If I had 5 cents for every time I said this, I would be writing this from my yacht in the Caribbean!
One of the best gifts I ever gave myself was to stop wishing for more time. Since I’ve done this, I am much happier in general, not just at work. “If I only had one more hour to work on… (Fill in the blank—presentation, spreadsheet, preparing for a meeting).” I used to hate deadlines. Not because I couldn’t live by them, but because it meant whatever I was working on had a hard stop and I knew if I had just a little more time, I could make it better. Frankly, all this did was make me very frustrated and unhappy.
None of us can manufacture time.
During my sabbatical, I thought about all of the things that made me happy and unhappy at work. I knew if I was to be happy at work again, I had to do more of the stuff that made me happy and try to minimize the stuff that made me miserable—such as cursing the ticking clock!
I decided to look at time as a finite resource like any other limited resource and not as something to keep wishing for. Wishes are for shooting stars and blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, not for getting through my workday. I now look at each deadline and consciously decide how much time I will allot it. Preparing for a meeting—one hour. Writing a presentation—three hours. Talkin’ to my peeps—four hours. For me, this has been unbelievably liberating. I get it wrong; sometimes my estimates are poor. I trade. I trade time on task A for time on activity B. And sometimes I trade free time for task A, especially if it’s something that gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.
I still don’t get it right all the time and I find myself slipping back into old habits; I would love to learn how you tackle this!