“If you can’t take time, you can’t have time.”
Time and I have not always been friends. In the past, I have felt rushed, stressed, apologetic, and robbed of what could be “precious moments”. I was unable to live in the now and would always be thinking of the next task that needed to be checked off.
Through my work I am noticing that collectively, we are becoming busier and busier as a whole, and I am sorry to report there is no magic wand to add more hours to the day. When I dove into this a bit more, I found that according to StatsCan, the amount of individuals in Canada who are currently working a second job has doubled, compared to 1978. Not only are our work lives consuming much more hours of our day, but we have additional family and personal obligations that seem to eat up what is left. This is when I got really interested in the practice of expanding time – not trying to beat it.
We perceive time differently depending on our task and our approach to it. Have you ever noticed that time feels different depending on the situation you are in? It seems to fly by when you’re really enjoying or are engrossed in an activity only to creep along painfully slowly when you are underwhelmed or bored. Time is relative, therefore we can be the source of our experience to time and can expand it when we choose to.
How do we do this?
Single Tasking – doing one task at a time with as little distraction and interruption as possible. Also know as focusing and being present.
Single-tasking goes against about every system of productivity you may have been taught, but it actually results in decreased stress levels and increased efficiency and productivity. We live in a time where you can watch Netflix at the same time as scrolling your phone while working on your computer. We are fed multi-tasking from just about every industry you can think of, and in some cases, I cannot disagree, it works. I know I’m one to chat with a friend via phone with while going on a walk or listening to an audiobook on a commute. But it is not the case in moments that require higher or emotional thinking.
Humans rarely are able to truly multi-task, instead, we jump between tasks at a frequent pace. I’ve heard it called “doing many things poorly”. This jumping between tasks quickly depletes our mental resources and can have notable downsides:
- It impairs our executive function – we are less able to decipher priority tasks and know when to shift to the next.
- The likelihood of mistakes is greater – like driving while texting, our chances of making a mistake substantially increases.
- It actually takes twice as long to multi-task as it does to do one thing after the other in a focused way.
- It’s exhausting! Our nervous system and brain centres are left depleted and in desperate need of recharging.
When we prioritize our tasks and sit in those priorities without distraction, we make magic happen. We develop stronger relationships, are more accurate, more creative in our work, and can enjoy the moment!
If you are looking for ways to be a friend of Time, I have recently created a free guide that covers my top tips for Time Management. In this guide, I share 7 practices that have worked for me and my clients to take control of how we relate to and manage time, ultimately resulting in our days feeling more rewarding, fulfilled and spacious.