There are Never Enough Hours in a Day

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The Anxiety of Running Out of Time

Have you ever had one of those days where you want to get a lot done, but also know that a lot is happening around you which will result in you not being able to finish everything you planned to finish. I am going through one of those days just now. It’s these days where I feel that I never have enough hours in a day. That thought stresses you out, and that stress causes you to worry even more. It paralyzes me and makes me postpone doing the work even more. Which will eventually lead me into a rabbit hole of worries, self-doubts, and fears, that completely take over my day.

It’s this rabbit hole that takes away many hours of our days, which makes me feel like there are never enough hours anyway. But here is a thing to ponder on. Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves by wanting to do too many things within 24 hours, or are 24 hours overall too few hours to get anything done? I doubt this world was created with the idea that each day will have too little time to get anything done. After all, God created the entire earth in 7 days, he even had time to rest. So that makes me conclude that our anxiety of time is created by wanting to do too much in the time we are given.

So where does this anxiety come from? And why are we creating it? I feel that this is something that has been part of us, humans, for centuries now. This need, to always strive to have more, and do more in our days. It has been booming ever since productivity, and productivity hacks have been exploding on the internet. But is it such a great thing to do more in your day? Or should we do less? Well, Let’s get everything sorted in this article.

Part One: Why There is Never Enough Time

In this life, there is a lot to explore and do. Things to create, to innovate, to improve. But also experiences to live through, trips to plan, experiments to try, places to visit, things to try. And that list can go on and on. That’s both the beauty and issue of living. There are billions of things to try, explore and do. And we can experience only a small percentage of those. Maybe not even 1% off everything this world has to offer. It would take us many lifetimes to experience it all. The beauty of that is that there is always something new to try, an adventure to go on to keep our lives exciting and gorgeous.

On the contrary, knowing that there are so many exciting things to do we might get anxious about the idea that we will never get to do all of them. Let me give you an example:

You might want to write a book one day, but you also want to create your own coffee brand, go to Mexico for more than a year, buy a house in France and renovate it, and you want to run a successful business teaching people about the beauties of coffee.

Well, that’s a lot to do and achieve in a lifetime. Let alone achieving it within a year, or a few years. Which most of the time is the standard we hold ourselves to. All these things we want to achieve are amazing goals to strive for but at the same time, they make us feel like there is never enough time. It makes us feel like we are running out of time and have to work harder, putting more stress and pressure on ourselves.

It’s not that there is too little time in our days, and lifetimes to do everything. It’s quite the opposite actually. There is too much to do in the time we are given. Which is a much more pleasant thought if you think about it. Knowing that we have enough time, but that we have to pick and choose wisely which things to pursue in that time and which we don’t. So this is why we feel that there is never enough time. It’s not that the 24 hours we have each day aren’t enough, it’s that our to-do lists and dreams have grown bigger by the day and this makes us perceive our 24 hours as less than we used to have.

When in fact it has always been the same, and that is the illusion of time we hold for ourselves. Thinking that some days there is too little time, and others we have an abundance of time. It’s all your perspective. It’s all determined by the way you feel. If you feel peaceful your days will feel long and fulfilling. If you are stressed and pressured the time you have feels shallow and short. This realization changed the way I perceive my days. It made me aware of the anxiety, and pressure I was creating for myself.

It was never about having too little time, it has always been about having too many things to pursue and do. That’s why we believe we never have enough time, or we feel like we have more than enough time. It’s all a matter of awareness and wisely picking the things to pursue and do.

Part Two: What is it You Don’t Want To Do

Today as I was worrying over not being able to finish all the tasks on my to-do list I thought about this paradoxical way of choosing what to do. Instead of choosing what to do, I picked the things I didn’t want to do. And to my surprise that created a lot of peace in my mind. It was as if crossing out the things I couldn’t do created brain space for me to focus on the things I did want to do. Create space to be filled with joy instead of stress and anxiety.

This paradoxical way of picking what to do in some strange way helps us to enjoy the things we can do. The reason why we feel anxious and stressed about the time we have is that we want to do too much. That creates a sort of pressure that we have to accomplish everything on our to-do list. We could then say to ourselves let me just focus on one task at a time, which has helped me over a large number of years. But this different way of picking what to do actually creates more space within your body and mind to enjoy them. Why?

If we just focus on one task at a time we often keep worrying about all the things on our to-do list anyways.

