Time Scarce? How to Overcome a Scarcity Mindset & Have More Time
Sarah Mae (SMae) |
When you’re feeling time scarce these thoughts likely sound familiar…
“I NEVER have enough time!”
“I’m ALWAYS running out of time”
“I just don’t have the TIME to [insert thing]”
“If I had MORE time I would be able to do x,y,z”
This is a Time Scarcity Mindset. If you’re constantly wishing for more hours in a day, then you know what I’m talking about.
The good news is that you can overcome a scarcity mindset and today I’m sharing 6 ideas to help you have more time, so you can have a life outside of your biz!
Table of Contents
How to Overcome a Scarcity Mindset
For most of my life, I had a little voice in my head telling me, “I will not have enough time.” Not enough time to start my business, not enough time to write a blog, not enough time to take photos… The list goes on.
I know part of it stems from my parents always starting things and not finishing them. Even today, both of their houses are filled with unfinished projects. My desire to make sure that I always finish what I start makes it difficult to just do it sometimes. Especially when I am perpetually worried that I will not have enough time.
This time scarcity mindset held me back from a lot of things in my life, and overcoming it is hands down one of the best things I have done for my overall productivity.
So today I am sharing what helped me stop feeling so time scarce.
#1 Conquer Time Anxiety
Time anxiety is the nagging feeling that you never have enough time and/or are not doing enough with the time you do have.
There are 3 types of Time Anxiety:
- Current Time Anxiety = the feeling of not having enough time to get everything done today. It results in feeling rushed, stressed, and overwhelmed.
- Future Time Anxiety = worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. It is the “What If?” thoughts that cause procrastination. What if I start something that I don’t have enough time to finish?
- Existential Time Anxiety = the feeling that time is slipping away. Worrying that you won’t have enough time with your loved ones, or that you’re not doing enough meaningful things with your time.
It often starts as teenagers, when we are lovingly told to “Stop Wasting Time!”
Teenagers are taught through FEAR tactics to “manage” their time. All while teachers, parents, and extracurriculars are making unrealistic demands on their time and imposing their priorities. It’s no wonder this leads to adults having a poor relationship with time.
The more you worry about time, the more time feels like something you need to worry about. You literally wire your brain to worry.
Depending on your current biological age, you likely have AT LEAST another 30+ adult years on the planet. That is A LOT of time.
To conquer time anxiety, you want to watch your language around time. Stop yourself saying “I don’t have time” The more you tell yourself you don’t have time, the more you believe it, until you’re living in a constant state of feeling time scarce.
#2 What Even IS Time?
To have more time, you need to understand time.
One of the most powerful questions I’ve ever been asked is, “What is Time?”
It seems so silly, but when a coach asked me this I had an epiphany – Time is nothing.
Well, it’s not nothing. But it is a social construct that does not actually exist the way we think it does.
Believe it or not, the word “now” means nothing beyond your approximate surroundings: in universal terms, now is a non-existent concept. When you’re watching the sunset, the sun is already set—because it takes its light approximately 8 minutes and 19 seconds to reach our planet! 🤯
Without understanding time as a social construct, it’s easy to see it as something that is happening to you rather than as a tool that you have to utilize. Yet, humans created time to manage ourselves within communities. How else would you make an appointment to see your doctor? Just line up outside their office? Of course not.
In this light, it is not about “time” management – it’s about “self” management.
#3 Time Management is a Misnomer
Let’s consider that made-up concept of “time management” for a second… Can you actually “manage” TIME? Perhaps if you’re Dr. Strange, then yes. However, for the rest of us mere mortals, of course not.
Since time is a social construct that you have zero control over, calling it “time management” is really just setting yourself up for failure.
You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself within it.
Self-management is defined as taking responsibility for your own behaviour and well-being.
Let’s extend this to include living your life consciously through goal setting, planning, and, most importantly, consistently following through on what you say you’re going to do.
If you have strong self-management skills it means that you understand your responsibilities in all the different categories of your life and you do what you need to do to fulfill these responsibilities, without blaming “time” when you don’t get things done.
#4 Realize that YOU are NOT Busy!
YOU are not busy. You FEEL busy.
Let me say that again… Busy is something you FEEL – NOT something you ARE.
Busy is an emotion. According to neuroscientist Dr. Sarah Mckay, “Emotions are not reactions to the world. You are not a passive receiver of sensory input but an active constructor of your emotions. From sensory input and past experience, your brain constructs meaning and prescribes action.” This means that you can take control of your emotions by practicing new ones just like you practice anything else.
Ever wonder how successful people appear so busy all the time but not frazzled and stressed?
This is it. It’s a super important mindset shift.
So the next time you are FEELING busy, take some deep breaths and remember to check in with yourself and how you are perceiving this busyness.
#5 Plan Ahead
How many unused agendas and planning apps do you have lying around? They always start with the best intentions and then trickle off. It is human nature, we’re wired to take the path of least resistance, which means not having to schedule things and/or do things at a certain time.
Thing is, you know planning is essential for business, so why would it be any different for life?
The 2020 American Time Use Survey showed that entrepreneurs, on average, spend about 6.51 hours a day working. With an 8-hour sleep that still leaves 10 hours a day for other activities – or 70 hours a week (more if you take weekends off).
Planning deliberately ahead of time allows you to decide how you want to spend those hours instead of reacting to whatever is going on around you. The best way to plan ahead is to make a list of all the things that you’ll get done in the day.
Then, take those things and commit to them into your schedule. Anything that does not fit, check-in with yourself to make sure you really want to do it. If not, cross it off the list –Yay! Done!
#6 The Sharpie Rule
What happens when you schedule everything and then don’t follow through?
It’s no different than every other relationship. When someone tells you they are going to do something and they do not do it, do you trust their word? No. The same goes for the self, every time you promise yourself you are going to do something and you do not do it, you learn not to trust yourself.
However, the best part is that the opposite is also true. Every time you DO follow through, you learn that you CAN trust yourself. So you have to commit to it and stick to it, which may be hard at first, but eventually, it will become second nature as you rewire your brain to trust yourself.
But what about those times that I just want to be spontaneous and do whatever I feel like doing in the moment!?!?
Rubbish! No, you don’t because if you are always doing what you feel like in the moment you are going to be sleeping, scrolling through Social Media or watching Netflix. I am not saying to never do those things, just do not do them during the time you have scheduled for the things you want to do.
The key here is that this schedule is written in sharpie, which means you cannot change it. So you need to be realistic when you’re scheduling tasks. It helps to underpromise and overdeliver with yourself, so if you think it will take an hour, schedule an hour and a half!
Remember: the commitments you make to yourself are the most important commitments to keep!
When you’re feeling time scarce it can seem impossible to have more time. This is why it is essential to overcome a scarcity mindset.
Beating time anxiety, shifting my concept of time and time management, and understanding that I am not actually “busy”, I feel busy and I can change that, are all mindset shifts that helped me have more time.
More practically, planning ahead with the Sharpie Rule will literally allow you to have more time by making better use of your hours.
What action are you going to take from reading this article? Try writing down three takeaways before you run off to the next thing, so you maximize the time you spend reading this.
Thank you for being here, I hope these ideas help you feel less time scarce as well!.
+ Is TIME your biggest productivity roadblock? Or would you be best focusing on something else to create more biz+life balance? Take the FREE Entrepreneur EQ Quiz to find out!
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