The secret behind “time management” is that it is an oxymoron. Think about it. Can you really manage time? No. Time is time. So what’s the secret? It is this. You can MANAGE YOURSELF IN TIME. Here is an amazing fact. You can actually experience time as E-X-P-A-N-D-I-N-G when you are careful to manage yourself well and with wisdom.
Today, we aired our second “Chai Chat” show on this topic of “time management.” In this show we shared how stress, including the newly coined “technostress” is actually making you feel like you have LESS time. Here’s how it works. When you are stressed, worried, hurrying, feeling pressured…..time feels compressed. When you are calm, relaxed, focused……time expands. Imagine this. You scoop up a handful of sand at the beach. With your palm open and relaxed, the sand sits there in a mound. When you try to grasp the sand, it drains away. Get the idea? It’s the same with time.
Here’s another important concept. Most of the time you are thinking about the past or the future. This is another time compressor. Why? Because you cannot control either the past or the future. Both are not real in any given moment. Only this moment is real. Only this moment can be lived. The past is often regretted and the future is often worried about. These negative emotional states divert you from being in this now moment. The more you can center yourself, your focus, your actions in this moment, the more effective you will be. And the more you will experience time being on your side.
Here are some simple but powerful suggestions for avoiding “technostress” and for expanding your experience of time.
1.) Sort & prioritize. At the top of your work day, write down 3 to 5 items that you will address that day. These are your top immediate priority.
2.) Speak & move more slowly. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it is true that when you SLOW DOWN, you actually have MORE TIME. Purposely slow yourself down especially at those times when you are feeling tense and rushed.
3.) Exercise great self-care. Throughout your work day, drink lots of fresh water, and eat frequent, healthy protein rich snacks.
4.) Stay grounded and aware. Avoid zoning out. Take a computer break every 20 minutes or so. Look away from your monitor. (Really good to look out a window for a minute or so to a far horizon point or up to the clouds.) Walk away from your desk, stretch, BREATHE!
5.) Use IT in a focused way. Remember you cannot “multi-task.” You can only focus completely, or divide up your focus such that your attention has been destroyed. Set good boundaries and turn off your device or leave it in your car for periods of time.
Try just one or two of the above today, tomorrow, this week. Create new patterns that will serve you in your experience of time. See the positive impact this will have on your work product, your level of productivity, and your overall enjoyment at your job.