Approaching the end of the year, time seems to be speeding up again.
I don’t know if you feel the same way, but for me during the last weeks before Christmas, time takes on a new quality, seemingly gathering momentum.
Two words I hear clients often say these days are “too much”.
It can all get too much- work, stress, tiredness, pressure, anxiety, etc…(which are interlinked)…I hear you!
In this context, I frequently get requests for time management tools, which I’d like to address here in a simple way.
Managing time to me actually means managing oneself. The key here is to set and organise priorities. We all just have 24h to our day, which, needless to say, cannot be altered. But what we can have an influence on is our focus. Obviously, we live in a manic world, in which things beep, ring and interrupt us endlessly. But I do think it’s possible to carve out special clear moments in a day, in which you blend out the rest of the world.
True focus for me inhabits some magical components. When I am fully focussed, for instance whilst writing a text, or in consultation with a client, or cooking a nice meal, in other words moments I deeply care about, time can take on a different quality- it is as if it dissolved and expanded.
That is to say, I become unaware of everything else around me and the focus dissolves all other thoughts (which can be useless noise anyhow). I think in this focussed state of being, we can step into a different quality of time, one that is no longer rushed and fear based, worrying about the future, but protected and serene in the here and now.
To help you on the way, I suggest a simple tool that I really like. It can help to be better organised, to have an overview of the day ahead, with clear priorities set.
This is how it works:
- Write down the six most important things you need to do. Ideally do this in the evening, so that you can start the day with clarity and- focus!:-)
- Sort these items according to importance.
- The next morning start by working on the first- proceed in a disciplined manner – without any distractions.
- Only when the first task has been completed, you move on to the second. And so on.
- What was not completed at the end of the day is automatically added to the list for the following day – plus the new tasks, a total of six again.
It sounds obvious and super easy. “Make a to-do-list and follow it” -is of course no rocket science. However, this so-called “Yvy-Lee” method, which was coined in 1918, is effective for several reasons. Firstly, when you actually do it, it imposes limits upon yourself. In a time of multitasking and endless interruptions, it (re)directs your focus to what is truly important to you.
Secondly, it sets the starting point for your new day. Deciding on your first task the night before is a real time saver for the following day.
Obviously six tasks are a lot, so the bottom line here is to do the most important things first.
All this said, however, I wouldn’t be true to what I stand for, which is a holistic approach to health and life.
Just as much as focusing and working hard are essential, because they get you places, do not forget to stop, have breaks and time out. As a colleague of mine recently said, we are human beings, not human doings. We need the yin, resting, playful and recuperating moments just as much, especially with winter approaching.
Resting is essential to slowing things down and coming back to yourself.
Because resting, just as focussing, are healing, by helping us step out of fear based time.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: