The Problem with Time
February was Time Management Month, and just this week I noticed with a client that the problem with time was more a problem with anxiety than time.
And it was not even that something bad had happened to cause all the anxiety that was making everything take longer. In fact, it was something very, very good. Let me explain.
Charlie had been grumpy for a while about being passed over for more prestigious and satisfying responsibilities at work.
Through shifts he made in how he presents himself with others, lo and behold, all of a sudden, those very responsibilities landed smack on his plate.
This was a good thing that didn’t feel like a good thing for 2 reasons: 1) humans typically associate feeling anxious with something bad; and 2) now that he really did have so much more to do, he worried where he would find the time.
The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, Social Readjustment Rating Scale demonstrates clearly that even good things, such as vacations, job promotions…can be stressful.
The item on that scale that says it best is the change in the number of arguments with your partner. The stress points for that are not based on whether there are more or fewer arguments, but simply that there has been a change in the number of arguments in either direction.
So, it is the demand on our system to adjust to something new that feels like something bad is going on.
And all Charlie needed was to realize that everything was more than just fine—with the higher brain (rather than the anxious brain) in charge of getting it all done.
How to Use a Power No
The Power No is my favorite time management tool. Here’s how that goes.
Within every Yes there is a No. That is, because you said yes to something you have exactly that much less time and energy for something else.
Likewise, within every No there is a Yes. That is, because saying no to one thing frees up time for something else, even if that something else is to do nothing at all.
But No is not always No. Often enough No is really just Not Now. So, for a bit of alliteration, how about a grid with 3 columns: Delegate, Delay, or Dump.
Charlie loved the idea of organizing and implementing everything he had to do within this framework. But that was only after we had gotten him out of his anxious mind and into his calm, clear, and focused mind instead.
Here’s a case example of how mindset saves and grows time—oh, and money too.
Case Example: ‘A Stitch in Time’
This from an earlier post, a favorite story of mine:
I went back to the office and found a mistake on the masthead that I would never have found before I took this course.”
That’s what this woman, in publishing for a large prestigious university, had to say after a brief stint with mindfulness meditation. She went on to explain how much time catching that mistake saved them all.
And, we can figure that, since time is money, good chance finding that mistake saved them money too — if nothing else the cost in time and money of issuing an apology or correction for whatever it was.
This happened about 20 years ago and, of course, as a student, teacher, and practitioner of mindfulness myself, it was then — and still is — music to my ears.
From Power Breath to Power No
What the woman in the story above did was breathe herself into a more powerful state.
First, we settle down the anxiety that makes everything harder and more time consuming—best and easiest way to add more hours in the day for all kinds of things in work and life.
Go here for your 30 Second Mindset Reset, and let us know what you find. And for help with this or something else, Contact Me at [email protected]
Photo by Pexels Eugene Shelestov