Most of our pain points revolve around time. We wish we had more time for our kids, more time for our hobbies and interests, and more time for ourselves. But it feels like we never have that time because of our careers. Somehow, we’ve allowed work to dictate a massive portion of our day's flow.
We can’t find or create more time, time is what it is. But, we can reframe how we think about time and use it to our advantage. When you’re wondering how to get more done or how to fit everything into your day, it’s time to think beyond 24 hours. There are certain ideas that we have been conditioned to believe about time that is outdated and no longer serve us.
Here’s a new way to think about how you use your time so you can get back control of your day.
1. Your Time Does Not Belong to Others
The biggest mental hurdle we must get over is the idea that others control our time. We’ve been conditioned to believe that working for a company means they can dictate to every level of specificity what our day-to-day life should look like. And on the flip side, we feel obligated to appease other people when our presence is requested.
The truth is, you may have more control than you think.
You Can Decide How You Use Your Time
Outside of work, you can release yourself of the obligation to appease and show up for things that don’t serve you. We often feel an obligation to use our personal time for catching up with other people. And while we should have our social lives, we must not get carried away with the constant need to make time for others' needs.
You don’t have to attend that dinner or go to that office party. You can choose what’s more important to you and use that to ensure you’re only doing things that are ‘worth’ your time.
Work Time vs. Personal Time
We’ve placed work into a box. We’ve decided that work happens between the hours of 8am to 6pm and that’s it. Then, our personal lives revolve around that. But it’s certainly not true.
During the pandemic, there was an awakening. Many of us began to understand that time is fluid and there is no right or wrong way to use it.
Work and your personal life do not have to be defined by the 9 to 5 structure. You can switch up the way you think about when you’re supposed to do what because you can do whatever you need to at any time of the day. As long as you meet your goals.
And even if you have to work within the hours set forth by your company, you have to make the mental decision that it doesn’t define the rest of your life. Rather, it is simply a part of your day. You chose the position and you must choose to accept it as a part of your lifestyle.
When you change your perspective and realize that you’ve made conscious decisions involving your time so that you can have XYZ at your disposal, then you’ll feel more liberated in how you control it.
2. You Can Set Boundaries & Ask for What You Want
Many of us underestimate the flexibility we could have in our careers. When you’ve built a track record for excellence in your work ethic and you are getting the work done, you have access to certain liberties that many others may not.
Tap into your privilege and decide on what you need to make your schedule work for you. Then, ask for what you want. Be reasonable and be sure that the work always gets done, but know that you have some input in how your work day looks.
When we think about time as a construct, we’ve been conditioned to believe that time is predetermined and fixed. But time ebbs and flows. In order to take back control of your time, you have to shift your mindset from feeling that your time is determined by your work, that your time belongs to others, and that you have no control over what your days look like. Time is yours to do with it what you will.