How do you feel about time?
Do you feel like time is on your side? Or, are you constantly rushing around but have no results to show for your frenzied efforts? Is time flying by leaving you feeling depleted, rather than fulfilled?
I recently took some time off work to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary. Two weeks to be precise. (I know—don’t hate me!) A trip of this length is a huge luxury and not one that many people feel they can afford.
While visiting the Galileo Museum in Florence, I was struck by how long we’ve been obsessed with attempting to measure and control time. At the museum, I came across this quote next to a display of antique astronomical timepieces:
“Since antiquity mankind has been fascinated by time, viewed as an enigma on both the philosophical and the physical level. Without succeeding in explaining what time is, astronomy has always contributed to defining its unity (year, month, day and hour), on the basis of observation of celestial phenomena, developing precise time-keeping instruments.”
Over the centuries time has been a challenge that leaders continue to struggle with on a daily basis. In fact, this is one of the biggest complaints my clients initially share when we begin our coaching: “There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done!”
Given its abstract nature and our lack of understanding about how time works, it makes sense that using time wisely remains a constant issue both at work and in our personal lives.
Time is something everyone wants more of but they use in the worst possible ways. Depending on the situation you’re in, time can either drag along or rush past so quickly you don’t know where it went.
Most people have a difficult time balancing all of their priorities, which leads inevitably to frustration and stress.
Time is often seen as an invisible enemy, keeping you in a Cycle of Reactivity And Panic (my coach calls this CRAP ☺) that prevents you from making any real progress. This cycle can also lock you into some bad habits that negatively impact how you approach your workdays (and keep you from feeling like you can take a break).
The good news is that when you make some simple shifts and learn to manage yourself within the time you have, it can become your ally.
3 Changes That Will Make an Instant Difference in How Time Works For You
1. Change the way you talk about time.
When you talk about your schedule, what type of terms do you typically use? I’m betting that you use words like crazy-busy, wild, or insane, and how it makes you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and “behind the 8 ball.” These words are inherently negative and make you feel badly.
Remove phrases like crazy and sooo busy from your vocabulary. The fact is, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. Generally, the things you do are those that you place in highest priority. Recognizing that you’re in control of your action choices can change the way you talk and think about time.
2. Change how you think about time.
Okay, remember when I said that time is viewed as the enemy and that we never have enough (or that we have too much so we’re bored)? That thinking has to go.
Time is not the enemy. In fact, you’re where time comes from. This means that you have the power to make as much of it as you want!
By changing how you think about (and subsequently prioritize) your time, you will have more of it to use how you choose.
3. Change how you behave in time.
It’s important to use your time and energy in the best possible ways. Most people don’t do this; instead, they react to whatever is most pressing in the moment (CRAP).
Changing your actions requires being fully present and not dwelling in the past (should’ve/could’ve) or hyper-focusing the future (worry).
The phrase “slow down to speed up” summarizes this engaged presence in the moment. When you work with proactive intention, you can get more done in half the time!
Time is on your side. I’ve personally worked to change the way I think about and operate in time and am reaping the benefits.
Wouldn’t you like to learn how to get more done—faster—with less stress? While it may sound difficult to believe and implement, the question is whether you will allow it to be possible for you? Give them a try and see what happens!