It was a regular Wednesday morning – where I always get the train to work. The only difference was that my alarm did not go off.
With 20 minutes to get ready it was a difficult task to get the train – usually it takes me at least 20 minutes alone to get ready!
Almost defeated I was ready to roll over and go back to bed. Then something in my head said “Come on if you are quick you can do this!”
I jumped out of bed, cleaned myself up, threw all my things in my bag, grabbed some breakfast and drove down to the station. When I arrived I expected to be making a mad dash for the train. I checked my watch – I had 2 minutes to spare.
As I successfully sat on the train I thought – “How did I even manage that!”
I realised I had achieved this due to the pressure of having a lack of time. And it made me think – how many times have I step up to a pressure when time has been lacking.
Therefore – can we make more use of our time by having less of it?
Put it this way…
My normal morning routine consists of lounging round in bed for five minutes after the alarm goes off, staggering around in a daze, procrastinating, checking my social media accounts and slowly putting my things together. Eventually I leave
The whole process takes longer because I know that I have more time and can take my time with the whole thing.
This could just be a coincidence, but then I see research suggesting that those working less hours are more productive than people who do more hours. Is this because the people who work less hours have to fit more into them?
I imagine the ones who work longer get more burnt out so they end up surfing the net or gossiping round the office to fill the extra time?
The relationship between productivity and the number of hours worked (Courtesy of Lenstorf.com)
My life has many more responsibilities – balancing a job, a relationship, family a home and all my other personal interests. I have noticed that as my time becomes more precious – I get more done.
Compare this to a few years ago I had very little of these things – I lived with my parents and my job was part time, so I could dedicate my time to other interests and achieve more.
But I didn’t – my free time was spent playing video games and watching TV boxsets. I quite deliberately wasted my time doing activities that I didn’t get any benefits from – perhaps because I had lots of spare time I didn’t appreciate it. Now that I have very little time I make the most of every second!
Will improving the Work-Life balance make me more productive?
I had been thinking once I got into a more financially secure position that I could reduce my work hours so that I can dedicate time to writing, business and other educational pursuits.
But I have observed others who work less time so they can work on ‘projects’ and they don’t seem to achieve that much. I wonder if they fall to the temptation of having a lie-in, watching boxsets and mindlessly browsing social media and Internet forums.
Therefore I am quite content with my current routine of using ‘scarce time’ to end up achieving more.
When do I have scarce free time?
Because my time is previous it is sometimes difficult to assess when I actually have free time to fit in extra things, but when you really think about it, you can find lots of free time in short bursts throughout the day. Here are a few I came up with:
- Use 30 minute lunch break to write a 1st draft of a blog article
- Use 10 minute bus wait to handle any social media accounts
- Use an early morning start to get to work earlier or fit in a workout
- Use time waiting around to read a book
- Use a minute to blast out a load of press-ups
- Delibretly created deadlines so work gets completed (eg I need to finish X by 11:30am)
How do you make use of your spare time? Is there something you could be doing to fit in all your commitments and what you want to do?