Why None of Your Productivity Tricks Work at Saving Time


Why None of Your Productivity Tricks Work

Tired & headache asian businessman work overtime

Are you at the effect of time? What I mean is do you feel like you never have enough time? Or, maybe you’ve had the experience once of having too much time and then you were bored?

Nearly every leadership or entrepreneurial type magazine I read has an article each month about how to get more done and not feel so stressed about it. Personally, I am a fan of David Allen’s approach to handling all the stuff I would like to get done, but there are more than a million others.

And all of these approaches have great ideas such as writing things down when you think of them; only putting certain things on your calendar rather than everything; making appointments with yourself; delegating; and just overall becoming more organized. But for some reason, despite employing all of these tricks, we still find ourselves right back in the same boat.

In my experience, the reason we still find ourselves sitting idly in the middle of unorganized chaos is our mindset. In other words, our relationship to time.

Consider how it feels to start your day already thinking that you won’t have enough “time”.  We think about time as if it is a tangible object that we could somehow run out of or use up completely. Naturally, Einstein knew better.

I was first exposed to this idea of Einstein time by Dr. Gay Hendricks, in his book, The Big Leap. The book itself is about being willing to live in our genius every day and use our gifts in the world.

The chapter on time seemingly comes out of nowhere. And truthfully, I didn’t get it at first. But then it hit me that I would never have enough time to do the things that I didn’t want to do. Ah, now I get it.

I saw time as a thing that was controlling me rather than as something that I was influencing with my mindset.  I would wake up in the morning, look at my schedule, and already consider my day a disaster. I was in fight or flight mode before I even stepped into the shower. (And let me tell you, showering in that way makes for a very messy experience!)

The impact on my behavior was obvious, too. Have you ever gone into a meeting feeling like you don’t have enough time? It’s a great foundation for a thriving relationship 🙂

Our mindset truly matters. And it is something that we usually overlook.

Mindset drives how we feel about things in our life, including the idea of time.  Dr. Martin Seligman explores this in his book Learned Optimism, in which he explains the difference between an optimistic explanatory style and a pessimistic one. Dr. Carolyn Dweck explores a similar idea in her book, Mindset. Both of these authors and the science supporting their claims emphasize just how powerful our perspective is in determining the results that we encounter in our daily lives.

This same understanding applies to our relationship with time. Shift your mindset to recognize that you create your experience of time, and suddenly that to-do list feels much less overwhelming.

Here are 4 simple tricks to start shifting your mindset around time:

  1. As you look at your to-do list (This assumes you have one. If you don’t, step one for you will be to create one!), breathe, and own that your perspective creates the relationship to your tasks
  2. Ask yourself: Is there anything on my list that I truly don’t want to manage? Then, consider the ways that you might delegate this to someone else.  For example: mowing the lawn. Perhaps you would rather have that handled by someone else this week so you can have the extra space.
  1. Challenge your belief of not having enough time by doing things exactly the way you want to do them and see what happens. Does your life become the disaster that you thought it would become?
  2. Allow yourself to renegotiate any agreement you’ve made to have something done by a certain time. If you look at your list, and you know right now that you aren’t going to make the deadline, send an email requesting to get it to the person at a different date. (Yes, you can do this! And you’ll feel so much better in acknowledging it rather than trying to ignore it.)
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