I shall now perform for you one of my best time management tricks. I call it:
ALLOW EFFORTLESS RESOLUTION
So often we are ineffective with time because of our theories. Reality is, we all have the same 24/7 everyone does with which to fulfill our dreams. Some of us feel that’s an abundant amount and some of us feel “like it’s never enough.” Those are examples of theories, and we have tons of theories we are busy proving true at all times, like:
• “I have to do it.”
• “I could never fit THAT in.”
• “I don’t have time.”
• “I can’t trust anyone else to get it right.”
Those are some of my faves; that’s why I am sporting a different theory consciously, and that is:
If I am in the right frame of mind and willing to be slightly patient, effortless resolution to a need can occur. I also call that MAGIC! And it makes me so happy. It could be as simple as remembering your babysitter will be passing the store, on her way over, and can bring you that thing you need, saving you 30 minutes you would have spent going to get it. Or allowing an email that was sent to a group to be responded to and resolved by someone else in the group. Or my current favorite: you could poach a colleague’s blog, if it’s really brilliant and she doesn’t mind and you only have 15 minutes to get your blog written.
Samantha Sutton, a VP at Handel, shared these pearls of wisdom about our issues with time on another blog and since you might not read that, I want to be sure you get them here. She basically explained that most of our time management issues are brought to us courtesy of our “inner brat” (pretending to be mature with LOTS to do.) Here is her version of the top ways the brat shows up and how she puts it in “time out.”
1) We don’t want to stop doing one thing and move on to another.
In the spirit of a kid who is trying to con her parents into letting her have just ten more minutes of television, we often don’t like to stop one event when our calendar says we should. For example, the other day I had planned to check email for one hour and then go for a run. I was behind on my email, and it bugs me to be behind on my email, so I really wanted to finish it all in that hour. Once that hour was up and I wasn’t finished, here is how my inner brat started whining at me: “Oh just five more minutes. You can go on a shorter run, that’s ok. This email is more important.” And then, “Just finish these next two messages. Oh, and check the ones from Jennifer and Mark.” Finally, “Ok, fine, maybe you will lift today instead of running, because that takes less time.” Bye-bye run.
Start paying attention to how often you ignore and run through your designed time boundaries. There are very few of us who cleanly execute the schedules we plan, and that is in large part because of our brat who just doesn’t want to stop.
2) We are gluttons.
This one is particularly prevalent in high achievers (in other words, most of you reading this blog). We want to get MANY things done in a day, and won’t take no for an answer. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, we cram our plates with as much as we can, spilling on the floor and giving ourselves a tremendous stomachache when we realize that we only can fit, well, a stomach’s worth in our stomach. But like the stubborn brats we are, we go back to the buffet the next day and try the same thing again. And again. Our stomachs, just like the hours in our days, never get substantially bigger, but we won’t take no for an answer. Like a food glutton doesn’t actually enjoy each bite or meal, the problem with being a time glutton is that we don’t enjoy the current moment or activity, because we are focusing on all the rest of the to-dos that we aren’t doing. Exhausting!
3) We are in denial of all that it takes to live a modern life.
Awhile back, I kept a daily log of where I spent my time, down to 15-minute intervals. Even though I was an accomplished scientist and proud of my attention to detail, I was shocked at how unaware I was of where I spent my time in a given week. Not only were my perceptions of how much time I spent working (overestimated) and socializing (underestimated) way off, but I was also in denial of all of the little things that it takes to live a thriving life: eating, cleaning up, changing clothes, transit, grooming, settling in, checking my phone, random office conversations, etc. There were many things that took 15 minutes here or there that really added up to serious time. It was no wonder that I was failing at scheduling my days and keeping that schedule. I wasn’t including these “little” things in my planning, and so I was starting projects late and then running into the next project. It was a time disaster.
The solution is to become lovingly aware of just how much of a brat you can be about your time, and then get that punk into an effective regimen, like any good parent would. This means keeping crisp time boundaries, stopping your projects when you say you will, or you pay a consequence. For me, throwing $1 on the ground each time I blow a time boundary works like a charm. It means being honest about how long activities take, and doing the arithmetic about how many you can actually fit on your “plate” in a given day. It means taking inventory of all of the places that you spend your time and accounting for them beautifully in your planning.
Give your brat a “time out,” and take over designing your life using the very best theories around. Community helps, so join us.