Take Back Your Time

Feeling time-crunched often has less to do with hours in the day than it does our own psychology. Here’s how to slow down and find time.

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Right now, I can feel the tight squeeze of stress in my stomach. This morning, I got a call from a close friend needing support, which prevented me from starting this article. At any moment, I expect one of my coworkers to email me asking for help with a last-minute assignment. And I’m set to leave my desk early for a dentist appointment, after which I’ll rush home to cook a late dinner.

I’m under time pressure—and I know I’m not alone. If you’re a woman, or a single parent, or practically anyone living in today’s go-go-go American society, you probably are, too. When researchers surveyed Americans before 2011, about half said they almost never had time on their hands and two-thirds said they sometimes or always felt rushed (though a more recent study suggests things may be improving a bit).

As researcher Cassie Mogilner and her colleagues write in a 2012 paper, “With waking hours largely consumed by…