I was watching the movie “Lucy” for the 20th time, and I was really struck by the message of time. Too often it seems like we are “running out of” time or “don’t have enough” time….and use this as justification for not finishing the things on our to-do list. Or, we determine that we just won’t be able to accomplish anything because of a time shortage, and the excuses abound. But time is not an excuse. Time is a measure.
We are all subject to 24-hour days (unless you perhaps drink a lot of coffee and stay awake for longer). So, the problem is not finding time, the problem is focus and priorities. In the movie, of course Lucy knows she is running out of time in her human form and wants to accomplish some specific things. This leads her to align her actions with the results she wants. And, you see, THAT is the real lesson for us. We have made everything in our lives a priority which then makes every effort aligned to them a conflict with another action towards another priority. So, it feels like everything we do takes us away from something, instead of bringing us toward a goal.
If you are frustrated by time, here are some thoughts on how to accomplish what you want with the time you have:
- Make clear priorities. Stop making everything a priority, and choose 1 or 2 priorities. If you have more than 2, you create a competition loophole that doesn’t serve your desire to accomplish things. If you can’t cut down to 1 – 2 priorities, than make 1 – 2 priorities per DAY, or per WEEK. By creating short-term focus, it makes it easier to accomplish your list instead of letting the daily fire-drills of life sabotage your goals day in and day out.
- Align your actions to your priorities. Once you choose your priorities, your actions become clear. You can determine what you need to do to stay aligned with your priorities and your goals. If fire drills come up, ask whether that fire drill really needs your attention now, or not. For example, if a family member becomes ill, you may need to drop everything to take care of them. However, if someone else has a work emergency and tells you they “need you to do this now” – get to the heart of what this work fulfills, and set clear boundaries, and determine what flexibility exists in their request. You may be able to negotiate a timeline.
- Create a schedule. Having clear boundaries on your time is an excellent way to create focus and accomplishment. So, you might use an automated reply on your voicemail and email to let people know you only take calls and emails at a specific time each day, allowing you to focus on your deliverables inbetween.
I totally agree! I think I get overwhelmed when I make big lists! I am working on a schedule to help keep me focused on just a few things at a time! 😀
That’s great, Kim! Trying to focus in on a select group of activities makes them more realistic. In fact, a prior mentor once told me never to have more than 3 items on a daily to-do list.