We have a client who asked us how she can improve her relationship with time and accomplish the things she wants to do in her life – work, projects in her apartment, errands and creative projects, as well as socializing – without feeling that she is wasting or running out of time. These are five suggestions we offered that supported her, and will support you, in easily and effortlessly managing your time and being effective and productive in your life.
1. There is time for everything that needs to be done…and there will always be things left to do.
What are you devoting your time to each day? We bet you think about what you want to do and whether or not you like the tasks at hand. Hint: Thinking about whether you want to do something or not is just a waste of time. Thinking about whether you like it or not is also a waste of time. Many people drag their feet going about what they are going to do anyway and then get no satisfaction from the activities they engage in as a result. A whole-hearted engagement in whatever you are doing will bring with it satisfaction as a by-product. And at the end of the day, there will always be more to do than can be done. We are often delighted by what we accomplish in a day and respectful of the fact that “tomorrow is another day” and that we will be rested and rejuvenated to begin again.
2. Honesty is key.
If you actually want to take control of your relationship with time, don’t tell yourself that you are going to do something that you have no intention of doing. There are things that you don’t want to do that you tell yourself that you “should” do. There are also things that you pretend to want to do that you don’t actually plan on doing or want to do at all.
For example, many times people have the idea that they would be better if…they lose weight, balance their checkbooks, exercise more, do creative things, etc. But that doesn’t mean that they are actually going to do any of those things. This list is simply something held in reserve so that you never give yourself a break and as a constant reminder that you need to change or fix something about yourself. This list is comprised of things that are not actually “in the works,” they are things that you are resisting doing – and by now anyone who is familiar with our approach knows that: What you resist persists, grows stronger, takes longer (or never gets done) and dominates your life. As an alternative, try this:
When you are hanging out – do that.
When you are doing a project – do that.
If you want to have control in your life, then do what you are doing in the current moment, rather than think about what you ought to be doing. Otherwise there is no actual rest because when you are doing nothing you think you should be doing something. If you actually rest then you are likely to find yourself energized to do things rather than talking to yourself about doing them.
3. Procrastination is a sophisticated word for “no”.
Don’t fix it – pay attention.
There is a false idea about independence that was formed in most of our minds around age two when we realized that we could disagree or say “no”. According to this immature notion we think that we are being independent by saying no to anything we are asked to do. In fact, for many of us, we registered in our undeveloped minds that we were powerful, got attention and had the world chasing us around, by doing the opposite of what was asked for and “Poof,” a life strategy is born. Over time we sophisticate this “no” to requests made of us and then when we say no to our own desires, we call it “procrastination”.
You don’t have to make a resolution to stop procrastinating – simply bring awareness to how often you say “no” to yourself and to all of the requests made upon you by life. When your bed is unmade, for instance, it is as if there is a request for you to make it, or to do the dishes, or answer the phone. Become aware of the resistance, hesitation, “don’t wannas” and see how often this is a part of your daily internal conversation. “No” is not a bad thing. It just is. With awareness (a non-judgmental seeing or noticing of how you operate) you can see what YOU want to do rather than be dictated by the life strategy of a two-year-old.
4. What is your current way of relating to time saving you from?
Often “problems” are solutions in disguise. Procrastination may actually be saving you from something you consider confronting or acting as a buffer between you and possible rejection, for instance. For example, you may say that you want more time to “socialize”. It is possible that the endless list of to-dos can keep you from having to get up online on a dating site or get out there and date. Or perhaps you have a creative project on your desk. Then day-to-day minutia that seems to eat your time each day can save you from having to get started. Right now, your incompletions define your life. If you lost them, you wouldn’t know who you are. Your comfort zone INCLUDES all of the things that you find uncomfortable. If you had no problems, nothing wrong, nothing that is holding you back…hmmm…then what?
5. Start small… and keep going.
You don’t have to look far to shift from a conversation about your life to living it in real time. Just lift your eyes from this article and look around. We bet you will see something to be done or something that begs for attention. You don’t have to do something big, start small: Bring a cup to the sink, dust a surface, make that call, file that item…and then keep going. Direct action, direct result. No problem. Complete those things in your life that are incomplete such as projects or organizing your closet. A simple way to approach many things is to repair or get rid of anything that is broken or have it fixed. Stop putting off what you know you are going to do anyway – like Nike says – Just do it!
Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UK, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]