The psychology behind why we never have enough time

It often seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. As soon as our alarms go off in the morning, it can feel like you’re constantly rushing to get things done before the end of the day. There are deadlines to hit, meetings to organise, emails to respond to and more. And despite our best efforts to be organised and conscientious, things can slip through the net.

Some reasons why we never seem to have enough time are obvious. In a bid to impress our bosses or to live up to our own high standards, for example, we may take on too much work and leave ourselves stretched too thin.

We also tend to underestimate our workload because of a phenomenon called the planning fallacy, a type of cognitive bias in which we fail to accurately predict how much time we need to complete a task. In one study from the 1990s, students working on a project estimated they would be finished 30 days earlier than they actually did.

But whether we tend to feel pressed for time also depends on a number of psychological factors too.

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