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There’s No Time!

There’s No Time!

Speed and greed are today’s obsessions. To do more and do it faster isn’t something, it’s everything. People are richer than ever in material goods—at least in the Western world—but it still isn’t enough. They run faster, yet find they’re still desperately poor in available time. This state of material riches and time poverty doesn’t seem to make them happy either. Mostly, it makes people feel stressed and breathless: they’re always running flat-out to juggle the demands on them and never have time to spend on anything except work.

Do you have enough? Do you have time for everything you want to do?

I’m prepared to bet that, for nearly everyone, the instant answer is a loud “No!”

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Wait a moment, though. Is that answer correct? Before you jump to the conclusion that you don’t have the time you need, ask yourself some questions:

  • How are you spending the time you have?
  • Where is it going?
  • Do you have too little time—or too many unprioritized expectations?


Our ancestors had exactly the same amount of time as we do. Days, hours and minutes haven’t become shorter. There are still 12 months in a year. What’s changed is mostly our expectations about what we should accomplish in the time available to us. As we cram more and more into our lives, doing everything faster seems the only way to square the circle.

Time management isn’t the answer. That’s about increasing your productivity, so you can do even more. Do you really want to go faster? I don’t think you need ways to do more in less time. You need ways to do less in the time you have; to cut out low priority activities, so you have enough time to enjoy the rest to the full; to slow down enough to think about your life and focus on what truly matters.

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Mankind faces many challenges in our crazy, violent world. The greatest isn’t dealing with threatened global warming, or international terrorism, or even our thoughtless depletion of natural resources. All of these are symptoms of people’s constant obsession with having what they want, regardless of its effect, and having it now. Speed and greed are the enemies of thought, care and consideration for others. Hasty decisions are usually bad ones. Rushing from getting to spending is no way to live.

Even schoolchildren in America are encouraged to do everything: join in, be a leader, play soccer, Little League, music, Scouts, swimming, ballet…on and on seemingly without end. When do they have time to be children? In the manic desire of their parents to make sure Freddie or Emily doesn’t miss a single opportunity lie the seeds of a lifelong obsession with getting, grabbing and moving on.

STOP. Right now. What can you give up? Yes, that’s right. Give up, drop, stop doing. Ignore the commercial quick-fixes: the medications to lower anxiety, help you sleep, cope with stress, mask depression and frustration. They’re only going to dull the pain. Listen to how it really is.

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To push more and more into the same amount of time, you must either go faster or cut corners or both. You cannot increase the time available. Soon, all that rushing and skimping will produce stress, anxiety, more problems to add the ones you have already. You’ll have done many things and enjoyed few. You may not even recall half of them. You’ll need to work harder and earn more just to feed your constant demand for consumption as a way of life. You’re headed for burnout.

There is a clear, simple alternative. Slow down, expect less, accept fewer demands, do them properly and give yourself time to enjoy life. Your aim should be to wake up every morning knowing you’re living the life you want to live; and living in a purposeful and satisfying way. Take the time you have and use it well. Instead of being like a hamster in a wheel, running and running and going nowhere, try settling simply for what matters most to you and ignoring the rest. My guess is you’ll find you achieve far more that matters. You’ll certainly get more enjoyment from whatever you have.

Here are some recent articles I’ve written that may be helpful to you:
Saving Time?
And The Magic Ingredient Is…Time
Pushing The River
Will Time Management Help?
No Time to Smell the Flowers?

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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