Stop trying to manage time
How many times have you said, “I don’t have time?”
Or, “I need to be better with time.”?
When searching on books in the subject of Time Management on Amazon.com – the results numbered more than 30,000 books.
It begs the question, if we are able to manage time, would there be a need for 30,000 + books on it?📚
Time is a thing. It is a human-created concept to mark events, to measure things – much like a ruler.
Who tries to manage a ruler? 📏
While you read on, I encourage you to suspend disbelief (or belief that you can manage time) for the time-being.
Let’s begin here -> What time is:
- A thing
- A human construct
- An excuse
- A measurement
- A limit
- A reference
What time is not:
- In control
The “problem” with time, is that it is an indirect reference to something that can’t be measured, to something we don’t truly understand, and according to quantum mechanics, doesn’t fit in the square peg of 60 seconds-a-minute, 60-minutes-an-hour, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-or-366-days-a-year.
It just doesn’t.
So, while you’re here reading, open and curious, I would like to call your attention to your relationship to time.
Transformation of anything comes with addressing our relationship to that thing.
👉 How do you speak about it? (Curse? Praise? High-five? Run from? Allow? Push? Dread?)
👉 How do you hold it? (Like a friend? Enemy? Family? Irritation? Something to be tolerated?)
👉 What power do you give it?
👉 How do you practice utilizing time?
The intention here is to shine a light on your relationship to time and to give you some turn-arounds, perspectives, that when applied in your own life, can shift your perception of time and its place in your life.
The Myth of “I Don’t Have Time”
This phrase is heard and said often, almost a knee-jerk reaction for some. This has become a socially accepted excuse.
What does it really mean? Really?
What if moving forward from this time, instead of using “I don’t have time”, replacing it with:
- This isn’t a priority for me.
- No thank you.
- I’m unable to do that.
- I don’t want to do that.
The truth is, we have time…AND we have choice. Own it.
When we use time as an excuse, this disempowers us. “It’s time’s fault”. This is indicative of how we can get busy and let our lives be driven by circumstance, by trying to do it all.
How about beginning with what is important to us, and if you’d like to give time to something or not. This requires knowing what is important to us.
Redefining Time – Aligning Priority with Purpose
Time is relative. It can go fast or slow, we can fill it to overflowing or it can be vast and spacious. It’s all how we look at it.
Take the example of putting a hand over a hot stove. If you were asked to keep it there for 1 minute, do you think that time would pass slowly or quickly?
On the other hand if you were to be doing a favorite activity, time can “fly by ”, one minute here is nothing at all.
Then there is Parkinson’s Law, first published in 1955, that basically correlates to the concept that if we give something eight hours to do it, we’ll fill the time with eight hours of work.
When I prioritize busy work, easy stuff, pleasing others, guess what gets the time? When I do this, the important-to-me stuff gets shoved into a smaller bit, put off, deprioritized, and well, it is not fun. This creates pressure and the idea that time is the enemy.
So begin with your WHY. Some call it purpose. It’s not your title, your job description, even your role(s). It’s who you are, what’s in your heart. When you are clear here, then priorities (what’s important to you, what you want to give your time to) become clear.
Simon Sinek is a master of WHY – he has a beautiful exercise here if you’re not sure and/or want to get started.
The Illusion of “No Time” and Mindful Prioritization
This is a powerful quote as well as a convicting one. For example, if I see time as a thief…what really am I robbing myself of?
Make you a priority. Look, we all have very full, dynamic lives. The ‘hustle culture’ beats the drum of “more and faster” and really I ask, at what cost?
I’m going to ask you to look at time being your friend. Look at how you’d like to fill it. Even one step in the direction of leveraging time purposefully will begin the journey to be easy with time.
If you had 6 months to live, what would you fill that time with, who would you fill your time with, and where would you do these things? This question alone may give you a really good idea of what is most important to you.
Now ask yourself, how much time do I invest currently in the answers to the questions above? You get to choose.
Time Perception and its Influence
Quantum mechanics has begun to explain your role in your perception, your experience and the choices you have. Some say it is science beginning to explain spirituality (and this is a topic for another blog post 😃)
Subatomic particles in their own state act more like a wave and can be called being in an undetermined state. This means that there are multiple possibilities within this particle.
It is only when observed that it is fixed in time and space. When we observe it. So why does this matter? It matters, because you GET to choose.
When you observe time as something to fight with, you will fix time (and the evidence) as an adversary. Observe time as a friend, a tool, a gift…and see what you see then.
From Time Management to Priority Management
Here’s the shift – wrangling time will keep you doing just that. How about investing time in what is most important to you – into what fills you, where you find enjoyment, connection.
Of course we all have responsibilities and in no way am I suggesting to just do whatever you want all the time (unless you can, if so let me know how you do it!). The point is, to prioritize what is important – often this means saying NO more, and knowing what to say YES to.
What we focus on grows – focus on the important things and watch them grow.
The Power of Community in Enforcing the New Mindset
Thank you for your time and attention here. We have the power and choice to decide what our relationship to time is and how to leverage time and invest time into what brings joy, meaning, and impact to our lives. It takes practice, and I encourage you to find one of the suggestions here and try it out for yourself. It is only in applying knowledge that it becomes wisdom.
Try one (or more) of the suggestions out with a friend or friends – hold each other accountable. Community amplifies this type of work and transformation. If you’d like to learn more about our community, Act On It please reach out as I’d love to tell you more. We work with time, money, dreams, career, impact and how to do this at the highest levels, while having fun and space in the process.
I know you can have an empowered relationship with time. With clients we talk about and practice “bending time” and show how it really can be your friend.