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STRONGER TOGETHER: Why time spent on life's daily hustle doesn’t have to feel like a loss

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Last updated:
30/05/2022

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on time and how spending it doesn't have to feel like a loss.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Noticed yourself or others talking about how quickly the year’s gone? If so, you’re not alone.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

In today’s fast-moving world, it feels like we’re losing time – we simply don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do the things we need to do.

These feelings of loss associated with how quickly time flies, are aligned to a scarcity mindset.

It’s easy to lose yourself in this state-of-mind amid the daily hustle of work and life. Without realising it, we start to articulate this as experiencing loss or lacking something. These thoughts can be insidious, and they can creep into other areas of our life.

Viewing ourselves, our situation, and opportunities that come our way through a scarcity lens, can seem like everything is a ‘win-lose’ situation.

But what if we turned this into a ‘win-win?’

For many, their waking hours are largely consumed by work, with precious little time available to check off things on the ‘to do’ list, much less engage in wellbeing activities like exercise or socialising.

So, is a lack of time the issue, or the feelings associated with how we do spend our time?

Everyone gets 24hrs a day, and a choice about how that time’s spent. Work, childcare responsibilities, volunteering, medical appointments and household duties dictate our time be spent in certain ways, but this isn’t necessarily a loss of time.

By using the phrase ‘I get to’ rather than ‘I have to’ flips the script on loss and instead immediately increases the value to something we want to invest our time into. 

Deliberately scheduling your time or imagining every minute has a dollar value, and therefore needs to be allocated well is another means to reduce this feeling of scarcity.

As is, including engaging activities that leave you feeling less busy and stressful, especially when feeling ‘stuck in the daily grind’.

What we want is to experience the feelings that come with these changes, and the shift in mindset from scarcity to a place filled with abundance.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on our perception of stress and urgency.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Perception is one of the many simple complexities that can influence our emotional response to a task, situation, or circumstance.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

We might notice our perception of stress or urgency becomes elevated due to external factors, usually things happening to us that we can’t control or avoid. These may be work deadlines, social activities or family responsibilities. What seems like an endless to-do list can evoke a heightened sense of stress.

Currently, for me, it’s yellow post-it notes. I’m reaching for them whenever I want to jot down something I need to do, have an idea to research, etc - you get the gist. Anything and everything lands on a sticky note, and by the end of the week, I’m swimming in a sea of them!!

This ocean of notes sends a wave of stress over me, I feel like I’ve got a mountain of work to do and can start to feel overwhelmed.

But we can reframe this perception into what is real. For sticky notes, I use the 4-D’s (do it, delete it, delegate it, or defer it) at the end of the week to determine ‘what is’ - regaining a sense of reality and control. My goal is to compile one list of priorities that guide my focus for the following week.

While sometimes our stress is real and we need to respond immediately; sometimes, it’s from external factors as a matter of perception. And we have the power to change our perception.

When familiar feelings of stress and urgency start to rise, pause, and take notice of what you are experiencing. Perhaps ask yourself ‘what else could be true?’

My sticky notes could be a sign I’ve had lots of inspirational thoughts, or I’ve had some great conversations with people who’ve inspired me to note something down.

They don’t necessarily contain things I need to do.

Giving yourself space to get clarity and shift your perception can reduce the impact on your emotional state and start to reduce the levels of stress you’re experiencing.

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