Three. Two. One. Happy New Year! You cheer with your friends and family, sharing a bottle or three of champagne.
You’re making your way back to the office for the first time this year. You know that you should be well rested after the holiday, but you can’t quite remember if you ever did find time to put your feet up for a little while and truly relax.
It’s Friday afternoon. You’ve just walked out of your last client meeting for the day and the only question on your mind is “Where on earth did the week go?”
It’s the end of January. You can’t quite work out if you’re relieved or appalled that it’s over.
Terrifyingly enough, it seems as though the world is moving at an ever more rapid pace. With the blink of an eye, days seem to blur into each other, and weeks become a haze. Surely, with all the tech in the world, someone must have figured out a way to make time slow down by now?
Well, not quite. This is largely due to the fact that days appear to speed up the longer you’ve been around because, relatively speaking, a day makes up a smaller proportion of your total living time compared to when you were 6 years old for example. Another joy of getting old, hey? That, coupled with the fact that we end up performing most of our tasks on autopilot (like getting home from work and not really remembering the drive home), doesn’t set us up for a good run.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – there are a few ways that you can keep track of things a bit better.
Taking time to focus your thoughts
Most of the time, our thoughts are racing around our heads with little to no order to them, and we end up performing most of our tasks on autopilot. With everything we have going on in our lives, it’s no wonder we struggle to keep track of everything. Whether it be through meditation, a few quiet moments over a cup of coffee, or list making, taking a few moments to align your thoughts can make the world of difference.
Determining exactly how long tasks will take and allocating time for them in your diary
When life is busy, even the simplest of tasks can be overwhelming. This is often because we haven’t given it any thought and bundled it into the ever growing I’ll worry about this later pile.
Jotting down what exactly needs to be done, and how long it will take to complete will help to solidify that task and make it seem more manageable. It’ll also allow you to create space in your schedule for each thing. Got 5 minutes before your next meeting? Use 2 of them to order that book you’ve been meaning to get for a while now.
Plus, you have the added bonus of a little hit of dopamine when you’re able to cross that task off your list of things to do!
There are a few other knock-on effects of taking the time to focus and schedule your thoughts.
For one, you’ll be more focused. If you already know what you need to get done for the day, and how long each task is going to take, you don’t need to be worrying about them while completing other tasks. Ultimately that means that each task will be getting more of your attention, so you’ll be able to perform them better.
You’ll also feel better because you’ll be able to track how much work you’ve actually been able to complete. In no time you’re bound to be heading into a never-ending loop of positive feedback as you’re able to focus more on the tasks at hand, you’ll complete them quicker, feel better about them, and be more inclined to keep it up.
If all else fails, at least you’ll have your calendar or lists to look back on to jog your memory a little!
So take a moment to breathe, and schedule the things you need to get done. Maybe, with a bit of luck, it’ll help slow time down a little.