Time is my frenemy. Sometimes it is liking a controlling Evil Stepmother and sometimes I feel utterly on top of it and have a chance of feeling like a Time Lord. Dr Who’s a girl now….
According to Bill Torbert’s action logics for development of leaders, early on in the adult stages of development we think that we cannot control time; there is never enough and that if only we had more, we could inch closer to our dreams.
As we progress to the later stages, we realise that we are actually the master/mistress of our own time and it is up to us to create it. In the later stages of adult development, we constantly assess whether something is a good use of their time or not and then plan accordingly.
Since returning to work I have had a laser focus what I can delegate, postpone and stop doing because it is not productive or time-wasting. I can ask myself a different question as I go through my mental list of what needs to get done in the day.
• What is urgent here (not what is urgent for other people)?
• What are the three most important things I need to get done on this list?
• If I have to cut this list down to a third of the tasks, what stays on?
• Is there anyone who would be capable and willing to do some of this?
In his book ,The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks talks about moving from Darwinian Time to Einstein Time and the concept that YOU are where your time comes from. You’ll never have enough time to do the things you don’t want to do!
It is really important to own your day, take full ownership and don’t let it happen to you. Flip your calendar – look at when you have the highest energy? That is when to do the challenging stuff and just get. It. Done.
So now, take your list, cut it in half. If you‘ve given yourself an unrealistic deadline asking yourself what will happen if you don’t do it by that time?
Think about what and who is in your future; invest in that.
Here are the things I have learned since coming back from my career break about time management:
There’s an Investment Period: this is a designated period that you need to set aside to completely focus on getting up to speed on the job. This is when you are ramping up and learning the ropes. You need to allow for this and have a psychological contract with your nearest and dearest that this is what it will take.
I try and line up my peak energy time with those tasks I just have to crunch through. A good way to think about it – When I am at my peak I need to do the tasks that will move me forward. Don’t give your best self to stuff that is not your priority.
Time spent with family is on their terms and in their language. It’s not a work meeting where you can force an agenda. For example, my son only talks on the walk to school or last thing at night. They are the times I open my ears.
I’ve given up on a tidy house. Just got over it. Let it go. The only thing I can’t concede on is the kitchen bench. If that’s clean, all is well.
I bought a slow cooker and loads of foil containers and I batch cook. I bought my husband cooking classes. Unfortunately he just traded in my chosen “Pacific Rim Dinner Party” course for “A History of Cheese” which is not so useful.
I completely embrace frozen veg and the less things I have to chop, the better. I don’t let the kids take packed lunches. Sorry.
I contract out whatever I can afford to. I’d far rather forgo a nice jacket or a pizza out and get the ironing done. Washing I’m fine with…ironing, no. Not good for the cortisol levels!
Online shopping and groceries obvs.
I have an emotional bank account. Get a good group on the Whatsapp and make sure that as and when you can you go all out to help them. Yes, it is a sharing economy. Ask for help. Everyone understands the quid pro quo.
I’m brutal with my diary. I don’t Pop Out for drinks. 6 – 8 is prime time with my kids and unless I have to, I don’t miss it. If I see a busy period coming up I ensure the weekend before is quiet so I can regroup.
New one: I don’t like it very much, I’ve given up my BBC4 Foreign films. It’s not for long, just for now whilst I’m studying.
What will you do to make friends with time?