Do You Understand Why You’re Not Maximizing Your Time?
“I don’t have time!”, “I’m overwhelmed!”, “I’m busy!” These kinds of phrases are heard every day around us. In fact, who among us has never uttered them? This just goes to show how time management is a constant challenge for many people. In a world that experiences rapid evolution year after year with new technologies meant to make our lives easier, people strangely often complain about not having enough time.
Both at work and at home, many individuals struggle to focus on their daily activities, making it difficult for them to achieve their personal and professional goals. But why do so many people in our circles feel like they’re losing control of their time? Why do we complain about not having enough time when we all have the same 24 hours in a day?
While new technologies have contributed to improving the quality of life and productivity in various fields, they have also become significant sources of distraction and interruption, preventing individuals from being truly efficient and productive.
With the rise of mobile social networking applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, and more, people are increasingly connected in real-time. However, this real-time connection is not without consequences.
Indeed, due to the numerous notifications generated by these applications, many people are glued to their smartphone screens all day long, descendants of the good old phones that were once used solely for making calls. Ironically, with these modern phones, we hardly make calls anymore, but we stay connected to each other through mobile apps that end up taking more of our time than traditional phone calls.
We complain about not having enough time, but how can we be productive when we check our smartphones with every notification? When we rush to respond to every email we receive?
These days, multitasking is on the rise. More and more people boast about being able to do multiple things at once. They claim they can work while checking their Facebook account or emails on their smartphones. But the reality is quite different.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2006, multitasking can lead to a reduction of up to 40% in a person’s effective work time during the day. According to the APA, “even though time losses for switching from one task to another are very small, sometimes on the order of a few tenths of a second per switch, they can accumulate to total significant minutes when people switch tasks repeatedly.”
So, you understand that one of the secrets to being more productive is simply to learn to do one thing at a time and do it well. “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.“
We all know this popular maxim. But how many of us realize that the best time to carry out our activities is today, right now! As the wise Hillel once said, “If not now, when?” This underscores the importance of valuing the present moment and making the most of it. Whether we like it or not, time that has passed is gone and cannot be reclaimed. Tomorrow doesn’t truly belong to us. But today is the only day we have to make a difference in our lives.
You’ve probably understood that another bad habit that disrupts our productivity and undermines our efficiency is procrastination. The tendency to postpone things until tomorrow is not a new phenomenon. Going back to ancient civilizations, we can see that in 800 BC, the Greek poet Hesiod was already advising his contemporaries not to delay their work, saying, “The gods do not bring all men’s plans to fulfillment. You know that.“
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman consul in 30 BC, found procrastination detestable in the conduct and everyday management of public affairs. Later, a poet living in 1629 left us with an interesting quatrain about procrastination: “To-morrow business we may fairly kill, But lazy idleness is worse, and still. Neglected moments have a long despair; He who uses time right, escapes the snare.”
So, we can see that from ancient times to the present, humanity has always faced challenges in managing time. If this situation persists, it simply proves that mastering one’s time is crucial to living a happy life. By a happy life, I simply mean a life in which our achievements positively influence not only those around us but also future generations.
Yes, to be able to accomplish things that significantly impact the lives of others, we must have a different perception of time. We must realize that we don’t have all the time in the world.
When we make this shift in our mindset, phrases like “killing time” and “passing the time” disappear from our vocabulary. We start thinking in terms of legacy: what will be the contribution of our lives to future generations? What will we leave to our children and our children’s children?
The reality is that our time on Earth is limited. This limited nature of our earthly sojourn should lead us to reconsider our actions. How do the actions we take and the activities we engage in bring us closer to the ultimate goal of contributing to the creation of a better world? This should be our constant concern and question regarding the use of our time.
This text is an extract from the book “5 steps to (re)take control of your TIME and your life” written by Henri M. Missola