One of the reasons I left the corporate world was my growing frustration with not being totally in charge of my time. The fallout from bad planning meant last minute panic, such as a demand for urgent information that arrives at 4.55pm on a Friday or the insistence of preparing a ‘vital’ report that never gets read.
Yet I notice from working with soloists that many of us have simply substituted one tyrannical disorganised boss for another – ourselves.
We may know we have time management issues and enrol in expensive courses to help us achieve more within our limited time budget. However, this at best only addresses the symptoms not the causes, and at worst leads us to believe we are inadequate procrastinators who should become 24/7 go-getting action superheroes!
There is another way – and this involves adjusting our clocks to natural time. Rather like our body clock, there is a natural timing and rhythm to all things in the universe which we can tune in to.
However, to be able to reap the benefits of natural time we must take a leap of faith.
Here is a strategy I use that has proven helpful.
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Operating in natural time
If I don’t get a clear, positive signal about an item on my to do list, I don’t act on it, at least temporarily.
I make this decision using my feelings, not my mind. My mind may be telling me I should be doing a whole host of things, but I tend to trust my heart and my gut feeling. Is there resistance? Is the action I am taking flowing? Am I enjoying it? Am I totally present in it or thinking about something else, or worse still, viewing it as something to simply get through and tick off my list?
For me the benefits of using this time management strategy have been immense. These include:
- Better clients and more enjoyable projects.
- More creativity and better quality in my work.
- Increased efficiency by eradicating unnecessary work.
- Increased energy in my work and life.
- A sense of peace and virtually zero stress.
- A greater sense of confidence and empowerment.
- Greater focus and clarity of thought.
- Projects being completed well ahead of schedule.
- A natural work-life balance.
Interestingly I now rarely get through to people’s voicemails. By tuning into the right time to make the call I normally get to speak directly with the person I am calling.
By learning when to sleep on it or put a project on hold, I find myself ultimately making better and often more informed decisions. Then, when it is time to move into action, my projects progress swiftly, effortlessly and easily.
A word of warning here: it is important to communicate with those impacted by your decisions and timing. Clients are normally much more flexible and open to going with the flow than we give them credit for – especially when a slight delay at one stage of the project will lead to increased benefits down the track.
So if your to do list is tormenting you, and you’d love to jettison your checklist lifestyle – try adjusting your clocks to natural time.