Is Too Much Time Worse Than Not Enough Time?

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The college I work at gave us a bonus of time off over the Christmas holidays. This meant hours of time to catch up on all the writing that I wanted to do!

Wow, it’d been so long since I had such a prolonged stretch of open time to do what I always wanted to do.

Did I get caught up in my writing?


Instead, I backed up my computer, shredded old files, tidied my office, went for walks, took naps, washed the dishes, visited friends, watched movies…basically anything BUT write.

It seemed that with all the extra time to do whatever I wanted to do, I was at a loss of where to start.

What to do with all that time?

I set two main strategies that help me to be more productive:
1. Create a to-do list
2. Set a time limit to a task

1. Create a to-do list

I write out all the projects that I have on the go as main headings.

Then under each heading, I create smaller, easier tasks to complete it.

I draw a little checkmark box beside each activity so that I see my progress.

Breaking down the bigger projects into smaller steps helps to take away the overwhelm.

Checking off the boxes as I go gives me a sense of accomplishment and encourages me to keep going.

2. Set a Time Limit

After creating the list of things to do I like to give myself a time limit to do it. For example, 10–30 minutes per task works well for me.

At the end of 30 minutes, I physically stand up and go do a different activity.

Personally, I like to interchange project work at the computer with housework or other physical chores.

The chores are also given a time limit or limited to one chore at a time — wash a sink full of dishes, put on a load of laundry, water the houseplants. Then return to the computer and choose the next task on my to-do list.

This system works well for me to stop the overwhelm. Taking little steps bit-by-bit helps to complete the job and fill the time in a productive way.

Do you have a system in place to fight the overwhelm of too much time?


(First featured on Medium platform July 17, 2021)

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