Too many time management tips can often overwhelm someone with the need for even more planning.
It can defeat the purpose of the whole exercise.
I’m going to suggest one thing for you to do which will get to the crux of the belief we don’t have enough time.
Why am I bringing this up now?
Well, lesson #1 of the Life Principles Integration Process (LPIP) course I am going through is about beliefs:
- how/why they are formed;
- how/why we sustain them;
- how they influence us;
- how to become aware of our own beliefs; and
- how to change them to be more resourceful in our lives.
I completed the written homework.
Without going into every detail, the most prominent factor which permeates a lot of my negative habits & behavior is the belief that I don’t have enough time to do everything I would like.
As the Merovingian says in the film, The Matrix:
If we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?
Last week, after researching many time management tips I settled on one in particular: Writing down everything I do for 30 days.
Kind of like a time audit.
However, after a few days of diligently writing down everything I did, one pivotal point became obvious.
It has the potential to alleviate any other time-problems I may have.
At least, it seemed to be the nexus point (or the weakest link) for me to start feeling like I do have enough time to enjoy the things I would like to do.
It is this:
Most nights, around about the time I go to bed, my mind opens and I imagine so many projects I want to start, do, try, finish.
In my mind I justify it as an unstructured planning period.
Sometimes I do take concrete action for a particular project.
But too often it’s just a grey area of quasi-preparation where I can convince myself that it is productive. Or at least more productive than what it actually is.
This habit compels me to go to sleep hours after I probably should have which compels me to wake up hours after I probably should have.
So the next day I have less time than I probably should have.
And this reinforces my belief that I don’t have enough time to do everything I would like!
This is what Bill Harris calls a cybernetic loop.
The other ‘homework’ for Lesson #1 was to just watch ourselves sustaining the beliefs we have.
The suggestion was not to try to analyze why we hold certain beliefs.
For example, the reason why my mind opens later in the evening I see as three-fold:
- The world is going to sleep so the collective thoughts of the general population simmers down. I find I can manage my thoughts with a little more mindfulness (I’ve always been a night-person);
- It’s kind of a panic-phase where I fear I haven’t gotten the most out of the day yet; and
- The longer I stay awake means the longer I can delay waking up to start my job again (which I feel is raping my time).
Even though these three points are very clear for me, knowing the why does not help. Similarly, nor was it suggested in the homework to try to change beliefs via will-power or some other means of force.
The instruction is simply to watch ourselves sustain the belief.
So I’ve been watching myself believe I don’t have enough time. Then not going to bed. Staying up for just one more half hour. And another. And so on.
To consciously watch yourself do something in real time like this alters your attachment to it.
And if you do this with awareness enough times, then eventually you have the choice to not do it.
Ordinarily, this is not something that will get resolved at a deep level in two weeks (that is, the time before the next lesson in the LPIP course).
Observing or witnessing yourself create/sustain beliefs/actions is just an introduction for a new perspective.
A chance to open up a new path of possibilities.
If time is an issue for you and all the time management tips in the world haven’t saved you, try writing down everything you do for 30 days.
Seeing things as they really are can be transformational.
The crux of your time-issue might not be the same as mine. Whatever it is though, it could possibly reveal itself within the first few days.