For the longest time – I’m talking years – I struggled with getting things done and I felt that life was leading my life and I wasn’t in control. The overwhelm and anxiety was a daily occurrence and I seldom felt I had the time to do the things I really wanted to do – like, reading, food prep, yoga, mini errands, decluttering and so forth.
It was not til I read Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks that I realise how all of us are on this constant rat race that is life. We leave one rat race in one part of our lives and we head to another. We leave the corporate rat race and enter the self-employment all-day-girl-boss-hustle.
We are never in control of time and never feel like we are in control. Time controls us and we are at its mercy. Why though?
Why do some people struggle with time management?
There are several contributing factors to this
Do you struggle with time management? Find our in the quiz below!
#1 We aren’t aware of how much time we have available in our days
We don’t exactly have 24 hours in one day. We need to factor in shower times, sleeping times, commutes, meal times.. and the rest of our work and social life then needs to squeeze into those available slots.
#2 We do not know/aren’t aware of how much time each task takes
Many people struggle with this. How much time does cleaning your desk take, or replying emails on average or writing an essay.. most people wouldn’t be able to tell you.
#3 We pack our days to the brim and then feel overwhelmed
If you are anything like me, you write a whole list of tasks on your to-do list and then proceed to stuff them all into your calendars. And then when the day ends, you feel annoyed and overwhelmed with yourself for not doing even half of it. Or any of it.
The thing is, our brain doesn’t respond well to overwhelm. When we are having feelings of overwhelm and worry, we won’t be able to even focus on one task properly. This is why it is easy to end up putting off EVERYTHING on the to-do list. Our feelings are really at the root of our procrastination.
#4 We don’t have enough rest
We underestimate how much our sleep contributes to our day to day productivity and time management. I was never able to focus well at work when I was sleep deprived, and I’ve been sleep-deprived for a long time.
When I started to make changes to my sleep schedule, I found myself being able to stay awake for longer and I was also in a clearer frame of mind. It;s difficult to be productive when your brain is not able to focus well and complete things efficiently.
#5 Your time management system is too complex
I’ve seen people use multiple apps, trackers, bullet journals and whatnot to manage their days. Over-complicating the scheduling process and having a system where you are spending more time managing the system that using it, is just a waste of time.
Time management processes should be easy, quick and efficient. Not clunky and inefficient.
One way to improve time management
After several years of trying to figure out what works best for me, I finally landed on the age-old advice of timeblocking.
It wasn’t enough for me to simply allocate the number of hours to each task, I needed to see how these were arranged in line with my day, with the rest of the tasks and events in my day, right beside my sleep and meal times.
So enter my – google calendar. I talk through my process here on my YouTube short. Though any calendar would do. But allocating a time to each task and then scheduling it into my calendar actually makes the entire process more systematic and mindful. This way I’m not going like – wow 100 things on my to do list let’s finish them all!
But it is realistic and doable.
And guess what? I’ve not only been finishing everything on my to-do list, yes guys, everything. But I’ve also been scheduling in and completing habits and tasks that I used to dream of but would never do – food prep, housework, decluttering, daily yoga/journaling/meditation sessions. You name it.
This system isn’t sexy or fun by any means, but it gets things done. Ready to take it on for yourself?