How we think and talk about time says a lot about our capacity to be productive.
For example, do you often say “I have plenty of time”, or do you say “I’m short on time today”?
What about, “Oh, it’s no rush” or “Please hurry up with that”?
Our word choices are a reflection of our thinking patterns, which heavily influence our behavior and ability to be productive.
An Adversarial Relationship with Time
I have a confession to make: I used to be quite adversarial with time.
Frequently heard in my day-to-day conversations were the phrases “hurry up” and “why is this taking so long?”.
And this manifested across to behaviors and actions. I would walk fast everywhere. I would get annoyed at people who walked slowly, who held up lines, who ambled along with little sense of direction and purpose.
But that isn’t a healthy way to live. It meant higher levels of anxiety. It meant higher levels of stress. And let’s not even mention the massive presupposition that time is limited, and something that I’m fighting against all the time.
A Lazy Relationship with Time
Let’s contrast this with people who aren’t concerned about time… at all.
These are the people who think spending 4 hours a day commuting is normal – and don’t want to change it.
These are the people who aren’t in a rush to do anything… ever.
These are the people who also likely have no goals, no outcomes, no drive, no direction and don’t take actions towards the things they want in life – they would rather let the world decide for them rather than be proactive about it.
In fact, neither you or I are one of these people – so let’s not waste any more time talking about them.
Forging an Alliance with Time
So if it’s not healthy to battle time, or to ignore it completely, where does that leave things?
I started looking into it and the better way to go about things is to forge an alliance with time.
Yes, it is OK to be concerned about how much time something takes. And there is nothing wrong with asking if things could be done faster, if things can be optimized, or why certain things still take so darn long.
But, this is tempered with less concern about things that do take time. And the recognition that certain things simply CANNOT go any faster than they already do.
Why is time our ally? Because we understand it – its strengths, its weaknesses, and how to utilize it effectively.
But time needs to be watched – it will walk all over us if we let it. This is commonly experienced as “days gone by” where days, weeks and even month just fly by when we don’t stay on top of things.
When we work with time though, good things happen. We get more done in a day than we think we can. And amazing things happen over the course of months and years when we’re consistent in our relationship with time.
And the net result of this is less anxiety, less frustration, and increased resources to handle challenges and problems as a result of a better mood and better focus (because we’re no longer worrying about battling limited time).
What’s Your Relationship with Time?
Like all good allies, you have to respect time. Keep the terms of your alliance – use your time effectively and efficiently, and stay on top of it. If you stray and start to disrespect it – it’ll come back and kick your ass with a vengeance.
What’s your relationship with time?
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