Are you always busy but feel like you never get anything done? That’s because you’re wasting time, here’s how to work smarter not harder
“I’m good thanks. I’m Busy. BUSY.” “I know right… where does the time go?” “How is it February already?!”
Do any of these sound familiar? They’re phrases we say and hear all the time. Time somehow seems to be slipping away. Despite feeling every hour is filled with busy-ness, we don’t ever seem to be making the progress we want.
Let us explain two ways that time is getting away from you and what you can do to gain it back.
You’re trying to multitask when you can’t
As we mentioned in one of our previous WellFest posts about switching off, multi-tasking is a big myth. No-one can do it – not men or women!
Multi-tasking is really just switching between tasks. Yes you can sometimes do that really quickly. It’s only a split second as you switch. But when you’re doing that over a sustained period of time, or trying to do three, four, five or more tasks at once, that gap gets longer. Add in a side-helping of stress? That switch time stretches even longer.
Guess what’s getting done in that time you take to switch? Absolutely nothing! It’s totally dead time that you’re wasting. Your time deserves better.
You’re living in default mode
Did you know the conscious mind only controls 5% of what you do? The rest of your actions – your routines, habits, the way you take a shower or brush your teeth, the route you take to work and even how you make your tea all happen by default. How often do you actively engage your brain to do these things? Probably never. They’re all taking place in default mode.
It’s so easy for time to drift past not being fully present with what we’re doing. Social media is a great example of this. Ever popped onto Instagram to follow up on a message, and found 20 minutes later you’re mindlessly watching Instagram Stories? That’s a prime example of living in default mode. Your sub-conscious mind has put you on the easiest path rather than your conscious mind choosing your activity.
So what is the answer to getting this time back?
Mindfulness is simply awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment. It’s something you can practise and get better at. And you will have to practise because right now you’re used to doing lots of things at once and living in default mode.
How do you start to be mindful?
It doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make a big difference. Try this right now. Put down your phone or step away from the screen and take a deep breath. And just simply hold the whole body in awareness for this moment.
Just aware of what the body is feeling. Just present. Noticing the entry and exit of the breath. Not having to interfere with it, but just simply feeling it. Be in your body, right here, right now. How does that feel?
Taking a simple pause like this regularly throughout your day will make all the difference to staying present and not letting yourself get distracted trying to do multiple things at once.
Want to keep doing it? Try setting a reminder on your phone at random points throughout your day to do just this. Take a breath. Notice your body. Observe how you’re feeling and be in the now. Because this is your time, don’t let it slip away.
We go into lots more detail about mindfulness on The Reset retreats. For more information visit reset.me