When people complain about how they don't have time do things, it's perplexing. They act as if all these tasks and obligations cosmically forced themselves onto their to do lists, and now they are helplessly stuck with them. But the fact is, everything they committed to was a choice they made. Or didn't make. And so, time isn't their problem. Time is the artificial human construct they've decided to blame, but the real reason they can't get things done is much simpler.
INTENTION FRAMING — Put boring but necessary tasks into the wider context of your cherished, personal priorities
This tool is based on the following fundamental human truth. People don't allocate time to tasks they don't prioritize. Period. If something didn't get done, it simply wasn't high enough on the list. Why is that so hard for people to understand? Once you change the intention behind the action, anything is possible.
One of the books in my library about overcoming anxiety offers a helpful solution to this very common problem. The psychologists recommend the strategy of framing, where you find a way to put your necessary tasks into the wider context of your personal priorities. Instead of changing the content of your action, you change the intention behind it. Say your boss asks you to put together a sales report for her upcoming meeting with the investors. To do that work, it will take you approximately one hour. Now, there are two possible ways to respond to this assignment. You could roll your eyes, bemoan your need to catch up on everything, complain how never seem to have time to do anything, and begrudgingly complete that boring task during your lunch break. In which case, it will feel like a drain and reinforce any feelings of overwhelm. On the other hand, you can frame this work as an opportunity build leverage for your boss, create value for your company, listen to your favorite band's new album, and prove to yourself that you're not a victim of time but the source of it. Same action, different intention. Now you've reoriented yourself around your work so that your mindset impacts the experience, even if the outcome is the same. Think that hour might feel different?
Time is relative. It's just a construct. It expands or contracts according to our mindset. If you don't seem to have time to do things, put your necessary tasks into the wider context of your personal priorities. That's how you procure meaning in an otherwise meaningless environment. You convert and redirect the activity to meet your own objectives. You move all routes to your strengths and frame work in a way that's most beneficially to you. Who doesn't have an hour to do that?
Create meaning in an otherwise meaningless environment.
Convert and redirect any activity to meet your own creative objectives
Move all routes to your strengths and frame work in a way that’s most beneficial to you
Reoriented yourself around your work so that your mindset impacts the experience, even if the outcome is the same