Finding time isn't easy - not in our fast-paced world.
You may avoid even thinking about your time because you figure you're likely to just feel overwhelmed by looming tasks... or totally depressed by how scarce time feels to you.
But thinking about time is a necessary first step toward finding it. And indeed, the way you think about your time has a huge impact on how you feel about your moments and how you actually experience them.
Penelope Trunk wrote an interesting blog post titled "Splice time in new ways to have more of it" where she digs into this idea. Below is a passage where she offers a creative re-frame you can try on for size. Start by considering "engaged time and unengaged time" as a way to think about this precious resource that we all share:
People actually don't mind working long hours when they are engaged. Burnout is not a result of how much work you're doing but what type of work you're doing. So instead of organizing time into work time and personal time, you could organize it into time when you like what you're doing and time when you don't like what you're doing.
Finding time, then, becomes less a matter of managing particular tasks and more a matter of managing the energy that you bring to those tasks. What kinds of things do you find yourself easily and thoroughly engaging with? And what tasks would you rather not have to do at all? These latter tasks are the ones that drain your energy. And they are the ones that are likely to result in feelings of overwhelm when they pile up.
But what if you step back and, using engage/unengaged time as an organizing principle, explore how you might rearrange your tasks?
This is just one idea for how you might think about your time, so don't be afraid to experiment and mix things up! Your to-do list looks very different when you change how you frame it.
Finding Time - Start with Your Thinking
So, how do you typically think about your time? The first thing to do is to take a deep breath, relax and let yourself explore your perspective. You may be surprised at what bubbles up!
Do you split your time into work and home categories?
- Are there seasonal differences in how you think about and experience your time?
- How about your aging? Do you notice that your thinking about time has evolved as the years have accumulated?
- What kinds of messages did you observe and hear from your parents (and other significant people) about time?
And as you explore these questions - along with brand new ones that you come up with - I invite you to always consider how your energy is affected, in each instance. What is the impact of these thoughts on your energy? Be as specific about it as you can; this is vital information!
You see, time itself is concrete and universal - the hours and minutes that we have to work with each day don't vary. But where we have an enormous amount of power is at the point where our time intersects with our energy. This profoundly affects both our experience of time and what we are able to accomplish.
It's really life-changing - the thoughts and the energy that we bring to the moments that we have! So what will you do next, to start finding time for what matters most?