by Ilhem Oubarah
24 hours in a day are simply not enough and you’re wondering how the heck you can be more productive without giving up anything? I’d better tell you right from the get-go – I don’t have any magic formula that would make days longer or that would give you superpowers and I won’t offer any super time management system either.
That’s disappointing, I know. But I have a good reason. Just wait – I’ll explain.
“I don’t have the time” must be the sentence I’ve repeated the most ever since I’ve had the foolish idea of having 2 jobs. Most of the time, I carefully plan every millisecond of my day to optimize multitasking. I formulate in my kitchen while I’m hollering instructions to my son who’s doing his homework in another room, I come back from my day job and start my second job, I’m also a chauffeur, a life coach, a nurse and that’s not all! Do I even need to talk chores?!
Like you, I don’t have the time and I’m trying to cure my chronic deficiency with a different perspective. I love living several lives but I’m tired of running on the Super-Woman-without-the-superpowers autopilot mode.
So, no smart organization system because you see, I’m convinced that you can use the best organization system for the worst reasons and run yourself into the ground. In my opinion, systems will be useful only once you’ve worked on your relationship with time. That’s why I chose to share something to think about instead. I babble a lot (sorry about that) but you’ll see that it all comes down to 2 questions and 2 assertions.
The Big Leap is the book that opened my eyes to my relationship with time (and many other things actually, but that’s not the topic). Gay Hendricks develops a theory about endless and prolific Einstein time versus scarce and coveted Newton time, and he starts with this assertion:
“You’re where time comes from”
If you want to spend your days in Einstein time, you first need to pay attention to how many times you complain about it. As far as I’m concerned, I quickly stopped counting but that made a lot! As many complaints, as many times you see yourself as a victim of time. Then you need to stop complaining. This part isn’t easy, it’s such a habit that it pours from your mouth without you even noticing! However, managing time means you’d better see yourself as the boss, right?! Plus you’ll stop saying “I don’t have the time” when in fact you’re thinking “I don’t want to” (come on, I know you do) and you won’t take the risk of believing that it’s true in the end.
Once you’re done with the warming up you can get to the heart of Hendrick’s theory and create time. The idea is that since you’re where time comes from, you can very easily create as much time as you wish. It’s not about taking the time, it’s well and truly about consciously creating time and space to your whim, to inhabit your day the way you want to.
“Duh, you only have to prioritize!” I hear you say. Well, not really. Prioritizing means that you write to-do lists, you hustle to tick as many items as you can and you start all over again the day after because you didn’t have the time (ha!) to finish. You created tasks, not time. Making time means that you turn the autopilot off and that you consciously question your life choices and eventually make new ones.
Gay Hendrick promises that it’s easy and it is when you think about it. Now, reality is another thing. Newton time is soon reining your days again and you catch yourself thinking “yes, but I don’t have the time” or “yes but I don’t have the choice”. It’s about the same and it’s being ruled again.
When I feel like my life is getting out of control again, I ask myself the 2 questions Gay Hendricks asks in his book:
“when in my life am I not taking full ownership?”
“what aspect of my life do I need to take full ownership of?”
It’s not always easy to answer and it’s not a magic formula either but it helps to take stock, reconsider how you live your life and readjust.
Imperfections and vulnerability
You certainly know Brené Brown and you know how she came to the conclusion that we need to change our perspective on life and see our vulnerability as a vital force instead of a weakness. Because it’s vulnerability that can open the way toward happiness and courage is the key. The “wholehearted” Brené Brown talks about, the ones that live with their whole heart and know true joy, the wholehearted have taken full ownership of their story, their life, their imperfections and their vulnerability.
What does it have to do with time? A lot. At the end of the day, it brings us back to us, to the feeling that when we are stripped naked with only our imperfections on, we are not enough.
Maybe that’s what we are running after – being enough… More than after time. Just check your to-do list and see how many items are there because they’re important to you and how many are there to make everything perfect or because you don’t ask for help. I know because I’m a seriously bad case of perfectionism.
I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to burn out one day because I exhausted myself trying to be perfect, just to be sure I’m someone. And yes, it stings.
So, just remember when you don’t finish something that:
“No matter how much I get done, or is left undone, at the end of the day I am enough.” Brené Brown
To conclude my babble, I just want to tell you that there’s nothing wrong in working hard but it’s not your blood and tears that give value to your work, it’s your heart and joy.
Here’s to your success!