Time and Time Again

What’s your relationship with time? Is it a good one? For me, I most often view time as the enemy, something to be battled against in order to attain some level of sanity in a pressure-filled world. Within the constant struggle, however, I always seem to lose. Almost rarely do I feel “on top of things” with regard to my to do list or feel “ahead of the game” when it comes to maintaining a functioning household and doing my “day job” well.

I find myself talking about this conundrum quite often – with my students, fellow moms and work colleagues. As a matter of fact, the topic of time comes up pretty quickly because I’m usually lamenting how difficult it is to “find the time” (can one actually do that??) to schedule in a meeting, a chit-chat, a regular “touch base” time with many a friend, colleague, student, that will keep us feeling engaged, connected and fulfilled by our relationship. The clincher here, if you will, is that when I become “overly scheduled” with such items, it quickly weighs me down, starts to feel constricting and leads to overwhelm.

What is the secret to organizing one’s self in such a way as to feel uplifted, triumphant, even buoyed by time? Perhaps the goal even should be to achieve a state of timelessness within the flow of our normal everyday. I know one thing for sure though; I’m tired of constantly racing against time.

I’ve taken to examining the myriad tips, tricks and tools out there that deal with the challenge of time management. As my continuous struggle has informed my own approach to managing myself, my responsibilities, my activities, I’m interested in applying these lessons learned to a new way of living with time.

Danielle LaPorte writes, “We’re obsessed with the doing of life, adrift from the being.”

She hits it straight on here and brings in another key issue related to time and my relationship with it – this idea of “present moment” – being fully present to what is happening, living in the moment instead of the mind constantly drifting to an analysis of the past or planning and worry of the future. Either way we get screwed out of actually taking in and enjoying the moment.

So this topic of time certainly will not be solved in one short blog post. I’ll conclude for the moment with this concept of setting realistic expectations. It comes from one of the books I’m reading on this topic of “time investment” (notice the shift in perspective here even in the title). I always talk about my “sickness” of creating unrealistic to do lists – and I do this ALL OF THE TIME. Seriously. I think I can do like ten things in five minutes (multi-tasking of course, oh so healthy) – especially in the five minutes that I should be using to arrive “on time” to my next commitment or activity (read: picking up kids on time from school). This definitely leads to constant rushing, feelings of defeat and being pissed off as well as general underlying frustration with my self and how I interface with the world.

What I’m paying close attention to this week: how I set myself up for success or failure when it comes to making choices about how I invest my time. I’m going to scrutinize my to do lists this week and notice how I’m feeling when working through them. I’m going to cut in half what I normally would try to do, each time I find myself setting out expectations for how something should go or what things I intend to accomplish. I’m making a wish that some real epiphanies emerge.

Now this could get interesting! Stay tuned.

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