Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.
-Theophrastus, the Greek philosopher who studied under Plato
Do you want to make the most of your time? The first step is to develop an empowering Time Mindset. instead of thinking in terms of time management. Use these four principles and you’ll feel less stressed and be more effective. You’ll find that life is less complicated and more fulfilling.
Appreciate the Gift of Time
The 1,440 minutes of each day are precious. Like money, we can waste them or invest them in something worthwhile. If we’re intentional, the conversation in our head might sound like this, “Enough time surfing the Internet!” “How much time will I be spending at the mall?” or “Is going to another happy hour at the local bar worth the time?”
Allow Time to Nurture
Time is a nurturer. Every gardener knows that seeds sprout in their own time. We may see a little seedling in a few days after we plant a bean seed, or we may have to wait weeks before we see sprouts from an asparagus seed. Each kind of seed has its timetable, and we can’t rush the process.Recently I read a blog that compared self-publishing to growing bamboo. Bamboo is an amazing grass that grows steadily, as much as four feet a day. Yet, it takes about six years to grow to its full height. The biggest spurt comes in the last year. When we work toward big goals, we, too, progress along the way. Often, we are not satisfied with our advancement because we just want the end results. However, big goals need time.
Allow Time to Heal
The passing of time can heal us both physically and emotionally. If we have an illness or injury, the doctor might say, “Rest for a week” or “Take this antibiotic for ten days.” If we follow the advice, we recover.
The same is true of emotional pain. After a while, we eventually accept the things we can’t change. We gradually get over being laid off from a job. We even move on after the end of a relationship or the loss of a loved one. The scars on our heart remain, but we eventually find new purpose and are able love again. We can’t get relief instantly, but time does heal our hurts. There’s a saying, Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain. Letting time pass helps us gain insight and understanding needed to move on.
Use Time as a Decision-Making Tool
Have you ever felt stuck, confused or adverse to making a decision. You may have worried about others who would be affected by your choice. Maybe you were confused because the payoff to the decision was so far into the future.
There is a method to make better choices by using 10-10-10, a powerful decision-making system developed by Suzy Welch. Her idea is to imagine the short and long-term consequences of a decision. The three 10’s stand for different times in the future: 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years.
Each period is significant. After thinking about a decision from each of the time perspectives, you’ll understand how the choice can impact your future. Then you can consider whether or not to go through with your original plan.
Using this method, you’ll have more confidence and be able to justify your decisions because you’ve checked the consequences. You'll make careful choices for your personal and professional life.
10-10-10 emphasizes the power of choice. Making sacrifices or upsetting someone now may or may not pay off in the future. It depends on where you think things will lead. For example, if you call off an engagement because of hurt feelings, you may regret the decision ten months from now. On the other hand, calling it off because major disagreements can’t be resolved will spare you an unhappy marriage. With 10-10-10, you take time to see the possibilities and chose carefully.
Our New Time Mindset
When we think of time in terms of these benefits, we are reevaluate what is often a crazy busy pace of life. Then we can begin to feel less pressured and make the needed adjustments.
Irene Caniano is a transition and productivity coach. She is the author of Design Your Happiness: 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want. Her upcoming book with the tentative title, Uncomplicate Your Life, will be published in 2018. Feel free to contact Irene at Irene@irenecaniano.com.