Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans-John Lennon
If I asked you whether you were short on time, what would you say? What about the amount of time you spend on work? Or hobbies? Or your work-life balance in general?
Research by John Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey actually suggests that people underestimate the amount of free time they have – the average split between free time and work time is actually very similar and evenly balanced on a weekly basis for the average person. Research has also suggested that we work fewer hours now than in any previous time in history, but why do we feel that now more than ever, we are always ‘short of time’
Why do we feel this way? What are we spending our time doing? Are we trying to fit too much into our free time, hence making us feel ‘pressured’? Could it be that we are rushing to get so many things done, that we feel like we have less time even though we actually have more free time?
The media is certainly guilty of making us feel that we don’t have enough time and suggesting ways that we can save time (usually by buying something). But let’s reflect on how we are spending our leisure time. The average British person spends 21 hours per week watching television. Imagine what else you could be doing in those 21 hours! If you factor in that the average person spends another 8 hours per day staring at media devices (Ofcom), and suddenly some of the potential culprits suddenly become much clearer.
So what is the answer? If you enjoy watching TV and count it as a hobby, then fair enough BUT should you be complaining that you have no time if 3-4 hours per day are spent slumped in front of an electronic box? Give some thought to how you are spending your free time and whether you could make better use of you’re the time available to you.
As well as changing your use of time, how about changing your perception of time?
Consider how a lack of time makes you feel. A perceived lack of anything (time, money…..) immediately causes a pressure, and the knowledge of this lack makes you believe that you will never have enough. This is where the media comes in with the cunning adverts to save you time, money etc.
Most people live in the belief of ‘Newtonian time’ – that time is a physical entity and that there is a finite amount of time in which to do anything – always either too much or too little time! This constant awareness that time is lacking (or in excess) creates an unnecessary pressure which can and probably will affect our well-being.
What about if you changed your perception of time into the concept of ‘Einstein time’? – the belief that time is relative. You create time – it is yours and you claim it, leaving no pressure and reducing the stress. You are the source of time; you are not a slave to time. Try not complaining about a lack of time for a week and see if you feel differently without the pressure.
Keep in mind that reorganising our concept of time produces several benefits :
• More done in less time
• Plenty of time and energy
• Discover unique abilities and how to express them
• Feel good inside
(Reference: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks)
Psychologists Philip Zimbardo and Ilona Boniwell researched time perspectives and how people relate to time. Do you think you are focussed on the past, present or future? They suggest that your time perspective has a direct influence on your feelings of wellbeing – and your decision making and actions that you take as a result.
There are 5 main time perspectives and also an ‘ideal’ time perspective. If you are interested in reading more about time perspectives and taking the ZTPI test (Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory) visit www.thetimeparadox.com/Zimbardo-time-perspective-inventory
By analysing how we spend our time and thinking about how we perceive time, each of us has the potential to increase the amount of time we feel we have and our overall wellbeing. All it takes is a little analysis on our part and a potential shift in our thinking, surely that has to be worth 10 minutes of your time?