“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”.
H Jackson Brown, Jr American author of Life’s Little Instruction Book
A couple of years ago, I noticed I was expending a lot of energy worrying that I didn’t have enough time to do everything. I would get stressed and anxious, not to mention grumpy and irritable. This despite the fact that, based on past experience, I knew that the chances were that I would get everything done. So why was I always in such a state of anxious overwhelm?
I was so determined to tackle this that I specifically took the issue on through personal development work. I signed up to coach on a full-on 14 week programme. On top of my already busy working life, I travelled 2 hours each way for weekly 3-hour evening sessions and three full Saturdays, provided telephone coaching for four people and ran a project in my local community.
For the first couple of months, I thought I might explode! I was constantly wired and on edge and took it out on everyone around me. And then one day I found myself claiming that I didn’t have time to have a challenging conversation that I needed to have.
And that’s when I finally got it. I wasn’t stressed about time. I was using time as an excuse to avoid stuff.
There was no reason to stress about time. The reality was that I’d made commitments (to myself or others) to do a certain amount of stuff, and I’d got a certain amount of time to do it in. Either the stuff I’d committed to do could be done in that time, or it couldn’t.
If it could, great. Nothing to stress about.
If it couldn’t, it couldn’t. And there was some action to take. I could tell someone I wouldn’t be doing something after all. I could ask someone else to take something on. I could reschedule something. I could think of a quicker way to do something. I could find a way to combine two activities.
I realised that, when I seemed to be worrying about time, what was really happening was that I was afraid of failing.
I was afraid that I wasn’t up to at least one thing I’d committed to do. I was afraid that I was going to mess up, make a fool of myself, be revealed as a charlatan…Everyone would know I was stupid and inadequate.
Seeing this gave me power over it. Now, whenever I notice myself stressing about time, I know to look deeper. There is always something I’ve committed to doing of which, for some reason, I’m afraid. Usually because my demons are telling me I’m not capable.
That gives me my power back. I can thank my demons for sharing and get on with what there is to do. Often I do the thing I’m most scared of straight away. Or get in touch with someone who can help me with it.
Then I get on with my day in a state of serenity, instead of anxiety.
If you worry about having enough time to get everything done, is that what you’re really afraid of? I’d love to know if what I’ve shared above resonates with you.
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