"I just don't have enough time for everything I want to do in life," I screamed at my friend at the end of yet another long tiring day where I couldn't tick off even half the things on my to-do list.
That's it, right there: a big ass problem that our generation is suffering from - the feeling that we just don't have enough time for the many things we actually want to do.
We want to go to the gym but also want to have a social life intact, we want to sleep after work but also have to finish homely chores, we want to join a dance class but work gets demanding, so we don't know if we can make it.
On, and on, and on it goes.
How do we fight that? By manufacturing more time in our day. No, you can't time travel like Hermione. But imagine making space in your day for all the things that are important.
Because here's the fact: 99% of the things that we stress and worry about DO NOT MATTER.
You read that right. Many things that we fill our day with can be done away with altogether. The problem is that we think that everything matters more than it actually does, and we have no clue as to how to separate what does matter, with what doesn’t.
I once worked on an assignment that I gave my all: sleepless nights, hours of research, paid attention to every minute detail, stressing over how the presentation looks, going over it again, and again, and again. In the end, my editor didn't even read the whole thing. The introduction was all that she read.
Once upon a time, I flustered so much over this "Big Date" I had. I fussed about what to wear, how to look, how I would come across... all that jazz. When I went on the date, I realized that the guy just wanted a casual something.
So as you can see here, it is pretty clear that we spend an abysmal amount of time doing things, worrying about things, and investing in things which in the bigger picture of life - DO NOT MATTER.
I mean, I could have achieved the same result without putting in that much stress and effort. I could have saved myself SO. MUCH. TIME.
And these are just a couple of things we tend to do, there are things we do that eat up our time for no good which are much much worse. Hint: obsessing about a problem in the past that won't even matter in a week's time.
There is some inexplicable fear of the unknown we have that holds us back and lets us think that what we are doing is actually important when it is not.
So that fight that you are trying to fix doesn't need fixing at all.
That phone call you are having an anxiety attack over will not come sooner if you be anxious about it.
That "very important thing" that you "HAVE" to do tonight and are turning your world upside down over probably can wait.
Luckily for us, there are ways to change this. And change it we should.
This is going to take a little effort from your "very busy" schedule but trust me it has bigger rewards, what with all the time that it will produce in that very schedule.
Take all your fears and negative thinking, mix it with some logic and voila! Create time for yourself.
Okay, no. Not like that. Like this: negative visualization.
- Make a table with four columns.
- One for the thing that you are considering devoting your time to, or the thing that you are scared of.
- Second, for the worst possible outcome of the thing, you are planning to undertake or expect if you were to act on the thing you are planning to do.
- In the next one, write down everything you can do to prevent or mitigate these worst outcomes.
- In the final column, write down what you can do if the worst were to strike.
And that is that.
Not only have you prepared yourself for the future but this exercise will also help you realize how important or not an undertaking is to you.
Is it worth your time?
Is it worth the effort?
Is it important?
And with your answer, you have the opportunity to create more time for the things that you actually should care for.
Many people may not like this way of doing things. Many won't even like this article. But that's okay. For once, I'll not stress about that. I'll just add to that 99%.