Time? It’s a strange thing we’ve invented so things don’t all happen at once.
Try as I have, I haven’t figured out how to manage Time. All I can do is manage what I do with my time and that’s where things get tricky for me. I bet it’s the same for you, isn’t it?
If we’re not conscious about what we do with our time, we can create all kinds of havoc and we may destroy our relationships with self and others, and blame it all on Time.
Here are examples.
Quite some time ago, I had a 10:00am appointment in Edmonton. I calculated backwards to ensure that I could get necessary things done prior to leaving home – farm chores, emails, phone calls, a couple letters to write, package books for the mail, etc. I allowed only enough time to get these duties done without any complications.
Guess what happened? Things didn’t go as planned and I was late for my meeting. Oh, I had some justifiable excuses. But in my mind, it wasn’t my fault. I blamed Time.
A few years ago, when Jamie and Brad were still living at home, Jamie said, “Dad, please come toboganning with us?”
“Yes – sounds like fun. You guys go ahead and I’ll be there in 15 minutes. I’ve got a couple emails to finish and send and I’ll be right behind you.”
Time did it’s thing. I heard the door open as my sons returned to the house. I looked at the clock and Time had jumped ahead by more than an hour. “I’m sorry guys. I got caught up in what I was doing.”
“It’s OK, Dad. We had fun without you.”
But it’s not OK. I could have chosen to do those emails later. Were they more important than my kids now? I can’t buy back that time.
Last spring, I was writing at the computer. It was a beautiful sunny day. Carol asked if I wanted to go for a walk. “Sure. Can I have 5 minutes to finish this thought?”
One thought led to another, and another, and another. 15 minutes later, I ran out of the house to see Carol walking over the top of the hill by herself. When I caught up to her I said, “Sorry, I lost track of Time.”
I’m glad our relationship is strong and Carol was honest with me. She said, “When you agree to come with me and then don’t, I feel as if you don’t care about me.” Ouch!
In each example, even though I had Time excuses, my behaviour negatively affected my relationships. I did a poor job of planning what I did with Time. And I also wasted much energy stewing, worrying, and rushing. Heck, I’m even writing about it now.
Here’s the point: Time does an excellent job of moving forward – it doesn’t miss a second. Do you use it as an ally or a scapegoat?
I have 3 simple challenges for you, should you choose to accept them. If you apply them, I guarantee you’ll experience positive results in all areas of your life.
1. Eliminate the word ‘busy’ from your vocabulary and instead use words like, “things are great.” Simply thinking or saying the word ‘busy’ oozes a gucky energy of not-enough-time. Frankly, Time has nothing to do with it. ‘Busy’ is a word that some people wear as a badge of honour. Many people seem to believe that by saying it, they have the right to be late, forget, lie, break agreements, do inadequate work, and a whole rash of other relationship-destroyers.
Conversely, comments such as ‘doing well,’ ‘having fun,’ or ‘fabulous’ convey positivity and productivity – and you’ll feel good too.
2. Rather than being ‘on-time’, plan to be early for appointments and meetings. Get out of bed earlier. Allow adequate time for traffic, weather, poor roads, etc. Keep great educational CD’s in your vehicle and use travel time for life-enrichment and mental growth.
Take along a good book or other reading material. Early-time is ‘found Time’ to catch up.
Use early-time and your cell phone to reconnect and build business and personal relationships. Please use the phone only while you are parked.
3. Invest ample time with your loved-ones. It pays the biggest dividend of any investment in regard to your long-term happiness, love, and success. Any wise stock-broker will affirm this.
Play with your kids when they want to play. Listen to them when they want you to listen. Instigate the play and discussions spontaneously and regularly.
It takes much less than a minute to genuinely hug a loved-one. 10 or 12 of these throughout the day should suffice. That’s less than 0.5% of your day! And when you are immersed in one of these hugs, Time seems to stand still.
Research shows that most couples spend less than 30 minutes per week talking about intimate topics. Can you imagine the pay-offs of investing 30 minutes per day talking about how you can enhance your relationship? It could eliminate or greatly reduce the stress and anxiety that most couples experience.
Occasionally, invest a full day to be together, doing fun things you both enjoy. Won’t it be fun for both of you to make a list of these things?
Regularly, get away from your familiar surroundings and participate in a relationship retreat where you can learn new ideas and focus on creating your relationship as you want it to be.
These challenges are simple, basic communication and self-management skills. Initially they may take conscious work for you, however they will quickly become healthy habits that keep Time on your side and allow you to experience more of those good feelings you want, deserve, and can have.
Rather than abusing Time and blaming it for tearing your relationships apart, partner with Time to build and enhance your relationships with your life-partner, family, and colleagues.
You know this stuff and so do I. So, what are you going to do NOW?
Me? Carol just gave me this warm smile, a wink, and asked if I wanted to play. My response was…