How to get time to work better for you

Most of us operate in a ‘do more with less’ environment:  more expectations and more demands with less time than we’d like. We get so used to working and living like this that it becomes normal. We’re all busy and we operate on autopilot without being aware of it.

How often do we ‘do less with more’?

Not very often.

That’s why the thought of a 5-hour plane ride to Fiji with my two young rascals over the school holidays was so appealing. Yes – five hours just to sit and do ‘nothing’ was what I was hanging out for, as a starting point to our family holiday. While I was self-reflecting on this opportunity to do nothing, it got me thinking about my relationship with time – how I find time, allocate time, invest time, and waste (fill) time.

FIND time: Whatever I choose to think about is what I GIVE time to.

Your thinking is either helping or hindering you depending on how self-aware you are.

Everything you think about takes time and there is an opportunity cost to that time.  Your little voice is the one you listen to the most.  Your attitude matters, and your perspective about anything controls your feelings as well as the quality of your relationships and experiences.

ALLOCATE time: Everything I allocate time for is something that I GET a payoff from.

We are very self-serving.  Everything we do serves us in some way – resourcefully or unresourcefully.

Whether we like it or not, we only do the things we want to:  things that are resourceful (for example, activities that will help grow my business) or unresourceful (for example, watching TV as a procrastination strategy). We all love instant gratification.

INVEST time:  I proactively put time into the things that I lOVE

Living in line with my values and principles leaves me feeling good.  I’m clear that my children and family come first.  When my boundaries are clear, I don’t have to question these decisions around time.

We will always find time, allocate time, and invest time in the things that matter to us.

We all have the same number of hours to use.  The variable then, is the judgement-based choices we make within these categories. Our judgements are either helping or hindering in some way.

No one has a perfect relationship with time.

The hours that simply fill time are hours that could be better spent on other things.

Ultimately time is our most precious resource and how we spend it determines the quality of our relationships and our lives. We can’t expect anything to change unless we make different decisions around time, especially when we don’t give something the time it deserves.

  • Are you going to spend your hours this week thinking about and doing the things you care about and value the most?
  • Are you getting the results you want at work in a way that is sustainable?

If any of your answers are no, then:

  • What needs to change?
  • What habits or patterns might you need to address?
  • What’s one thing you could do that would move you closer to how you’d like it to be?
  • What are you going to do differently?

Thinking through these questions for myself, I realised that more ‘down’ time to relax and recharge is part of looking after myself and valuing myself. It’s easy to put ourselves last when we’re so busy taking care of everything else.  Although single parenting two children and running a business doesn’t leave a lot of spare time, taking time for myself is a necessary and good use of time. Changing my judgement of down time to a positive gave me the permission I needed for myself.

Oh, and the holiday to Fiji – it was fabulous!

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