Do you worry about wasting time? Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get things done, then berate yourself for not achieving as much as you had planned?
We all have these moments of anxiety where we feel we could use our time better, however fear of wasting time can start to take over. In my experience as a therapist I've found that fear about wasting time tends to happen because:
- A person has had a number of losses
- A younger person has lost someone who was of a similar young age
- A person is getting older; they realise they have less time ahead than behind them
- A person has a belief system about having to prove themself as highly successful.
Of course it's easy to say 'stop worrying, relax and enjoy life', but if you're in a state of anxiety and constantly worrying about not getting through the things you want to achieve, it can be more helpful to have a practical way to help break the time-worry cycle.
Time is after all a commodity; but unlike other commodities, time is something we cannot borrow, buy or replace.
Here's a tip to help break the time worry cycle.
One common mistake that I’ve seen many people make is to approach life as a list of tasks. They think that by getting through tasks they’re making way for some free time at the end of it.
I know I've done this, and perhaps you have too.
'I’ll just get these done and then I’ll feel happier' we say to ourselves.
The problem is that those tasks never really end. As soon as we complete one thing, another seems to pop up.
Having a constant list of things that you ‘must get through’ simply means that you'll be feeling stressed. You won’t be able to fully relax until something is ticked off your list, and you'll end up feeling anxious because you'll feel time has slipped away without you achieving all that you planned.
How to make time work for you instead of against you.
The fact is that each of us will always have that ongoing to-do list. This is life.
The trick is to get hold of the reins and take charge of your time. Focus on the amount of time you want to dedicate that day towards a task, rather than worrying about completing the tasks itself. You'll soon find that when you set aside a designated time towards them, those tasks become far more manageable, more easily achieved and you won't be stressing out over wasted time.
Here's how it works. Each evening (or morning if you prefer), decide on a specific time frame that you want to spend one or more tasks.
Start your task at the designated time and when that time is up STOP!
Don’t worry if it’s a bit hit and miss at first. As you get used to this approach you'll find you get better at it. You’ll quickly notice that you feel less stressed because you’re no longer worrying about getting things completed.
And because you’re less stressed, your focus, clarity and creativity will be much more in flow and so you’ll become more efficient. Life will feel much more relaxed and you'll have free time left over.
So try switching from focusing on completing tasks to designating time towards them. It's a great way to be kinder to yourself and break the time-worry cycle.
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