We all get the same number of hours in the day. You want to make them count towards living your best life. However, when you feel under pressure by time getting away from you with tasks and activities conflicting with one another, the result is that you become less active, eat poorly and ultimately your health deteriorates.
Therefore, all that increased pressure to complete tasks turns into decreased happiness with higher levels of anxiety and stress. Furthermore, you become less productive fuelling even more stress and anxiety.
Society shows that the perception of happiness is earning more money and you end up sacrificing your precious time with jobs and activities that make wealth. We are sold on the perception that there will be time later, when we get older, when we retire, to relax and enjoy life. But then we get on the hamster wheel of life to keep making money for that ultimate prize your free time continuously gets pushed onto the backburner.
Yet, research has shown that having more time to do what you really love increases your happiness – regardless of your income.
As you know, your time is precious, so you want to spend it on doing things that adds value and progresses you towards your personal goals. So how do you find time to do what really matters? You don’t have to do more but you simply need to redefine your priorities to make better use of your time.
Here are four ways you can reflect on what matters most to you and what you really value and to use your time effectively to create happiness and a life of abundance.
Reset your mindset
Spend a day being mindful of your thoughts and the recurring messages you send yourself. Then actively reframe those thoughts. A good exercise that is extremely powerful is replacing `I don’t have time to do that’ with `It is not a priority’. When you prioritise tasks you soon discover what is really important to you. This will reduce the feeling of overwhelm and panic which in turn negatively impacts on your wellbeing.
Focus on things that matter
There are only 24 hours in the day – no more no less – but what you choose to focus on makes all the difference to your happiness. Reflect on your core values and whether they align with your daily activities and actions. The Eisenhower matrix is a great tool to assist you prioritise tasks to get you closer to your goals. Eliminate unimportant tasks to free up time for the things that matter by delegating, rescheduling or removing things from your list altogether. When you place high value on activities that have greater meaning, you will trat them with more respect and prioritise them ahead of tasks that do not serve you.
Be in the moment
Time only matters right here in and now – in the moment. You cannot change the past and no amount of careful planning can control the future. Reflect on a time when you felt that time stood still. A time where you were fully engaged and in a state of flow. Your mind was stimulated, focused, time ceased to exist. However, if you are caught up in planning over and over the time passes in a blur. Being in the moment allows you to experience and appreciate every step you take in achieving your goal.
Create healthy boundaries
It’s okay to want to dedicate time to helping others, but you also need to accept that there are limits to what you can reasonably do. You can be generous with your time, but it doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everyone and everything. Take a moment to choose what tasks you accept and how they move you closer to achieving your goals. Review your core values each time you visit a task or responsibility. How do your values align to it?
It is also important to consider the expectations you place on yourself. While perfection is great, it also means you may be spending unnecessary time on a task that is already to a high standard. Consider how much time you may have lost on over-perfecting a task. Time that could have been dedicated to your wellbeing, you family or catching up with friends? Creating boundaries also means silencing your inner critic to acknowledge when the task has been completed and moving on to using your time more effectively.