Christmas. The Silly Season of Joy, Mirth, Merriment and Never Ending Social LOLs.
It was a just a few months ago, in the run up to December 25th, that I found my self wanting to scream obscenities and/or injure a woman in the street who happened to walk in front of me; surely she could see that I was CLEARLY in a rush to get to work. Being British, I did my best to convey this frustration an inaudible ‘tut’ under my voice followed by a polite smile. It was at this point that I realised something was potentially amiss. This poor lady was, in fact, doing nothing untoward. She had, however, become the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back.
But where did this come from?
After a little while psycho-analysing, soul searching and assessing whether I had eaten enough recently, I came to the surprising realisation that I was angry at lack of control. Lack of control, specifically, of my time. Tenuous? Not really. I had been having a ‘fully hectic’ few months of new job, increased training for an 8 Week Body Challenge and a stream of (admittedly wonderful) social commitments. I was wilfully participating in all of these activities but in not effectively managing my time it has flicked a trigger somewhere in my psyche and I had started to feel like I had lost control. I was a victim of my own diary.
Time is Worth more than Money
A coaching experience I engaged with earlier this year with Balanced Wealth Creation (BWC) points to the fact that time is our most valuable resource. We all have the same 168 hours each week to ‘spend’ as we see fit, how we spend them will not only decide the general direction of your life but can seriously impact your mood, not least your ability to thrive at life!
BWC talk about there being 3 levels of time,as listed below
|Level 1||Other Control|
|Level 2||Dual Control|
|Level 3||Complete Ownership|
Level 1 is where you give control of your time, generally in exchange for some return i.e. your job which pays you in return for your attendance and input. Level 2 is where you make an equal agreement with another person as to what you will do i.e. dinner with spouse or coffee with a friend. Level 3 is where you have complete control and you do something of your choosing i.e. rest or project based work. What I had agreed to do had filled my diary with stacks of Level 1 and 2 but had left me with adequate uncommitted time. Hence me nearly injuring that lady for taking another small slice of control by cutting me up on the pavement. Sounds ridiculous, but this was the root cause.
A Meeting with My Self
When I am not being whisked along in a festive sleigh ride of EggNog, Kris Kringles and Team Drinks I try to run my life as if it were my own business. Insofar as my success is concerned I truly believe that, with support and guidance, I have the free will to be the master of my own destiny. The first way for me to steer my ship where I want is to be meticulous about my Time Management. As a rule I sit down at the beginning of the week for my own personal business meeting – it’s here that I map out all my commitments from Facebook invites, text messages etc and ensure they are plotted into a time management spreadsheet that I use as well as my Google Calendar/Diary. This way I can review a week/two weeks ahead what my commitments look like and where I need to carve out time for investing into things that really matter to me, be they projects, people or even just my self.
Life is a Work in Progress
Time Management isn’t an exact science and you always need to build in some flexibility. Being overly strict and scheduled to within an inch of your life can have the same effect as no planning at all i.e. absolute lack of calm, fulfillment or the sense you are not actually ‘living’. A little like being a passenger in your own life. This is why you should always seek a balance, be gentle to your self and review regularly.
An interesting tension when you start to be protective of your Alone Time (Level 3) can be that those close to you feel a little short changed. It seems odd at first to tell someone you have no free time that day when the only meeting you have is with your self, but without protecting your own resources absolutely nobody wins. Especially you. Make sure, if you are looking to reevaluate your use of time that those nearest and dearest know in advance, not like in those status updates about Facebook Friend culls however please, we’re trying to move away from being passive aggressive here.
Now I have known these things for some time and yet the above named incident only happened just recently. I say this to point to the fact that reviewing how you spend your time is a process you need to engage with, revise and painfully evaluate regularly. Life happens. Life is fluid. Having a framework, or even just a little targeted focus insofar as your time is concerned can really pay dividends.
How are you protecting your time?