In July 2013 I posted this article and it has become very relevant again due to many of my clients and friends feeling overwhelmed by time management. I’ve added on to it, and I hope this helps anyone out there who feels time is their enemy.
To most of us, the passage of time is always changing. While time flies when you’re having run, it also ticks by with excruciating slowness when we are impatient for the future to arrive. Which begs the question: do we manipulate time with our perspectives, or does time manipulate our emotional state? There’s no correct answer to that except to say (as all scientifically minded people will tell you) time is a constant – it does not change in speed or value.
There are those who strongly control time. They manage time in precise increments, being never late, always aware of how long they’ve spent at any chore or event, and place high value on how much they can get done within time.
Then there are others who allow time to float in and out of their consciousness. They use it when they need it, begrudgingly follow it when it is imposed upon them, but in general, prefer to be blissfully unaware of time. These are the types that are chronically late, and despite their good intentions, rarely get all their desired goals/chores done.
Which ever time-personality type you are, you might want to consider what is time taking from you? If you have such a tight (and restrictive) grip on your time, you’re likely not open to the joys of spontaneity. A lot of wonderful life moments happen in between planned situations, and those are little jewels you don’t want to miss. Being flexible enough to go with the flow when life says hey, go this way will often reward you with positive “ah-ha” experiences.
Conversely, if you are so resistant to managing your time with a little more structure, you will find a lot of events and moments are missed because you were late, or too far behind in achieving things you truly wanted to achieve/see/experience. Being a touch more organized with your day will allow you more time in the long run – time to enjoy being fully lost in the moment, and enjoying every non-minute of it!
Time is a constant, but it is also tool we can use to get the most out of our time in this life. So here are a few tips you can utilize to either manage your time more effectively or loosen up on your fierce grip of every minutia:
Prioritize no more than three must do’s for each day (i.e., eating at regular intervals, 30-minutes of exercise, and an hour of game play with the children)
Set your clocks five minutes fast, and set your alarm 5 minutes earlier than normal. You’d be surprised at how these little manipulations of time will allow you to possibly be on time, while still padding for the habitual “delaying distractions” that plague the more free spirited types.
Plan for (schedule) at least one period of time per week (an hour or an afternoon, etc.) where you have nothing planned except to play, or be with a loved one, or hit the great outdoors for the purposes of just being.
If more structure is needed in your time management: make a chart of the must-do’s, have-to’s and want-to’s and once they are placed in an outline form that you feel is follow-able – follow it!
If less structure is your desire: make a commitment to yourself that once a day you’ll do something completely spontaneous and even frivolous. It can be five minutes or an hour, but telling your overly-compartmentalized brain that there’s a time period with nothing to do but go with the flow will actually rejuvenate your energy for the rest of your jam-packed day/week.
Play around with these concepts, and please let me know what works for you and what discoveries come from these experiments. Remember, time is not against you, but it can take away a lot from your life if you let it.