Because if we just focus on one task at a time I found myself often worrying about all the things on my to-do list anyways. I wasn’t able to fully focus on my task all the time. But by picking the things I wouldn’t do I created space for myself. Room to breathe and be more peaceful. And that room resulted in me doing more than I at first planned on doing. The only reason for that is because it’s the worrying and stressing over things that make us lose a lot of time throughout our day. That lost time makes us feel bad and sparks the feeling of not doing enough and feeling anxious. But if we scrap things off our to-do list intentionally we create space for ourselves. It’s a sort of trick for our brains.

Doing less gives us room to breathe and a feeling of serenity and peace.

If we know we have to do more we get anxious, but if we know we have just scraped off some of the items on the list, we know we have plenty of time. Doing less gives us room to breathe and a feeling of serenity and peace. The paradox here is that choosing what not to do will create space for you to do more. Isn’t that wonderful?

Funny enough this morning I was reading ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma and in there he shared a small practice to do each morning. It’s one that I wanted to share with you because it’s a daily habit that is similar to what I just shared with you. The practice is very simple. Each morning before starting your day, create some time for yourself about 10 to 20 minutes to sit in solitude and ask yourself “What is it that I would do today if I would know tomorrow I would die?” And then write all the things that come up. In minute detail. Like I want to enjoy my morning coffee, I want to call my mom and dad, I want to finish a chapter of my book, I want to enjoy a walk in nature. And then do that. These are things that are close to your heart, that transcend our thoughts. These are the things that are gifted to us via the heart. Our intuition.

That intuition is far more powerful than our brain can ever be. So following your intuition is the way to go if you want to stop feeling anxious about the time you have in your day. It’s both choosing the things you deeply want to do today, and the things you don’t want to do that together make you feel fulfilled and complete as you go through your day. One of the objections you might give me is that you can’t do this. That you have obligations like work or school. To that I say, if those aren’t on the list why are you doing them anyway? Life is too short to do that which you don’t like. So start creating a plan for yourself to get out of these obligations and start living the life you want to live. The life that is engraved into your heart.

Part Three: Chose Wisely

My anxiety and stress of running out of time have been transcended by these two practices. To pick the things I don’t do, and the things I will do. They allow me to chose wisely and make the most of my time. This has allowed me to enjoy more of my day. It’s why the catchline of today I lived is “Make the most of it!”. I forget this sometimes, but there is no shame in that. It’s actually by forgetting this sometimes that the philosophy of making the most of your time gets deeper ingrained in my being.

Make the most of your time by choosing wisely what to do, and what not to do. The way to do this is to listen to your heart. Are you getting excited about it, or is it stressing you out? Are you anxious about it or are you looking forward to doing it? I found that there is no such thing as running out of time or having too little time. There are only too many things to do, and too many ideas to pursue that make you feel anxious about the limited time we have each day. And that’s actually what the anxiety wants to teach us. It wants to remind us of the limited time we have, the few hours each day, and the limited years on this earth. That reminds us of making the most of each minute, hour, and day.

It’s an invitation of our mind, body, and soul to chose wisely the things we want to do, and don’t want to do. The world has a vast amount of things to do, and we can never do all of them. So instead try to enjoy the things you can do, and make sure the things you do are 100% aligned with what you want to do. It’s not worth it to give your precious time to something you don’t want to do.

There is a plan for you, a plan written within your heart. Follow that, make the most of the time you are given. Scrap the things you don’t want to do, and pick the few things you do want to do. Worry less, for that worry is only taking away your energy and time in life. Close your eyes now, and pick the thing you want to do next. Go and do that now. Because today you lived. Make the most of it!

Thanks for reading lovely soul. I hope you enjoyed it and got some value from it. As always remember to smile, and if you have any worries, questions, discussions on your mind are sure to contact me with them. Either via email at daan@todayilived.com or via Instagram @today.i.lived enjoy your day today. Make the most of it!

Rise With The Sun is a weekly memoir to life. Each Sunday I send out a newsletter that radiates growth and optimism in the life we are living. Each newsletter contains three thoughts that highlight the positive change and growth in ourselves, society, and the world. So you can start your week energized and alive!


To balance out the energetic start of the sun I slow down and recap the week on Friday with Set With The Moon. Shining my light on all the articles, podcasts, and changes of the past week. I might even throw in some free enhancements, like ebooks and such. So you can go into your weekend relaxed, and accomplished.

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