I was going about my normal day recently when a familiar phrase came into my mind, “So little time…” I took a break from my work at home and had been thinking about how much there was left to do. Then I quickly starting noting other projects that I needed to start—there’s so much! I was lamenting how little time there is to do ‘all the things.’
We’ve all been there. That’s why there is the saying, “So little time, so much to do.”
Back In Time
I began to wish for more time and wondered how I might be able to get it. As I thought, one of my favorite quotes from The Matrix Reloaded came to mind. It was during the Merovingian’s diatribe when he said, “…but then if we never take time how can we ever have time?” Such a simple concept!
Time was spoken of as a material resource you could put in your pocket or store up in the bank. How nice it would be if time were so tangible because maybe then we would use it more sparingly. But when you really think about it, we can budget our time more wisely just like we budget our money. We can be frugal with our time.
Just because time is not a tangible thing, it doesn’t mean we will have trouble budgeting it. We already know how to budget the immaterial. Case in point: money today has become digital currency and many of our transactions happen online in our ever-increasing cashless society. Money is increasingly intangible like time; they’re just numbers.
After my memory of The Matrix quote, my mind went further back in timeto none other than a little monologue by hero Marty McFly! In Back To The Future he said, “If only I had more time…wait a minute, I have all the time I want, I’ve got a time machine…”
If only we had more time. If only we had a time machine! Well we can’t travel through time–other than straight forward from present to future at the speed of about one second per second. And we can’t create a machine that somehow creates more time for us like it’s a tangible object. So what can we do? Go back to The Matrix.
Take Time To Make Time
We have so many things that take up our time. We must take our time back from those things by taking those things out of our lives. Go minimalist!
If you want to have time to do ‘all the things’, you must redefine what ‘all the things’ refers to. Do we really need to do everything that we think we do? This is nothing other than classic time management. We’ve got to practice prioritizing our time for only the most important things; do only the best things.
The best to-do is to do the best.
To have more time, minimize or remove from your life all the things that are just a time-suck. But you must recognize what’s wasting your time. I categorize daily life into three broad areas that we need time for: sleep, work, and play.
It would be nice and simple if we could just give 8 hours evenly to each time category; life is not that easy. Often, we find ourselves wasting a lot of time playing instead of working. It’s easy to get distracted when looking up one thing on the web and then a half-hour later…look at the time! Entertainment and social media: big time-sucks.
De-Clutter Your Calendar
In your own life, take some time to budget your time! Come to think of it, a line-item at the top of your Time Budget Worksheet should be, “Budget Time.” It would be helpful to write it out in front of you to see your time more concretely.
You could do this simply by calendaring. Just don’t book your schedule too tightly. Make “appointments” in each day for “white space” or time cushions. We need both downtime as well as uptime. Again: sleep, work, and play. It’s okay to schedule a blank space or a block of time for nothing on your calendar!
We need to reverse the saying. If there’s so little time because there’s so much to do, then there will be so much time if there’s so little to do.
This touches on the idea of multi-tasking. Usually that means you’re doing many things at the same time, which is inaccurate. What I mean by multi-tasking is simply having too many to-do’s on a regular basis–literally multiple tasks.
We work in a linear fashion, going from one thing to the next in a chain, just like the cause and effect chain of time. The more tasks you have, the less time you have for each task; it’s simple math.
We are talking about quality over quantity. When you have less time to dedicate to a given task, either it cannot be completed or it will be a mediocre thing, one that is not really worth your time! If that’s true, then why bother with it in the first place? Drop it from your schedule. Clear time for more important things. The fewer to-do’s you have, the more time, and thus quality, you will get for each one.
Time To Unwind
These thoughts on time are just some simple ideas. It helps me to take a minute to step back and survey the big picture. Like you, it’s easy for me to get so caught up, buried in my tasks, that I lose track of time and feel I have so little of it. But we all have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day. We all just need to use it more wisely.
What are some ways you have found to manage your time better?