It really doesn’t take that long

How having 24 hours in a day is saving us from ourselves

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

It’s so easy to prioritize “productivity”. But then again, who doesn’t like the feeling of getting things done. We’re often in a rush to work. To start early and finish late. We’ve trained ourselves to believe that is what it means to be productive. That’s an interesting notion because we all know better.

We know that a human being can only do quality work for so long. This of course differs from person to person. But we try to squeeze out as much output as humanly possible. When we do so, we are so tired that we fail to realize that the things that we feel like we’re too busy to do are the things that help keep us going.

It’s easy to see the “lost productivity of 30 minutes” if we want to exercise. But we ignore how that 30-minute exercise affects the quality of what we do. It’s easy to see how we could have spent 15 minutes “being productive”. This blinds us to the positive short and long-term results of reflecting on the work we’ve done and how we’ve approached it.

You find they’re so many things that really don’t take that long. Reading, exercising, reflecting, writing, communicating with loved ones. These are all things that can recharge us as opposed to leaving us feeling depleted.

Our obsession with squeezing as much time as possible out of our day is slowly killing us. It feeds our anxieties, leaves us feeling drained, and encourages us to be less physically active. Do we only have 24 hours in our day? Yes. But when we a realistic about what we can achieve in those hours we are balanced about what we do. We are able to do all the things that help us work sustainably.

The 24 hours we have in our day aren’t our enemy. Time is our ally. It helps us regulate what we can do at a healthy pace. When we spend our life fighting against it and trying to work way too long we only harm ourselves. From that point of view, we can see how having 26 or 28 hour days would just lead us to earlier graves because of how we work.

Be grateful you only have 24 hours in your day. When you add a little exercise, a little reading, a little reflecting, and a lot of time spent with loved ones, you can adult for a lot longer. Adulting will feel a lot less like a chore. This is because your life will be more balanced.

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