Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Do you ever hear yourself saying you don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things you want to do? Have you ever caught yourself dreaming that one day you will miraculously catch up on all the chores and commitments? But somehow this day never comes?
Time is a very peculiar concept. It is the biggest resource you will ever possess. It’s yours truly, it didn’t cost you anything to obtain it, you don’t manage ROI on it. Yet, it is the scarcest, precious, and most expensive resource you will ever have. Time is the only commodity which you cannot buy, multiply, borrow, get back or create more of. Time is also the only resource which you are constantly running out of, complaining about it and sorry to say but sometimes giving away for free.
But once you realise that time is yours truly, and you have the power to distribute this resource any way you like, you’ll start using it wisely.
So, let’s dive in to see how to do that.
The beginnings of time
When we think about time, we think about a clock. We mostly focus on hours passing by, like we’re bound by the seconds, minutes and hours rather than the time itself. We all think time is a force of nature, but time, as we know it, was invented.
According to archaeological evidence, the Babylonians and Egyptians were the first to start measuring time around 5,000 years ago. They introduced calendars to coordinate communal activities, schedule delivery of shipments, and regulate cycles of planting and harvesting. The Egyptians further formulated a calendar composed of 12 months of 30 days. Fast forward to the 14th century and the division of a day into 24hr appears, with further split into 12hr periods commencing at midnight. As time was mostly measured for the sake of harvesting (most humans worked on land), the day and night measurement was sufficient. Let’s fast forward to the Industrial Revolution and we have the time as we know it now. We needed better ways to measure the railway schedules, workers commencing their daily workday, businesspeople attending meetings at the same time (or on time for that matter).
You may find this piece of history interesting, and it may even make you think about time differently. But despite the fact that we invented time as we know it today, we always find ourselves not having enough of it.
If only you had more time
I used to keep saying that if I only had a couple of additional hours in my day, then I would definitely go through the do-to list and do everything I said I would do. I had this illusion, so many of us have, that only if I had more time in my day, I would catch up. I kept telling myself this lie until I realised that the problem is not lack of time, but how I use my time.
Let’s face it, if you had more time to spear, you would add more activities into your day. We live in a productivity obsessed age, so our brains will be always looking for ways to ‘fill’ any free moment we have. So, even if we had more time, we would never catch up because we would be adding more and more onto our plates.
The feeling of lack of time comes from you feeling overwhelmed, and well yes, over-committed. The only way to have more time is either to do less or to do things faster and more efficient. Because you see, the trick is to make do with what you’ve got.
Time can be managed
As we discovered time is a commodity which cannot be increased. In a way, you can say it’s static. You only have 24 hours or 1440 minutes. Every day the amount is the same. I hope that by now, you see it’s not about your time, but it’s about your energy.
Energy is something that you can control, you can increase it and have more of it. And it’s completely in your control as to how you use it.
So, the mindset shift that needs to happen, is not about how to have more time, but how to have more energy or how to wisely distribute the energy you’ve got. If you use the energy you’ve got in a productive and efficient way, you will work faster, make better decisions and see real outcomes. With the time you’ve got.
Your time should be aligned with your energy. This way you ‘manage’ time.
The best way to tie up time and energy is by planning. Listing all the tasks for the day, commitments you have, to-do activities will give you a visionary picture of what needs to be done within the 24 hour period. Check what your energy level is and how you can match it with what needs to be done. Set priorities, things which are none -negotiable, at the start of the day – that’s when your energy levels are the highest. Our blood sugar dips around mid-afternoon, so that’s when your energy level is the lowest in the day. Why not use this time for tasks which don’t require a high level of focus?
Think about different ways you can increase your energy. What healthy behaviours can you implement to feel refreshed, energised, and motivated? What physical movement you can incorporate to feel active? How can you adjust your diet to nourish your body and mind to feel creative, zestful, and enthusiastic?
Looking after your health and wellbeing will give you the energy you need so you can use the time you’ve got in the best way possible.
The invention of time was necessary for us to coordinate different time zones, international schedules, the solar system, the earth's rotation on its axis in relation to the stars, or simply the bus timetable. We all learnt to read the clock and measure time when we were kids, but as grown-ups, it doesn’t matter how many times we measure it, we always come up short.
Lack of time is probably the number one complaint for most of us in the 21st century. The sweet lie you tell yourself is that if only you had more time, you would catch up with your life, is well, just that: a sweet lie.
Time is a commodity which you cannot change, but you can control how it’s used once you align it with your energy levels. You will always have the same amount of time, but you can always increase the level of your energy. By matching your energy with time and distributing the tasks, so they can be done, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and won’t feel like there are not enough hours in the day.
So, how can you increase your energy levels today?
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