Abundance Is Great, But Artificial Limitation Is Better

Written by Pamela Wagner

Written by Pamela Wagner

@pamelawagnerofficial

Let me make this clear: I am all in for abundance. I love abundance and I love creating abundance. Focusing on abundance makes your life better and any decisions you make. 

A women eating ice cream.

But when we try to work on certain areas in our life it can also hold us back. If you’re trying to save money,  you need to work with limitations. If you’re trying to work less,  you need to work with limitations. If you’re trying to lose weight,  limitations will help you get there faster.

However,  drawing the line is not always easy. Where do you stop from saying, “Oh, it’s just another coffee”, or “I actually don’t really need yet another shirt.”

How do you avoid your brain tricking you and making you believe that you need to buy just another thing when you could live very well without it?

How do you tell your brain not to eat yet another cookie when it’s already laid in a day and you are super stressed out?

How do you tell your brain that it’s not just another hour that doesn’t matter, but that actually doing nothing may right now be the better solution than trying to get done yet 5 other things?

Clocks

This is where Parkinson’s law comes into play. Most likely you’ve heard about it before. And, it is most likely also something you’ve forgotten about. It is something so simple, that when we hear it, our mind goes, “Yes, of course”. But like with most good advice, without implementation it is useless.

 So, let this be your last reminder and final push to really implement it.

While we have had many studies show us that one is not productive beyond 5-6 hours per day,  most people are still stuck in a 40 hour work week. 

If you’re an entrepreneur you probably stopped counting. 

If you are an employee, chances are high you are working at least ten hours more every week than you should.*


So how do we close the gap from working 5 to 6 hours efficiently everyday to overworking 10 hours every week?

A clock

1. Do a reality check.

How many hours do you really work every week? Include all the phone calls that are not measured in your work time but have to do with work. Include all the 15, 20 or 30 minutes here and there on the weekend that you spend thinking about or finding solutions for work problems. If you don’t track your work time yet, it is time to do so. for the next 4 weeks, track your work time as meticulously as you can. Use either your phone to simply turn on the timer when you start work, or any kind of team or project management platform that you use.

2. Write down the top 5 tasks that take most of your time.

Now, once you have clarity over how much you actually work every week, wright down the top 5 tasks that you spend most time on. For some people these may be the same tasks every week. for others these might vary. For example, if a big part of your work is doing reports, then write down how much time you spend doing reports.

A women taking notes in a notepad

3. Write down 10 smaller tasks that are either repetitive and take your time, or that took a lot of time but are rather to keep you ‘busy’ but not essential to the business.

Most likely, part of this list will be email. Do you check your email every hour? Multiple times per hour? Every time a notification comes in?

Write down everything else that can be considered a smaller task. Tasks that are either repetitive every week or that you have to do but don’t really enjoy doing.

Now, at this point, you may be shocked at what you spend your time with. Or, you may face feelings of overwhelm or disappointment. You may wonder how you got to this point. All that doesn’t matter. Whatever it is right now, it just is. Nobody is here to judge your current situation, you are here to fix it. And ,that’s all that matters.

Before we continue with setting up your own artificial limits, let me just quickly clarify what Parkinson’s law actually means.

Work expands to fill the time period available and allocated for its completion.”

So, if you give yourself 4 hours to complete a task, then that is what it will take. If you give yourself 30 minutes to complete a task, then your mind will do everything so that you get done with it in those 30 minutes.

This is one of the main reasons that I love working at a coffee shop so much. By going there only for 2 to 3 hours, I artificially limit the time I have to complete certain tasks. And there was no way my brain could trick me to do anything otherwise. Flights are similarly effective for my work, if not even more so because often I don’t have internet. I know I only have so much time to complete certain tasks and I have to finish them at a certain time. I simply cannot just keep sitting and working in an airplane once it’s landed. I have to take a break to get out and take care of other stuff.

An hourglass

4. Know the 3 ways to artificially limit your time.

Limit the time you have available per task.
Limit your work hours and stop working at a certain time.
Put your work in two blocks of hours and shorten those time blocks.

Which one is best?
For employees, we find that limiting the time you have available per task is most efficient.
For entrepreneurs, we find that it is most efficient to shorten time blocks^

Of course, you can also try out each one and see what works best for you.

5. Decide how you will limit your time in the next week.

Once you have decided, which kind of artificial limit you will implement first, write it down. Put it on a Post-It note, in your journal, write it on your mirror – whatever it is, write it down in a place where you see it often.

An hourglass

6. Decide how you will make sure that you keep those limits.

Are you going to set an alarm? Are you going to ask your spouse to be an accountability partner? Are you going to work from a coffee shop every morning for 3 hours? Are you going to take out your dog at certain times? Whatever it is, get very concrete on the action that you will take in order to increase the probability that you will keep those time limits.
Keep in mind, change is very scary for the mind. So, it will do everything to trick you and make sure you don’t change. Subsequently, these steps are set up for you to succeed with the highest possible chance. They eliminate any kind of obstacle that your mind could put in your way.

7. Put it in your calendar.

I don’t know how you function in life, but I cannot without my beloved calendar. Anything that is not in my calendar is not in my mind. So, put those time blocks or time limits into your calendar. Mark them red, make them extra big, do whatever it takes so that these reminders are literally in your face and you cannot miss them.

So, what are some attainable goals here? Start off with working just 5% less. The goal is to give your mind a sense of accomplishment and establish a habit. The latter one works best if done continuously and creating small wins in your brain. These dopamine hits will increase your chances to drastically decrease the time you work and get more done in less hours.

Let us know:
What’s your favorite tactic to limit your time? What works really well for you in reducing the time you work every week and increasing the time you spend living life?

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

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Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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