MSometimes life is like a hamster wheel. Appointments keep track of appointments, texts and emails keep popping up, in the evening you lie in bed and ask yourself: Where did you go today? We have a feeling that we are constantly under time pressure, that we are overwhelmed by too many tasks and above all we can’t find time for what we actually think we want to do. Whether you’re starting a new hobby, taking more time for yourself or tackling new and exciting projects at work.
Dore Clark, Professor at Duke University In Durham, North Carolina, she says, “We make decisions that keep us busy, even though we say we don’t want to.” And she thinks there are three reasons behind this — and why it’s so hard for us to get out of this cycle of overload, as it was described recently in “TEDxTalkin Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Dubbed an “expert in self-renewal” by the New York Times, the acclaimed writer advises clients such as Google and Microsoft and is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review. Clark focuses her work primarily on professional competence. It should be clear to everyone that a single parent with a full-time job naturally has a lot less time than someone without family obligations.
We believe that not having time makes us more important
Anyone who’s always busy should matter – right? According to Clark, for many people the shortness of time is a status symbol. I have based this thesis on, among other things, study the Columbia University From 2016. It showed that – at least in the USA – people with constantly busy schedules get a higher profile and worthy image. In contrast to the nineteenth century, when not having to work was considered fashionable, overtime and constant availability are now considered good manners.
The study’s lead, Silvia Bellisa, associate professor of marketing at Columbia Business SchoolHe compares the scarcity of time to the scarcity of luxuries in the generations of our ancestors: “The rich middle class has increased the demand for luxury goods, and because of mass production there is an increase in the supply of these goods. When everyone has access to these luxuries, they stop sending signals,” she explains in one of them a tool From Columbia Business School. As a result, according to Belisa, we are ourselves – and more importantly our time – we are luxury. And just as with traditional luxury goods such as handbags or valuable jewellery, our perceived value is based on scarcity.
So, if you say “I’m really busy” today, you’re actually saying “I’m so important, so needed”. That is why it is difficult for many to let go of this feeling. It scratches our ego and our self-esteem. After all, who wants to feel useless?
By the way: Not having time is not considered elegant in all cultures. For the study, Belleza interviewed Americans as well as people in Italy. There, respondents associated permanent employment and status less with one another.
We are afraid of the unknown, so we prefer to deal with known problems
Clark sees fear of the unknown as a waste a second time. Because the human psyche struggles with decisions where we cannot predict the outcome. This applies to new projects, for example: Which of the possible approaches is correct? Will the chosen path work or will we fail? With the tasks we already perform routinely, we are better able to assess and reduce risks – and therefore we often subconsciously prefer to stay in positions we know, the expert explains. So, if you want to dedicate yourself to a new challenge but don’t know exactly where to start, you better answer all 295 unread emails in your mailbox first, honestly. So you didn’t have “more time” for what you actually wanted to do, but you didn’t dare do anything that could go wrong.
It gets worse with questions that are not just about individual projects, but are of an existential nature. Questions that have the power to turn our lives, perhaps a little silly but comforting, upside down. For example: Am I even in the right job? Have I chosen a career that pleases me, or is it really better to do something else? “We’re still too busy not to have to answer these questions in the first place,” Clark explains.
We keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to deal with ourselves and our feelings
The third excuse for Clark’s names is to suppress emotions. After all, if you occupy yourself all the time, you will not have time to deal with yourself and your emotions. one will or the other lovesick Or grief: If you throw yourself at work during or after a very emotional phase, the pain can be well numbed.
“It might help for now, but it’s not sustainable,” Clark says. On the contrary: you fall into a pattern of fatigue and a constant desire to get busy – and when in doubt, you burn even more. Really without addressing his feelings.
How to get out of the hamster wheel that does not need time?
All the unpleasant points, after all, none of the issues addressed can be blamed on someone else – it is important to take a critical look at yourself. So Clark advises taking a closer look at the source of the constant “busy”. Are they pent-up feelings that we don’t want to deal with? Is it the fear of daring to do something we might fail at or that we can’t predict how it will happen? Or is it the fear of not being needed, of not being important?
“We have to look closely and wonder what really drives us to make a different decision,” advises Clark. It’s about creating a space to breathe deeply and think. After all, absolute freedom is the ability to choose with whom and how we want to spend our time.
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