Why Don't You Ever Have Enough Time?

We all use expressions like "I don't have time" and "If only there were more hours in the day". It seems that the time we have is never enough to do everything we want. However, why does this happen?
Why Don't You Ever Have Enough Time?
José Padilla

Written and verified by the psychologist José Padilla.

Last update: 20 October, 2022

Is the day already over and you haven’t done even half of what you’d planned to do? Does this situation frustrate you? Of course, it does. In fact, you probably find the hours, days, and weeks go by, and everything’s always the same. You never have enough time.

As a rule, this phenomenon is due to poor organization. You don’t take advantage of each and every moment because you’re constantly distracted, and you spend time on goals that don’t add any value to your life, you might be a little lazy, or you leave everything to the last minute (procrastination). It’s hardly surprising then, that you live with the constant feeling of always being behind.

Today we’re going to delve a little deeper into the feeling of a lack of time.

1. You don’t sleep well

You may not have time because you don’t sleep well. Sleep isn’t only necessary for your organic but your mental functioning as well. In fact, an absence of quality rest is associated with reduced general well-being, performance, and productivity. After all, if your cognitive performance and productivity are reduced, how can you expect to be able to do everything you’ve planned?

One study has demonstrated that people who sleep an average of seven to eight hours perform better in cognitive tasks of reasoning and problem-solving. On the other hand, those who sleep less tend to suffer from problems with reasoning, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Woman awake in bed
Not sleeping well affects performance, productivity, and well-being in general.

2. You have a habit of working in multitasking mode

If you’re a multitasker, it’s understandable that you won’t have time, as multitasking can hamper your productivity by reducing your comprehension, attention, and overall performance. To this end, research has discovered that multitasking affects the speed and accuracy with which pharmacy doctoral students identify prescription errors.

Although you may feel that you work faster when you multitask, the truth is that you don’t. In fact, you work slower and less efficiently when multitasking (Cherry, 2021).

As a matter of fact, humans experience serious difficulty in multitasking, due to the way attention and executive control work. Actually, when you multitask, what you’re doing is switching between one task and another.

3. You’re disorganized

Clutter decreases your productivity and your chances of doing everything you’ve planned. However, if you stay organized, your performance and productivity will improve and you’ll have more time for what matters to you in life. So spend a little time planning your tasks and keeping things tidy.

If you don’t manage your time properly, you won’t ever have enough. One study has found that practicing time management strategies also contributes to improving time management skills. This means the longer you spend practicing managing your day, the better you’ll get at it.

The study also found that time management behaviors are positively related to perceived time control, job satisfaction, and health, and negatively related to stress. Thus, by managing your time, you’ll not only have more of it but also less stress.

4. You have an agenda, but you don’t pay attention to it

If you don’t review your schedules and plans, you may end up wasting your time and energy on things that are no longer useful or necessary. Ultimately, this will leave you feeling as if you don’t have enough time. That’s because, while your priorities have changed, you’re still doing the same old thing yet expecting different results.

5. You have difficulty prioritizing

If you don’t have time for anything, it’s highly likely that you have an activity prioritization problem. This means you don’t know how to classify your tasks by their degree of importance or you don’t dedicate to them the time they deserve.

Try not to start something without first asking yourself, “Do I really need to do it now?” If your answer is no, then don’t do it. Do the most important and priority tasks first. Then, move on to the other things. Prioritizing ensures that you use your time efficiently.

6. You seek to please others

If you never have time for what’s important, maybe it’s because you’re filling your schedule with activities or tasks that meet other people’s needs and not your own.

For example, perhaps you’d prefer to stay at home on your sofa reading that novel you’ve just bought or watch the movie that’s been recommended to you, but you can’t because you don’t have time, as you have a thousand more commitments to fulfill and many tasks that are overdue. That’s because you’ve spent too long pleasing others.

7. You don’t know how to say no

You don’t know how to say no to a plan, a commitment, or someone else’s request. This lack of assertiveness ends up taking away the time you might’ve had for other important things you want to do. In fact, finding time for yourself should always be your top priority. So make sure you prioritize yourself and your well-being above others.

Friends talking in the street
Knowing how to say no doesn’t mean being selfish.

8. You’re afraid to be alone

By filling your work schedule and occupying all your time and mental space doing things, you don’t have the chance to think about your own existence. Thus, the “I don’t have time” excuse serves as a mechanism for not being alone with yourself and all those questions and existential anguish that torment you when you take a break.

Your lack of time helps you avoid uncomfortable questions like “Is this really the life I want to lead?” Indeed, your activities allow you to dodge such a question. However, one day you’ll have to come face to face with yourself.

“Someday, somewhere- anywhere, unfailingly you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that can be the happiest or the bitterest hour of your life.”

-Pablo Neruda-

The next time you perceive or think that you never have time to do everything that you’ve planned, remember that time, as a physical dimension, isn’t something you can control. Focus instead on what you can do. Concentrate on how you can manage your schedules, activities, thoughts, and beliefs to become more productive in your day-to-day life.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.