Recently, my friend Natalia and I led a conference call on time management for the coaches in training with CLCC. We are at the mid-way point in the training, where the pressure is on to keep up with reading and assignments while gathering client hours. These women have full lives, many with children and/or full time jobs and grown up responsibilities. People tend to get a little panicky and overwhelmed about now.
Not enough time. Not enough time.
It’s a story that is very much supported culturally. “How are you?” “Busy! You?” “I’m okay…for a Monday.”
We’ve confused productivity with self-worth and are thus locked in a perpetual race against time. Always behind that eight ball, in a hurry, hopped up on cortisol and adrenaline, another cup of coffee. Got to keep going.
It’s entirely normal to endure the work week, waiting to live it up on the weekend. To live for the weekend and for little pockets of vacation. (It’s worth considering: is this how you agree to spend your life?)
Not enough time.
This topic is close to my heart because I lived steeped in this scarcity mentality for a loooooong time. Whatever I was doing, I felt behind. Should be doing more. Not enough. I quite literally could not sit still.
When you live out the story of not enough, you become a victim of time and set yourself up for an adversarial relationship to life itself.
When you are a victim of time, overwhelm sets in. Overwhelm is always ineffective but it has a soporific effect. It’s habit forming. It is also a choice (more on that in the next post).
Think about the last time you felt pressed for time. Remember that claustrophobic, constricted feeling? It is the opposite of flow and eventually, it demands escape.
Bingeing on food was my way of stopping time for many years. In the frenzy of a binge, there was only the next mouthful, nothing else existed.
Alcohol worked for me, until it didn’t. After a few drinks I’d be able to take a deep breath, the moment felt sparkly and promising, I’d feel connected. Time stretched out.
There are a million more subtle ways of escaping the moment, numbing out.
What we have here is a relationship problem.
When we change our relationship to the moment, these dysfunctional ways of checking out fall away quite naturally.
There are tons of productivity and time management tips out there. Plenty of them are really useful and I will share what works for me in another post.
The truth about time management that I most want to share with you? It’s less about a particular skill-set than it is about mind-set.
The truth is this:
You don’t need more time.
I repeat: You don’t need more time.
Time is abundant, plentiful, free.
What you are really longing for is greater presence.
Follow the breadcrumb trail of what brings you fully alive. What bring you into the pulse of now, now, now? Where do you loose time? It’s urgent that you discover this, if you don’t know yet.
These are your practices and practices are essential. Otherwise, you’ll blow around in every strong wind. Anchor yourself by prioritizing your practices first, every damn day.
Make the most important thing the most important thing. You will find that full presence is a time bender.
Come fully into this moment and time is yours. This moment here.
Right in the middle of your workday at the soul sucker job you can’t wait to be free of.
Right here with the first fuzz of green ringing the spring trees.
Right in the middle of nursing that fussing baby who won’t sleep.
This moment eating your lunch, this crunch and salt.
This moment, these words. This moment. This body.