I am possibly smack in the middle of one of the busiest times I have chosen to experience in the last few years of my life. My business is accelerating like an Audi R8 (of which I have my heart set on being the proud owner of one of these days). The love of my life is currently working in Munich which means that I currently split my time between England and Germany on a bi-weekly basis and have taken on the unfamiliar (and slightly scary) role of mother / home-maker with my two step kids. To add into the mix, my sister just had a beautiful new baby, I am halfway through two new coaching qualifications and am managing to squeeze in 6.5 hours of exercise a week….. phew!
Now where some of you will be reading this thinking ‘that sounds like a light-weight version of my life’: others will be thinking more along the lines of ‘she is definitely heading for an early heart attack, nervous breakdown or spontaneous human combustion’
The point is we all experience chaotic, running at a million miles an hour, ballistic periods in our life. Some of us choose to experience these for longer than others but solidarity brothers and sisters because experience them we all do!
Now if you go into the physics of it all, time is not only a construct of the human mind but irrelevant in terms of how the universe works. Hang on, rather than wanting to punch this blog entry, hear me out. We all live in a human world of time, regardless of whether we invented it or not. We all have the same amount of hours, days and months in which to go about our lives (providing we aren’t struck down by a bus in our prime of course but who wants to live their life with that assumption?). What I am getting at is that we can choose how we spend our time and in that choice lays freedom from the sense of overwhelm, chaos and confusion that often arises in these times of high activity.
Most of the negative feelings above arise when we feel that we aren’t the ones in control of our time. When we are spending our precious energy and moments doing things that aren’t helping us to feel a sense of achievement, joy and growth then we start to wonder what is the f***ing point anyway? What sorts of things tend to fall into this category?
- Work that is done for money and nothing else
- Favours done for people when you resent it or are doing it to ‘get’ not ‘give’
- Activities that give no sense of recognition or growth (ironing and listening to moaning people are both definitely in this camp for me)
- Surfing the internet or TV for the sake of it or because you are too tired to do anything else (because you have spent your precious energy and time on activities above)
- (this line left blank for you to fill in your own form of meaningless, time wasting activity)
How much of your time and energy have you been squandering on similar activities to those above? When you reach the end of this glorious life, what time will you remember? Will it be the days wasted on a job you hated, the time spent in a relationship that you knew wasn’t where you were supposed to be. Or will it be the moment of peace when you were laid in the sunshine reading your favourite book? The sense of achievement and sparkle as you finished an amazing project that gained you unbelievable recognition from your boss and colleagues? The look of love on your partners face when you have weathered months of home craziness to allow them to settle into their fabulous new job?
It’s all about choice. One thing I have realised during the last crazy 8 months of setting up my business is that the happier, more challenged, more alive you are, the more you get done and the better you feel. Efficiency is filling your time with things you love and the things that make you feel like you are achieving, growing and helping others. This is all completely possible within the realms of ‘normal life’. Which parts of your job do you love? Do more of that. What are the special times with your children that make you smile for months or even years afterwards? Swap TV time for more of that. What is your favourite way to spend time when you are on your own? Instead of going out with friends / to your mothers etc one weekend, be vicious with your own time and do something that makes you shine on the inside and outside. In the immortal words of L’Oreal… you are most definitely worth it!
Now this is all very well. As we all know, it is a million, trillion times easier to say these things than to do them. My approach to ensuring that that do the do is to schedule them. They become a meeting in my diary and I have time slots every day for personal time, kids time, partner time … you get the point.
I have also introduced the concept of MIT’s into my time life.
MIT = Most Important Tasks.
At the start of everyday, I make a list of my MIT’s. I have a head MIT, a heart MIT and a soul MIT. This way I balance across the things I need to get done for work or for family vs. the things I need to get done for my own mental, emotional and spiritual sanity.
The secret to this working is that the time slots are 90% nonnegotiable. E.g. – if you get the chance of a lifetime to suddenly land a fabulous business deal and it happens to clash with your yoga class then guess what happens. As long as your heart and soul MIT’s aren’t sacrificed on a regular basis then the system works fine.
Your time is your own and no one else’s. Claim it back, reveal in it. Regain power in your life. It is then that you end up in the times of chaos thinking ‘alive’.