“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking, 
Racing around to come up behind you again.”

Clock chimes clanging, alarms ringing, and crazy noise, shifts slowly into a single, focused ticking clock.  I feel my own heart racing, and I’m anxious, much like being under the gun for a deadline.

Never has an opening to a song better captured the sensation of the pressure of time, than Pink Floyd’s “Time.” The song lyrics are equally compelling.

Recently I listened to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album. When “Time” played, I realized writing a piece on time was already on my mind.  Time is a topic often present in my work with clients, discussions with prospects, and even for my own business management.

How many times have you said “I’ll do it later,” “I would if I had the time,” or “What I wouldn’t give for more time?”

Time is the thing we most crave, and we seem unable to control.  We feel we have no choice in how we spend our time. It is as if we are trapped in a time prison, and someone else holds the key.

“Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught, or hold a page of scribbled lines.”

I have no doubt that you, like me, have read books, attended time management courses, even talked to time management gurus. We’ve invested time and money to obtain the best time management practices.  It isn’t about getting more tools. We don’t need to gather more “how to” knowledge to manage our time.

What is it about?  It starts with awareness to your story about time. Finding clarity about your desired future state, and what changes you want to see. And making a commitment to choose what you will do differently to make it happen.

Creating awareness
Awareness begins by asking questions.  Consider these questions to start your exploration of your own time story:

  • What is my time story?
  • How do I currently spend my time?
  • What do I choose to prioritize in my day?
  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What isn’t serving me in my current time model?
  • What am I willing to change to get more time?

Noticing resistance
If you are feeling that this exercise may take more time than you have, you are not alone.  We are often so pressed for time, that we don’t make the time to explore what’s currently happening, and how we might do things differently.

What will change if we do nothing differently?

The answer seems obvious, if we do nothing differently, nothing will change.  I would invite you to consider if that is really true.  If we are stressed, anxious, on edge, reactive, and barely keeping our heads above water, what is the impact?

Short-term, stress and anxiety can impact our performance and productivity, our behaviour, and our feelings about our work, our sense of worth, and joy in life.  Long-term, stress and anxiety can increase our risk of a number of serious health issues, including heart disease and diabetes.

Can we really afford to keep doing what we have always done?

“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”

Finding Clarity
By dedicating time to explore our time story, we open up space and possibility for change. We know where we currently are, and can start to design where we would like to be. It isn’t just about doing things differently, it is also about feeling differently.

How would it feel to have space to breathe?
How would it feel to create time for creativity and innovation?
How would it feel to have more time for the things that really matter?

When we connect with more than our logical reasoning, to the deeper feelings that spark our “why,” we are more compelled to commit to the actions that will bring about real change.

Making Commitment
Even the most aware people sometimes struggle with making the changes needed to achieve the goals they set. More time is what we want, yet we are hesitant to commit to the time needed to see change happen. Making the change itself can feel overwhelming.

We know the benefits, and our “why” to make the change. We know what’s at stake if we do nothing. We know what actions we can take to get there.  Now, what we need is commitment.

I used to wait for inspiration to come. I waited to feel motivated.  What did I realize? Making a commitment isn’t about motivation or inspiration, and waiting to feel motivated may lead to taking no action at all.

Commitment is choosing to take an action, knowing it will lead to my desired results. As Nike says,“Just do it.”

To make commitments easier to execute, I recommend breaking them down to bite-size, digestible pieces.  Any small change is a step in the right direction.

Getting started
Whether you feel trapped in a time prison, find yourself barely treading water, or just wishing you had more time, I encourage you to start by exploring your time story.

Valuing our time, and prioritizing what really matters, allows us to take control of our own time.  It is possible. Isn’t it about time?