Stacks of tasks: where does all the time go?

Our+checklists+and+busy+calendars+can+weigh+us+down+if+we+don%E2%80%99t+take+the+time+to+unwind.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Stacks of tasks: where does all the time go?

Our checklists and busy calendars can weigh us down if we don’t take the time to unwind.

Our checklists and busy calendars can weigh us down if we don’t take the time to unwind.

Our checklists and busy calendars can weigh us down if we don’t take the time to unwind.

Our checklists and busy calendars can weigh us down if we don’t take the time to unwind.


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It’s that time in the semester when it feels like the only thought is “busy, busy, busy.” We have task after task that piles up and it’s far too easy to add on more. We fill up every spare moment with things that need to be done, cramming them together back to back, day after day.

Of course, we can’t just do work without some play. So we flood our calendars with added activities with friends, since that’s healthy, right? Well, yes, relationships with others are healthy and important. But so is sleep, and where did that go? Oh, right, we rearranged it on our schedules.

Sometimes I wonder at our society. We are so focused on the next task and the next, striving to prove to ourselves that we are successful and productive and that we have friends and that we have hobbies and talents. Each new entry on our to-do lists is evidence to this fact. Yet every task is also another drop in a bucket we’ve made too heavy to carry.

What would happen if we stopped trying to fill all the blank spaces in our calendars? Maybe take some tasks off of our lists? It seems wasteful to do less when there is so much that could be done, but the blank time reserved for relaxation may be our saving grace.

There is a definite advantage to true free time. One is that we learn to trust others more. How so? Say that a person works a lot of hours because “they need my talents.” That reasoning implies that none of the other employees are capable of those tasks. They are untrustworthy in this manner. Perhaps some of them are. But all of them? Unlikely.

This attitude is also one of pride. We are in essence saying that the world needs us to be productive 24/7. Not true. No one, ever, needs us to be that productive. In fact, that’s not at all productive. But we want to be needed, and so we buy the lie that busyness equals worth.

Two, we get to engage in activities meant to rejuvenate so that we are more rested and creative when we tackle our next task. These activities must be restful, however, otherwise we’ve missed the point.

Three, as mentioned earlier, we get to have more time available for friends, family and lovers. We no longer run the risk of cramming them into our limited availability when we have purposefully made time for such activities. We can focus more on quality interactions when we aren’t jumping from event to event.
Four, we have the flexibility to reschedule. After all, how are we supposed to reschedule when there is no other free time to move it to? Or shall we play a game of musical calendars?

We, as a society, need to stop promoting the idea that productivity only comes through tasks and busywork. We need to stop with the belief that someone with effective time management skills is one that has learned the skill of efficiently filing their days with back-to-back tasks. Free time is productive to our mental and emotional health and we can’t continue to ignore that. If we do dismiss it, we know nothing of time management at all.