For the last two or three months, I’ve been slowly reading a book called The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. Generally, the book deals with ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which boils down to developing ways to accept and work with feelings rather than struggling with them. I like the book, but there are a ton of ideas to take in and absorb. I want to start practicing some of the techniques, but I usually only think about them at the end of the day.
This brings me to today’s topic: There is not enough time in the day.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this. From morning to night, I don’t complete half the things I’ve planned. In fact, crediting myself with accomplishing half is being too generous. The result? At the end of the day, most everything on my To Do List is deferred until the next day, if not later.
For example, take this morning. I went to the doctor early for a routine blood draw, came back to the house, checked Facebook and Twitter, and went to the gym to abuse a stationary bike for an hour. Now, as I write, I think to myself “It must be about ten o’clock.” Wrong. The clock’s at noon and moving on along. Where did the time go?
My lack of productivity isn’t a result of overwork, at least not because of factors outside my control. My time is scarce for two reasons: I’m overly optimistic about what I believe I can accomplish in a given span of time, and I want to do too many things. These two things alone, by the way, would be enough to land me in the efficiency expert version of hell, if such a place existed.
So here’s what I’ve decided: I’m going to start cutting away unnecessary things. For everything I do during the day, I’m going to ask myself if it contributes to who I want to be. Notice I didn’t say “who I am.” This is because the person I am right now is the man who tries to do everything. He’s a decent enough guy, but he needs focus.