Does anyone know the secret to time management? I think I have figured it out. In a discovery process looking for what’s actually manageable and what is not, I realized that time itself is NOT manageable! That’s right. In fact, time manages us and not the other way around. Time is indifferent to our needs or agendas. It passes as it would whether there is chaos, productivity or lack there of. Time as it relates to our human activities is influenced by the moon and the sun and other known or unknown elements far beyond our reach and control. Here are 3 secrets to more effective time management.
Secret #1. We are not powerful enough nor resourceful enough to manage time. It is no t a wonder we keep feeling a sense of failure when we try to manage time. So, shift your view from “time management” to “life or work management”. Lets examine more closely what it is that we are trying to manage when we seek to “Manage Time.” I put this question to a group of 65 staff and volunteers who attended my Mindful Time Management Workshop. Their responses included: Our tasks, events, life, week, agendas, work, kids, juggling, headaches, etc. Several moaned about never having enough time in a day to do the things they had to do. So, then what does time have to do with it? Other than meeting some imposed deadlines, time is of no relevance to our moment to moment experiences in life. It is important to consider that we constantly react to what we perceive to be real as opposed to what is actually happening.
Secret #2: By aligning ourselves with reality of what is taking place from moment to moment, we can actually have more time than we need. This means there are many events that occur during the day that if we saw them for what they are and not believe our interpretations of those events as reality we might realize we do not need to engage or respond to them all. Hence, saving ourselves a lot of wasted time. Additionally, how we choose to spend our time is the key to managing our lives properly, effectively and with full satisfaction. And then there are the stuff that happen that are or feel as though they are out of our control.
Secret #3: Recognizing our time wasters, time savers and obstacles and properly working with them can create as much space and time needed in order to be successful.
3 Tips to create more time and space:
A. Create More Time: That’s a good one you might be thinking, but how do we do that? Here is how: Develop a list called: Time Wasters
Here are 3 examples of a list of 20 Time Wasters:
- Talking too much. Telling long stories to make a minute point – just because we want to prove we get it. Instead we could say, “I get it.” or “I understand.” and leave it at that.
- Obsessing over past events. This is a big one and we don’t realize how much time we waste by repeatedly thinking or talking about what has passed over and over.
- Disorganization, spending too much time looking for files on our computer, in our closet, in the kitchen, on our desk, etc.
How much time can you save by just adjusting these 3 things? For some people it could be hours. What else wastes your time?
B. Create More Time: What? Isn’t this the same as part A? Yes, but it’s different. Create another list called: Time Savers.
Here are 3 examples of a list of 20 Time Savers:
- Aim instead of Blame. How much time do you waste by looking for someone or something to blame when something is not going your way? Stop, get over it. Unless it is to make corrective actions, move to solution and intention rather than spend time defending or persecuting. Accept what’s your part, there is honor in that and helps others accept their part instead of defending their case.
- Set clear boundaries with those who tend to interrupt you in the middle of projects. And that goes for your own distractive mind. Figure out how much uninterrupted time you need and communicate it with kindness and firmly. Again, that goes for your own distractive mind as well. Keep returning to the task.
- Take mindful breaks. Breaks are definitely time savers. Mindful breaks help replenish both mental and physical energy. Mindful breaks mean take time to walk away from the task to feel your body, pay attention to your emotions and get in touch with all kinds of urges that drive you. Even a few moments of doing so, will help you complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed. To learn how to take mindful breaks visit: http://mindfulvalley.org
How much time can you save by adjusting these 3 areas?
C. Know your obstacles: Obstacles are both internal and external phenomena that get in the way of reaching our goals, accomplishments and desired outcomes. Some of these obstacles are manageable and some are not. Create two lists that identify and distinguish the manageable from the unmanageable. Be realistic. Let go of what you cannot manage and tend to those you can.