Time, energy, willpower—these aren’t always at our fingertips when we want them. But what about when we’re maxed out on all fronts? What happens to us when we’re low on time, energy, cash, willpower – lots of things? Scarcity. And, scarcity can be a trap.
The truth is, we only have so much bandwidth every day. When things are pulling at our resources, it leaves us less able to tackle other challenges: thinking about work while we’re at our kid’s soccer game, not fully paying attention on a date because we’re anxious about paying bills, or feeling overwhelmed to the point of losing focus. Being short on a resource with no slack to help us carry the burden places us in a scarcity mindset.
A scarcity mindset is when we’re overworked, overwhelmed, and can’t seem to focus. It’s a mindset where we’re stuck in our own anxieties or too focused on something else to pay attention to the task at hand.
But we don’t have to live in a scarcity mindset. In fact, we can try and shift our mindset from scarcity and focus on abundance. By reworking our schedules, rethinking our priorities, and changing our focus we can live abundant lives – lives full of extra time and extra energy to spend with the people and things that matter most.
Remember Everything Doesn’t Matter Equally
When we’re feeling maxed out by conflicting priorities, it may be time to sit down and rethink what we’re expending our energy on. While multiple things are important, the fact remains – everything doesn’t matter equally. But if you act like it does, you’ll quickly find yourself in a situation where you feel pulled in a million directions.
Instead, you need to sit down with your goals and prioritize. Use the focusing question to help:
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it
everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
By focusing on the ONE thing you can do now, you’ll figure out what your first domino is on the pursuit to your ONE thing. Breaking things out from there, domino by domino, will create a path towards success. From there, you can figure out what your 20 percent is – the things you should actually be focusing on and handling that will move you down the road.
The truth is, most of what we think of as “priorities” are often just noise. They’re things we can handle by email batching or leveraging out to others. When we’re feeling like our time and energy is scarce we need to really focus in on what our 20 percent is and let the rest go. This way, we can reallocate our time and energy to what matters most, giving us the bandwidth to focus.
Take Time to Time Block
Once you’ve figured out what your 20 percent is, you need to time block. A time block is a set period of time you schedule with yourself to focus on certain tasks. Instead of hoping you’ll work on lead generation or spend that afternoon getting your writing done – you schedule it. That way, you know exactly when and how long you’ll have time to focus on what matters most and keep the ball rolling.
If your new to the idea of time blocking and setting aside large chunks of time seems challenging – and it probably does if you are trying to balance working from home, teaching your kids, and keeping your household in order – start small. Set aside fifteen-minute increments to work on various tasks. That might not seem like a lot, but with kids to teach and all of us working from home –fifteen minutes can be a huge accomplishment!
Moreover, time blocks are also a great way to get support from those around you. By creating a time block and explaining it to your coworkers, friends, or family – it gives you the opportunity to get both accountability and buy-in from those around you. Your boss will know not to schedule a meeting during your morning time block, or your partner can handle tasks with the kids while you get some emails done. Essentially, it lets everyone know exactly where you’ll be and what you’ll be working on, and helps them respect you and your time.
Build a Bunker and Get to Work
Building a bunker can also be a great way to get yourself out of a scarcity mindset. A bunker is a place where you can get your work done, tailor made to help you be your most productive self. Bunkers can be incredible tools to help us get our best work done.
If you’re wanting to build a bunker at home (or the office), consider the following:
- Feed Your Head
One of the best ways to get the most out of our days is to make sure we’re getting the right nutrients to fuel our minds and bodies. Make sure your bunker is stocked with snacks that will keep you going throughout the day. Not only will having something healthy to munch on give your brain a boost, it’ll also prevent you from getting up in boredom searching for food. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
- Pick the Perfect Temperature
It may seem like a trivial thing, but the temperature has actually been shown to have an impact on productivity (particularly if you’re a woman). Don’t pull a Goldilocks in the middle of your time block – make sure you’ve got the AC set to the perfect temperature for you to get things done. Or, if you’re in an office or a space where you can’t really compromise, make sure there are things nearby to help keep your temperature regulated. Grab a warm throw or hook up a tiny fan. Whatever it takes to make sure you’re as comfortable and cozy as possible.
- Tune Things Out
Distractions come in many forms, and if you want to get the most out of your bunker you need the tools to help prevent them from cropping up. If you’re in a noisy environment, invest in some sound canceling headphones. Having difficulty ignoring the lull of the internet and social media? Install an app that temporarily blocks your access. Worried about interruptions? Put a sign on your door or near your cubicle, or create an email auto response that lets people know you’re in the middle of a time block, and what time they can expect to connect with you should they need something.
Getting More for Less
The trick to using all these tactics is focusing on getting the most out of our time – not using up all the time we have. When we’re smarter with our time and how we spend it, it actually opens us up to having more time to spend on the things we love. Instead of being stuck in a sense of mental scarcity, we’re reallocating our resources so we can be our most efficient selves. That gives us more bandwidth to focus on the things we need to focus on when we need to.
Abundance is often associated with having more, but when it comes to certain finite resources – like time – we are only allotted so much. If we want to feel like we have an abundance of time, we don’t need to try to do more to get more. We need to do less, efficiently, and get more. An abundant life can come in many forms, but when we are able to home in on our ONE thing, prioritize, and use our time wisely, we get more bang for our buck.
What are some great ways you’ve reallocated your time and resources in the past few months? Let us know on our Facebook page!