This episode is going to explore our relationship with time. It’s a relationship in that you have thoughts about it, feelings about it, excuses for it, a desire for more of it, and resentments about how it’s being spent.
“How did it get so late so soon?” said Dr. Seuss – something we can all relate to.
The science of time can center on the calendar or the clock. We, humans, have been trying to quantify and qualify time since stars were our first calendars and clocks.
Physicists define and debate the dimensions of time as the progression of events from the past to the present and into the future. However, they say time in the natural world has one direction—they call it the arrow of time. The human brain is equipped to track time. But as we all have experienced, the sensation of time can be highly subjective.
In Episode 10, we explored the meaning of minutes. Today, I want to offer you three thoughts about time to consider.
#1. Indecision is a decision.
The act of making a decision takes the brain a matter of seconds. The act of not making a decision, that extensive pro con list you have, the feedback gathering, you do the research, you dig into, the moving of an item from your to do list to your other to do list that takes hours, days, weeks, sometimes months. When you suspend yourself in indecision, you are avoiding something intrinsically. “But what if I fail?” Or extrinsically? “I don’t want them to be mad at me.”
When you choose to multitask, procrastinate, sleep on it, you are making a decision to not make a decision. Yes, there are complicated complex things in our lives that require lots of details. But details are actions once a decision is made. Details are how you execute on a decision. Whatever you are still deciding on is what you are avoiding.
Watch where you put the question marks in your life. And you will find the corners where your mind is hiding. “Should I watch one more episode?” “Should I apply for that opportunity?” “Should I really send that email?” “Should I speak up to somebody about this?” This isn’t about waiting for the right answer to reveal itself to you. It’s trusting that the decision you make is the right one right now. And remember, you get to change your mind. You just have to make up your mind first.
#2. Maybe is a no that just wants to be polite.
Our world is super busy. There are activities filling up our calendar all the time. And some of those activities really feel like obligations. When an invitation comes in, your brain and body do a split second huddle and return a verdict of yes or no. But maybe. Maybe, it’s self-inflicted. There are plenty of things in our day that come with a mandatory Yes. As you look to your days ahead, see if there’s an opportunity to turn a maybe into a “No, thank you.”
Here’s one idea on how to do that. “Thank you for thinking of me, my calendar is really full right now. So I’m not able to meet, attend, support. Thank you for understanding.” Go try to liberate some of your maybes into Nos.
#3. Time is a gift you give to yourself.
Having time with no agenda is an oxygen infusion for your brain, and probably your body. When you are constantly aware of the calendar and the clock, you’re in a state of suspension and anticipation.
Open your calendar and block a day where you don’t accept meetings, book appointments, take the dogs to the vet, help your sister move standard the return line or try to plow through that email box. Block a day, a whole day where there is no agenda. Yes, yes, you can. It may not be tomorrow, but put yourself on the calendar. In the next 30 days, find one day where it can be blissfully open. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do things. It means that you have a day where you don’t run to the ticking of the clock. You might actually find you’re more productive for exactly that reason.
Here’s the final takeaway on time: If you do hard things, life is easy.
Hard Things are organizing, prioritizing, saying no, having that conversation, setting up automated systems, exercising, making the meals at home, figuring out your technology notifications, shutting down that same technology, drinking that water, getting that sleep and making decisions.
What if you got good at doing hard things? What if more got to be on the menu for you? By doing the hards, you might just have less sick days, stressed days, wasted hours, and lost time. You’ll get to have more you.
So invest in your relationship with time and see what returns you can both give to each other.
Make time to make time and also make time to take good care.