Are you frustrated by a lack of time?

Frustration occurs when is a difference between our expectations and reality. This can occur in any area of our life, but seems to be very common when it comes to our time.

Maybe there are a few items that always seem to roll from one to-do list over to the next, or there's a hobby that you never seem to get around to. Maybe your family wishes they could see you more. A fitness goal, a business idea, a book you'd like to read, art you'd like to create, people you'd like to see, etc. We may start the day, week, month, or year hoping that we will be able to fulfill these desires and reach our goals, but how often do we just end up frustrated? Anxious and angry that we didn't get to them yet again. It may even be more then an internal dialogue with pressure, accountability, and expectations coming from other people as well.

That's just my underwear backpack.

That's just my underwear backpack.

For example, I never had a problem with working long days or staying later-than-usual at the office for something that needed to get done. But on days that I told my wife when I would be home, when I'd been looking forward to going home, finding out (at the end of the day) that I'd be stuck at work filled of my body with a tangible, hot frustration. There was a disharmony between my expectation and reality. It's like underestimating the amount of underwear you need to pack for vacation. Just bring a few extra pairs. It's better to have them not need them, then to need them and not have them.

Unfortunately, we can't always expect the worst because that would be pessimism. I'm an advocate of optimism and high expectations. However, to be an optimist with high expectations requires you to keep these three things in mind:

1) Expect the unexpected.

Of course this doesn't mean that you should know the future and be able to predict all unexpected events. (They wouldn't be unexpected if that were the case.) It simply means that as you set your expectations, you anticipate that you will need to be flexible.

I used to be frustrated every single day because I would plan every single minute of the day, first thing in the morning. As minor distractions, interruptions, and problems piled up, I got further and further behind. The further behind I got, the more frustrated I became (and certainly the less pleasant I became). But that doesn't mean we should throw our expectations out the window and just go with the flow. I do maintain a high level of appreciation for getting things done and being productive, so here's two ideas that may help you be prepared for the unexpected:



Plan the week, not the day.

Set deadlines, and have a general structure for your day, but keep your most important to-dos on the timeline of the week instead of the day. Watch out for distractions and procrastination, but allow yourself the flexibility to solve problems and have relationships without being a schedule Nazi.

Search for the silver lining.

In every negative or annoying situation there is some good. In some cases it may only be new strength to persevere, new wisdom for dealing with people, new ideas for avoiding future problems, or some other gained insight or virtue. If you can learn and apply something to avoid the problem in the future, great. If not, appreciate it for the character it's building. Use this perspective to diffuse frustration.

Sometimes, there's no stopping your glass of dirt from exploding.

Sometimes, there's no stopping your glass of dirt from exploding.


2) Accept what you can't change.

There will always the things that are out of your control. That's one of the the most difficult things for a human to accept—a lack of control. But most of our life is out of our control. We can make plans and gather wisdom, but sometimes even doing the right thing can lead to an unpleasant or unexpected outcome. Save your energy for things you can change. People die, machines break, babies cry, and bacteria spreads... know that these things are part of life's scenery, and be ready to overcome what you can't avoid.


3) Change what you can't accept.

Is your job consuming too much of your time? Talk it over with your boss. No luck? Get a new job. Don't think you can find one or you're not sure what to do? Get some new skills, get a career coach. If it really matters, you'll make a way; if it doesn't, you'll make an excuse.

See, the thing is, you usually don't have a lack of time. You either have a lack of hope or your priorities are out of whack. Take the time to decide what you want your life to look like. What do you want from life and what do you need from life? Are you meeting your needs in a way that gives you joy and peace? Are you doing things that really matter every day?

Why can't your wants and needs overlap into common activities? I think they can. I think you can take control and do the things you love in a way that meets your needs and gives you a sense of joy and peace in all you do.

What thoughts would be going through your head if you had 60 seconds to live? Those might give you some indication of the areas that you need to make changes in. And you can make those changes.

Feel free to hit me up!