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Are you wondering why you never seem to have enough time? Today we will discuss why that is the case and what you can do about it!

In today’s society, some people wear busy as a badge of honor. If you’re not busy, you’re not important/successful/ambitious/working hard enough. 

You need to work 50-60 hours per week, work out, eat healthy, have a social life, read, spend time with your family, do fun things, go out to eat, and more. 

I get it. When you’re working such a big amount of your waking life, there is this pressure to spend the precious hours outside of work effectively. You need to be productive. Whether you’re at work, at home, or on a weekend away. 

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Perceived Lack Of Time

As it turns out, time pressure is largely subjective. 

When a study was done on 7000 Austrians, they found that time stress is simply perceived. People who have the feeling that they are overworked, could change their habits and spend fewer hours on specific tasks to prevent getting overwhelmed. 

Everyone has the same amount of hours in the week. It is what you do with those hours that make you feel like you never seem to have enough time.

It always amazes me when I think about the fact that everyone has the same 168 hours in the week. Me, you, Tailor Swift, Oprah, or whoever. 

This means that you’re not having fewer hours in a day, it just feels like that based on how you allocate that time

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What Gets Measured Gets Managed

So you want to take charge of your time? Tracking your time and what you’re doing is essential for that. Know how long you need for certain deadlines, specific tasks, and how you want to allocate it ideally. 

Measure throughout the week what you’re spending your time on and how you want to spend it. Simply carry a sheet of paper with you where you will note what you’re doing throughout the day in 15-minute increments. Do this for an entire week. 

Compare the two at the end of the week and see where you can improve. Optimize your work and private life this way and you will free up a lot of time. 

When your actual and your ideal time spent don’t align, you know that you need to change something about your behavior. 

If you’re not tracking where you spend your time, you will now know where your time has gone and what you can do to optimize your time on a weekly basis. 

As they say: what gets measured gets managed. 

Set Your Priorities Straight

For many people, it is hard to prioritize tasks in order of importance. If you’re not prioritizing tasks that are important to you and not getting them done at the end of the day, it may feel like you’re not getting anything done.

However, if you want to get that in order, set your priorities straight. Think about what you want to do in your life and what is important to you. 

You should not move things up in your priority list just because someone else thinks they are important. You need to ask yourself before actually starting a task “is this my highest priority at this moment?”. Go from high priority to lower priority, getting the most productive use of your time.  

I hear many people say that they don’t have the time. Yes, you do, it is just not a priority at the moment. 

When you are structuring your life like this, you notice that some things are not a priority at all. Recognize when you are spending your time on them, in order to take back control of your day. 

If this is something you struggle with, read the Four Hour Work Week. I mean, if anyone can teach us how to prioritize, it’s something who works four hours per week.

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Set Up A Daily Routine

In order to assist you with spending your time aligned with your priorities, you should think about setting up a daily routine. 

For example, I used to not spend time on the things I wanted. I noticed I spent hours on social media, my computer, and chatting with my roommates. 

I wanted to work more on personal growth, wanted to start a blog, and wanted to exercise more. 

What did I do? I started a morning routine where I meditate, journal, say affirmations, and write on the blog. Plus, I stopped drinking caffeine and decided to get up early.

This way I was making sure that I spend enough focus on things that I think are important. 

While writing this blog I noticed that my personal time is spent too much on social again and too little on personal development. I will spend more attention on that!

All In All

The most important thing about having enough time is to spend it on things that matter to you. When you are spending time according to your values, you will feel much more at peace.

Measure where you are spending your time and adjust when necessary. Prioritize what you want to do in a day and start with the most important tasks. This way you will be most likely to achieve all that you want on any given day.

Stick to a daily routine to make sure that your energy is high throughout the day. This will make sure you get the most out of your day!

Remember: lack of time is just a perception. When you prioritize and stick to your plan, this can be prevented!

This article first appeared on Radical FIRE and has been republished with permission.