Denise Landers

Article Summary:

Cutting back on your possessions may free you from some of the demands on your limited time.

Cutting Back on Possessions: The Paradox of More

"I wish I had more time."
Is there anyone who has never thought that? There is no question that the pace of modern life soaks up every minute of the day and still leaves many things undone. Yet if you delve a little further, you might find that it is not all society's fault. The lifestyle you choose can increase this dearth of time.

You work more so you have more money. When you have more money, you can:

  • Become involved in more activities.
    You book more social activities. You help in the community by joining volunteer groups and serving on committees, all of which adds more on your calendar. More people expect more time from you.
  • Improve your lifestyle.
    If you have a larger house, it takes more time to take care of it or more contractors to hire who can help to maintain it. Adding another car or a boat is something else to keep up, with more appointments for maintenance. It takes more insurance to protect these things, so you have to add more work hours to be sure you can continue to afford them.
  • Increase your personal possessions.
    When you have more space to fill, you buy more items to put into those spaces. To buy these pieces, you have to do more shopping. If they break, you have to find time to get them repaired. A lot of the purchases you make, especially electronic equipment, come with a learning curve, so you need time to study them.

The more spending you do, the less money you have in savings. You start to worry about whether you have enough of a reserve to cover emergencies and whether you will have enough money to retire. This leads to more stress over the years.

It is wonderful to live in a society that gives everyone the opportunity to earn money and have a good lifestyle, with all of its accompanying privileges and possessions. You work hard and you deserve to buy special things for your efforts. The challenge is to recognize the point where your enjoyment of your lifestyle and possessions starts to decrease as the pressures of added time requirements associated with them increase.

Sometimes the answer to finding more time lies in simplifying your life. Before you buy another item, be sure that the purchase fits one of these two categories:

  • You need it.
    How much use will you actually get out of the new purchase?
    Do you already have something that works well and you are just replacing that with a newer model?
  • You love it.
    Is it something that fills you with pleasure when you see it and that you will treasure it for many years?

The paradox of "more" is that possessing more things can actually decrease your level of happiness as you struggle to find time to do what you both need to and want to do. See if cutting back in some aspects of your life will give you more of that time you are seeking so that you can truly enjoy your life.

Denise Landers, productivity trainer, organizing specialist, author of Destination: Organization and owner of Key Organization Systems, Inc. has spent years speaking, training, consulting, and coaching on the topics of time management and effective workflow. To find easy ways to prioritize, focus and improve your team productivity, subscribe for free monthly articles on time management and organizing topics at:

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