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How I’m Working on My Relationship with Time

give more attention when you use a timer

I wish I had more time.

How many times have I said that? Too many, I fear. It’s a sign of my relationship with time–always longing, never satisfied. Sound like you, too?

Quite frankly, I’m over it.

When I look at all the great relationships I have in my life—my family, my friends, and even the one with  myself—one of the suckiest, most challenging relationships for me is my relationship with Time.

We need to live together happily, successfully. Time and I can’t be working at opposite ends–him, moving fast and furious through the world; me, always grasping for more like it’s the last lifejacket on the Titanic.

So I’m conducting some experiments to change my relationship with Time. Here are three I’m playing with right now. How about you? I’d love to hear what’s working for you, or what experiments you might like to try (you can always email me here).

Experiment 1. No matter what, stay in my superpower space

Recently, I agreed to take on a project that was outside my superpower space of coaching, speaking, or writing in the career and personal success lane I love. It relied heavily on a talent I’m really good at, but not something that I’m currently using every single day–nor want to do every single day.

The details aren’t important. But the result is.

The project didn’t work out. In the long run, while the work was good, it wasn’t the right thing for the other party involved and really wasn’t the best thing for me to do with my time. If this was work in my superpower space, I likely would have seen that sooner, and not wasted my time or anyone else’s.

When I’m in my superpower space, time flows. Somehow, there magically seems to be enough time for another talk to a willing audience, another coaching call to help manage through a workplace challenge, or another self-revealing (if not somewhat self-indulgent) blog post to write that hopefully will help someone else.

(I talk about this more in my book, Bring Your Superpowers to Work. Click here and get a free chapter.)

Experiment 2. Break the busy bias

I’ve gotta stop talking about how I have no time. Because I know that what I pay attention to, I get.

Here’s a good example. My car is really dirty right now. Embarrassingly so. Yes, it’s an older car, but it still has some zip and deserves to be red and not mud-colored.

I keep saying I don’t have any time to wash the car. Sure, it’s been a hectic few months. I moved to a new state, bought a house, sold a house, packed a house, furnished a house, spent more time than ever with my family, maintained time with my clients, added new clients, met new people in my community and neighborhood.

So it’s time to break my busy bias. (The crazy thing is that I actually wrote about this in my book. Time to re-read that chapter.)-

(I’m also loving Greg McKeown’s book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” for more great inspiration here. And I’m washing the car this weekend.)

Experiment 3. Let my values be my guide.

Whatever I choose to spend time on is an example of what I value. The question is: are the things I’m choosing in sync with what I value now?how to take control of your time

I know that spending time with my family (where I’m doing decent job) and keeping up with friends (needs improvement) are things that tie to my value of connectedness.

I know that making time for a call with a client who’s struggling or even getting these ideas out of my head and into your inbox ties to my value of service (hoping, of course, that the content of the call and the post are of value and service, which may be debatable, but the intentions are good. . .).

This experiment is one of the reasons I didn’t install TV in my house. My mom still can’t believe it, since I typically could cite all the names of the Real Housewives in a single breath. But the time I was spending watching TV really didn’t connect to anything I valued. Sure, it was fun, and I like being current in the world. But I can do that in other ways—ways that better reflect my values and how I can be valuable to the world.

What’s YOUR Experiment?

So, those are the ways I’m experimenting with changing my relationship with time. I don’t know if we’re ever going to be best buds, but since we’re stuck with each other—thankfully—we best learn how to get along.


One response to “How I’m Working on My Relationship with Time”

  1. I think TV is the biggest time trap Americans face. In my late 20s and early 30s, I went eight years with zero TV. About five years ago, I turned off my TV again, of course you can stream TV now, but i try to be more intentional about what I choose to watch rather than watching anything (read “Real Housewives” or something with a Kardashian in it). Its not that these shows aren’t entertaining, as you point out, its just that they tend to keep you where you are in life, rather than contribute toward moving you forward.

    I think arriving to work 30 minutes early and using that time to chip away at a long term goal, or using your lunch hour to work toward personal goals, rather than consuming too many calories, has helped my relationship with time and the things I hope to achieve in life.