7 Reasons Why You Are Time Poor


July 21, 2010   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

It is a common complaint, “I don’t have enough time.” In fact, I’d bet that you said these exact words in the last 48 hours.

“I don’t have enough time to…

…finish my work,
…get in shape,
…start a hobby,
…spend with my family.”

While we all have the same amount of time in the day, why is it that some people seem to accomplish a ton more than you? From the President to the postman, people all have the same time frame but accomplish loads more than in a single day that you seem to accomplish in a week.

Why is this? Why do some struggle and drown in their obligations, while others make the impossible seem effortless? Why are some people time poor while others are rich? Which are you?

The only difference is how you choose to spend your time. Here are some things to consider so that your days are loaded with accomplishments.

    1. You Don’t Say No
      One of the biggest mistakes people make is to take on burdens that do not belong to them. When you don’t say no, you find yourself doing other people’s work. This happens both in the workplace and in day-to-day life. Ever find yourself doing someone else’s job simply because you couldn’t say no? 
  • You Don’t Know Your Obligations
    How can you tell if you are going to overflow your bucket if you don’t know how full it is? It is common to over commit your time if you are not aware of all your obligations. You need to make a commitment list. List out and budget all of your commitments from work, life, and community. Only then can you know your remaining time balance. 
  • You Have Too Much Life Friction
    Life Friction is self-inflicted time management. In other words, you create your own crises by your own actions and disorganization. Life friction means extra re-work, increased stress, and wasted time. Ever get back from running errands and realize you have to go back out because you forgot something? 
  • You Lolly-gag
    It is amazing that some of the same people that complain they don’t have enough time are the same ones that lolly-gag and waste it. Ever see that person who arrives late to work and then spends the next hour and 15 minutes getting ready to start working? You don’t need to spend every second of the day under a stopwatch, but be aware of when you waste time whether it is gossiping, surfing the Internet, or recapping the weekend for the third time. 
  • You Don’t Put Your Priorities First
    Ever finish a busy workday only to think to yourself that you didn’t get anything important done? If you don’t put your priorities first, it won’t matter how fast you work, you may never get to what is important. 

You have to be able to say, “I am not going to do this, because something else is more important.”

  • You Try to Do Everything Yourself
    We all have the same number of seconds in the day. At a certain point, the only way to get more done is to have someone help. But, some people have trouble letting others do work because they feel that no one can do it as well as they can. 

This can be particularly troublesome when a leader will not let their team do their duties and instead tries to take on everything themselves.

  • You Don’t Finish Things
    When you don’t finish tasks, you are only creating more work for yourself. Tasks undone actually create more work for you. They take more time to pick back up when you return to them. They create unnecessary complications when you leave them to the last minute. 

Ever leave an expense report undone for a long period of time? It ends up taking 5X’s as long to complete compared to if you had done it right away.

What habits or behaviors do you have that keep you time poor?

Written on 7/21/2010 by Craig Jarrow. Craig writes the blog, Time Management Ninja, whose mission is to “Win the battle against wasted time, disorganization, clutter, and all other things evil…” Grab his RSS feed for some great productivity tips. Photo Credit: bareknuckleyellow

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