How Time Management Looks to Me Now
The promise is seductive. Master time and you can fit more good stuff in your life, more happy moments with friends and family. Master time and you will be more productive in your work, your career or business will skyrocket as your colleagues look on in admiration and the money floods in. Master time and show how focused, resourceful, disciplined and on top of life you are, no laziness, procrastination or wasteful vices here!
Recognise any of that? And how is your time management going? This is how my view of time management has changed over the years and how it looks to me now...
I started my working life thinking time management was a skill, a subject with techniques that could be learnt and implemented. It was all about the stationery! Sure some days were easier than others but I was organised, I worked steadily and usually met deadlines.
With work, I was ‘all in’. Committed to looking professional and being reliable. Although I was sometimes ‘just in time’, I experimented with different time management systems -goals diaries etc. Generally, I felt good about my productivity.
My personal life was very different. I was often late and didn’t get round to things, as if to compensate or rebel, I put myself first, and not always in a good way!
When I became Self Employed, I continued my work/personal life divide. I remember feeling naughty and ‘wrong’ when I took time out during the working day. With the additional flexibility, I got into a bit of procrastination but this didn’t make too big an impact on my results..
As I learnt more about myself and became more in touch with my feelings, I introduced morning meditation and/or contemplation in order to feel good and motivated for the day and I put considerable effort into keeping on top if the habits I thought would enhance my life. I began to regard ‘time management’ actually as ‘me management’.
Travelling I saw as a whole different game. Without much of an agenda, I mostly tuned into what I was feeling that day and went with what seemed the right thing. This was not necessarily what felt good as I was sometimes quite fearful but I often had a sense of knowing. There was something in ‘doing it anyway’, and realising the fears were unfounded, that I found affirming. I was open to happy coincidences and synchronicity and had a wonderful time.
Once I decided I was living and working abroad, I returned to my me management strategies for getting things done. For someone working in lovely places, I could get quite stressed! However travelling regularly gave me the contrasting experience of being in the flow and I began to look at how I could manipulate that synchronicity and good fortune with the law of attraction.
Returning to the UK, I was full of expectations but the approaches I had in the past no longer seemed to work consistently. It was just after the financial crisis and I bought into thinking of doom and lack. I experimented with different approaches to developing my business with mixed results, my productivity didn't seem to be responding to the effort and work I was investing.
I recognised I was at my best when in the flow but many things would take me out of flow. Happenings in my environment, other people and my stuck thinking patterns. When I last wrote about the subject, I was interested in resistance. I found when there was no resistance, being in the flow was easy and time management unnecessary. Dealing with resistance seemed critical to success. I thought resistance contained some useful information to be examined and worked through.
Now I see the stages above relate to the amount of thinking I was doing and my relationship with that thinking...
- I probably was more productive as an employee as I didn’t have lots of different options to ponder. I was pushing through regardless, my feelings weren’t relevant. (If I had continued in this direction, the stress would have built up so I'm grateful it wasn’t a long term strategy.)
- Self Employment gave me more options to consider (perhaps I should take this afternoon off?) and my personal development gave me more to think about as I was now responsible for my feelings too.
- When I set up a business closer to my heart, in line with my sense of passion and purpose, I had more expectations about how that should feel and the success I should attract. I was now responsible for investing my time wisely, processing my feelings and having the right energy to attract clients. If any of these were not working optimally, it was down to me to find out why and fix it. This involved many layers of thinking and quite a bit of time.
- Travelling seemed like a luxury that was far from my working life. I now consider this level of being in the flow as my ideal. To be in tune with my wisdom, not during a one off grand consultation, like meeting the wizard of oz, but in everyday choices and a sense of knowing.
- Resistance comes up from time to time together with other thinking and feeling about the past and future. We all have our recurring themes. Getting caught up in analysis and fixing just adds more thinking, it doesn’t actually require our attention. It will pass.
- Occasionally, in moments of clarity, we get fresh thinking about approaches that will work for us or methods we want to learn more about. These are right for now rather than being rules about how we or others should live. We are constantly evolving.
Be in the flow and notice more good stuff in your life, more happy moments with friends and family. Be in the flow and you will naturally be more productive in your work, whether or not anyone else approves. Be in the flow and resources and wisdom will come to you 'from nowhere'.
But there's a catch, being in the flow can not be mastered. It's unlikely we'll spend all our time flowing and there's no trying, effort or thinking that will get you in or keep you there. A bit tricky to 'get our heads around' but step away from our habitual, personal and over thinking and feeling, and there it is! It was there all along.
I'd love to hear your views and experiences, do leave a comment below...