I’ve been self-employed for a couple of months now and I’m reviewing what I most value about my current work arrangement.
Hands down, what I value is time.
Time to spend with my family.
Time to think about things that are important to me.
Time to listen.
Time to walk, physically and emotionally.
Time to touch.
I will always cherish these last couple of months.
As a matter of fact, I’m writing this post while sitting in the swing in my backyard.
But my life hasn’t always been like this.
Too much with too little
Like most of you, I’ve lived the last 20 years, my brain crowded and consumed with an endless list of tasks.
When I wasn’t doing tasks, I was re-prioritizing tasks to try and cram as much as I could into a day.
My life was measured in minutes.
Strategy and long-term planning became an aspiration fleeting somewhere just out of my grasp no matter how hotly I pursued it.
I was miserable.
I’ve heard it said we decide how we use our time, but that is only partially true.
Most organizations currently demand so much of so few that the expectations of each employee are totally unrealistic.
How to regain your sense of accomplishment
If you’re living in a world that feels bound to a stopwatch, here are some suggestions:
- Keep a list of everything you need to do. Crossing things off the list demonstrates progress.
- Prioritize no more than 3 things to get done each day.
- Expect at least 3 more things to be added to your list each day, if they aren’t great!
- Live in the present.
- Do something to help someone else succeed today.
Whoops! How did number 5 get in there?
Give time to get time?
I recently read a study in the Harvard Business Review, where researchers discovered spending time helping others leaves people feeling as if they have more time, not less.
The results show that giving your time to others
can make you feel more “time affluent” and less time-constrained
than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even
getting a windfall of free time. — Cassie Mogilner, Harvard Business Review, Sept 2012
In addition, to feeling like they have more time, people who gave their time away to someone else:
- Say their futures felt “infinite
- Contribute more time on other projects
- Feel more capable, confident and useful
- Feel more effective which enhances their productivity
You can read the complete study here: You’ll Feel Less Rushed If You Give Time Away
Bottom line: Managing your time better will increase your productivity some, but efficiency has its limitations.
If you truly want to get more time, you may need to give some time away. Even as little as ten minutes.
For ideas about things you can give, check out:
I would love to hear your personal experiences about giving time away.
Image: Microsoft Photos