Do you realise how much of our language in day-to-day conversation revolves around time? Frankly, I only noticed it when my Coach pointed it out to me one day. And once I became aware, I was stunned at how often I talked about time – or specifically, my alleged lack of it. “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have time for this!”, and of course, particularly at this time of the year: “Where has the time gone?”
I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s quite a journey to get control of one’s time. Which is funny, because we really are in control. But we live in a world which constantly whispers distractions to us, constantly tells us that we should do more, that we should be faster.
Basically, the message – from media and social media – is that we need “time management”. We’re expected to fill every minute of every day with productivity. The people around us, victims of the universal brainwashing just like ourselves, echo this sentiment.
Is it any wonder that when we finally dare to hone in on what lights us up, we find ourselves struggling to make time? We have built so much negativity and so much resistance around the subject, that it’s hard to break through this even for the purpose of doing something we love.
I’m going to share with you some lessons I learned about the path back to sanity.
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Mind or Emotions?
The issue with a subject as fraught as time is that we develop deep-seated resentment and resistance. Of course, we can’t admit to ourselves that we feel like a stubborn toddler or a rebellious teenager when it comes to managing our time. We’re supposed to be rational adults, right?
So we go and buy the next time management seminar, calendar, or scheduling system. We read books on efficiency and prioritising. Vowing that this time, we’ll really change our lives, we start putting the brand-new system into practice, only to fall off the waggon two weeks later. Then we declare that “it just doesn’t work” or that we’re simply “too lazy”.
Sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to throw in the towel. The trick is to stop ignoring that tantrum-throwing toddler (try saying that five times fast!). Work with him – or her – instead, and you’ll be surprised how easy it gets.
What’s wrong with time management?
This is where I invite you to listen to those toddler emotions, irrational as they may seem. The truth is, that there is an excellent reason behind your resistance to time management.
If you’re like most of us, your life is pretty much regulated by the clock. You get up at a certain time, go to work or college at a certain time, have your lunch, pick up your kids, go to choir practice, you name it, all at a certain time. These times are regulated for you by your employer, your school, your children’s school, etc.
Now if you add a time management system in order to get to do what lights you up, part of you feels incredibly fed up with being chained to so many time constraints already. And this is the part which will rebel against yet another scheduled activity – the only one you have any hope rebelling against (without severe consequences like losing your job or livelihood, or neglecting your children). Guess which one this is? Your passion.
You’ve heard me talk about Gay Hendricks’s concept of “Einstein Time”. It describes the phenomenon that time expands or contracts depending on how much we enjoy what we’re doing at any point.
The easiest way to make use of this concept is to focus on what lights you up. The problem is, if you simply make some room in your busy schedule for your passion, if you schedule it in once or twice a week, you likely won’t stick to it because your resistance will be too great. If, however, you dare to truly prioritise your passion, the chains will fall away and time will become your friend.
Time will expand to accommodate your needs. You’ll find that you truly have enough to get everything else done as well. On top of that, you’ll be so fired up that you’ll breeze through chores. Stress just melts away.
The best path to mastering your time is through joy. I’ve seen it time and time again with clients, and as I mentioned above, I’m on the same path myself. The relief and ease which follows is astounding. I much recommend it!