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10 Reasons Why Some People Feel Like They Don’t Have Enough Time

10 Reasons Why Some People Feel Like They Don’t Have Enough Time

Do you feel like you’re overwhelmingly busy? Like you always don’t have enough time and your schedule is ever growing? Many people today feel that way and constantly lament a lack of time. If you are like them and barely have time to do even simple tasks like cooking a meal or completing your daily to-do list, something is wrong. Here are ten reasons why some people always feel like they don’t have enough time and what you can do to avoid it.

1. They don’t rise early.

The modern world we live in runs largely on a 9-to-5 schedule. Waking up early gives you an advantage over people who sleep in. Numerous studies have actually correlated waking up early with success. Analyze the lives of the most successful men and women, and you will find that almost every one of them starts their day early. People who don’t rise early are the ones most likely to complain that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that they want to do.

2. They multitask a lot.

You might think that you are getting more done and saving time by multitasking, but studies show we’re not the brilliant multitaskers we think we are. Research conducted at Stanford University, for example, found that people who multitask are less productive and waste more time when switching between tasks than if they had stuck with one task until they finish. Moreover, multitasking damages the brain. The human brain is simply not capable of focusing on multiple tasks at once.

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3.  They don’t track or budget their time.

A litany of productivity experts agree that tracking and budgeting your time is vital to taking control of your day. Record ALL your appointments, deadlines, and everything in-between. Analyze the actual time you spend on each activity with what you think is the best amount for each. You will discover just how much time you’re frittering away and get a chance to reevaluate, budget, and monitor your time. People who don’t budget and track their time are the ones who wonder where time has gone and can’t understand why they accomplish so little at the end of each workday.

4. They are not organized.

People who are disorganized not only waste time looking for misplaced items, but also lower their productivity and hinder their chances for success. However, if you are organized, you give your productivity a real boost and are able to create time for the things and people that matter in your life. Spend a little time up front planning your day and keeping things neat and tidy. This way, you will know exactly what items you have and where they are located, which can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

5. They don’t prioritize.

Most people have a prioritization problem. They don’t rank tasks in order of importance or make decisions on what’s most important in their lives, which explains why they always feel like there are not enough hours in a day. Think about your core objectives and all the different things you want to do and then figure out what is important to you. Do not start and plug through every task until you’ve asked this question: “Do I really need to do this now?” If you don’t need to do it now, don’t do it. Tackle high priority tasks first and then turn to the other things. Prioritizing ensures that you make the most efficient use of your time.

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6. They are easily distracted.

Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and author of Driven to Distraction, noted that many people today have “culturally generated ADD.” What he means is that we have way more tantalizing, easily accessible, shiny things available to us 24/7 than ever before. It is not surprising, then, that many people are easily distracted from their core goals and end up lamenting that they never have enough time.

Lock yourself somewhere quiet when working. “Unplug” and concentrate on the task at hand. That way you will avoid being distracted and sidetracked by the cacophony of voices, text messages, e-mail and social media notifications. If the people around you are the source of distraction, ask them politely to let you finish what you are doing first before you attend to them. Don’t be afraid to say “No” to anyone who constantly interrupts you when you are working.

7. They don’t have a daily routine.

Woody Allen, who has written and directed fifty films in almost as many years, once said that 80% of success is showing up. In other words, when, how, and where you show up are the most important factors for accomplishing more and achieving success. And the key to ensuring you always show up is to establish a daily routine that you follow no matter what, including a healthy sleep routine.

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People who don’t have a routine that they follow every day are susceptible to distractions and likely to miss deadlines and tasks that need to be done. Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and HuffPost’s Arianna Huffington, for example, all have a daily ritual and every night before bed they “unplug” and read a book. Sandberg says her bedtime ritual helps her unwind and allows her sleep better and wake up re-energized the next day.

8. They’re too concerned with being fast.

Oliver Burkeman, in his enlightening book, The Antidote, tells of a Formula One pit crew – a group that depends on fast, efficient teamwork – that realized they were not at top speed when they concentrated on speed. Rather, they achieved their best times when they emphasized functioning smoothly as a group. The same case applies to time management and productivity. People who are too concerned with working fast or those who act rashly instead of “smoothly” end up not as productive or even as fast as they can be.

Focus more on functioning “smoothly” rather than quickly. You will improve your productivity and get more done in good time. Besides, life is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to finish the race (and help others do the same), not merely to cross the finish line first.

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9. They don’t review their schedules regularly.

People who don’t review their schedules, plans, and habits regularly often end up wasting their time and energy on things that are no longer helpful to their cause. This is especially true when their priorities have changed – as they inevitably will with time – but they keep doing the same things they’ve always done, expecting different results. Check with yourself weekly, monthly or even yearly to ensure your schedules and efforts align with your overall goals and objectives. Change or alter your course as necessary so that unnecessary tasks don’t eat up your time and clog your day.

10. They are negative and have bad attitudes.

People who are always saying that they don’t have time or are too busy to read, workout, travel, etc., won’t have time to do those things. However, people who speak positively, stay organized, and prioritize are able to do much more. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time to spend with my family because I have a hectic schedule,” it would be better to honestly say, “I could spend more time with my family, but work is a greater priority.” That is essentially what you mean when you give excuses for a lack of time.

Everyone has exactly 24 hours in a day. If others can get work done and still find time for family and friends, so can you!

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on April 23, 2019

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

What Is a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

1. Get Outside of Your Head

If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

I see this in so many areas of life:

When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

“Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

S.M.A.R.T.

is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

The Bottom Line

These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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