Time is Choice
Posted by Beth Payne, Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience in her Resilience blog and re-posted here.
Almost every time I give a presentation on resilience, someone mentions that a major barrier to engaging in activities that foster resilience is that they do not have the time. For example, people know that enjoying a hobby or socializing with colleagues will benefit them, but they struggle to find the time. We know we should exercise regularly but the day goes by and there never seems to be enough time. We start the day planning to go to bed at 10PM to get 8 hours of sleep and before we know it, it is midnight. How many of us feel like we’ve lost control of our time and therefore aren’t engaging in activities that improve our resilience and therefore our effectiveness and productivity?
If you struggle to control your time, you might find Laura Vanderkam’s TED talk useful. Instead of giving tips on how to “find extra hours in the day” or searching for ways to “save bits of time,” she advocates first building the lives we want and then managing time around these lives. She explains that time is a choice. We can’t make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we chose to put into it. The key to time management is to focus on our priorities. Instead of saying I don’t have time to do X, Y, or Z it is better to say I won’t do X, Y, or Z because they are not a priority.
She recommends that on Friday afternoon, make a list with the following three categories: work, relationships and self. Identify two/three items for each category. Then look over the next few weeks and plan these items in your calendar. She recommends looking at the whole of your time and looking for where the good stuff can go. She concludes that when we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want with the time we’ve got.