and recognise that flaws of character and making mistakes are normal. It is then that we can discover all the resources we need.