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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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