You and I know many people who are ‘trapped’ in a daily ‘routine’. Every week is the same, every month, and every year.
Only briefly interrupted by ‘holidays’.
(Which should be called ‘vacations’ because ‘holidays’ means ‘holy days’ – for once the Americans get it right!)
But then I guess many people do think of their breaks from the hamster wheel ‘holy’.
You and I know only too well how difficult it is sometimes to make an appointment with someone or to set up a meeting, or to get someone to attend an event, even watch a broadcast of some sort.
The question is – why do people do this to themselves?
What’s the cause, and what’s in it for them?
When I discuss this with people they think that they ‘have to’ or ‘need to’ do all this stuff, using up their time often with things they’d really rather not be doing.
For sure, there are many people who have ‘contracted out’ a big chunk of their time to an employer; but even then –
When they’re ‘at work’ the same thing tends to happen, especially at ‘management’ level – the daily, weekly, monthly meetings that drag on and on and where most people only need to be there to make their contribution for a brief portion of the time allotted.
But hey, that’s the way it is . . .
And so, when they’re not ‘working’ they end up cramming things into the time available until there’s none left.
None left for what?
Here’s the thing –
There’s activities that you and I want to do and there’s activities that you and I have to do – really have to do.
The problem is that there are too many things that we think we have to do that, in reality, we really don’t.
They may be activities that we’ve chosen to do, in the past, but have now become a habit that we have difficulty breaking.
We get so used to doing things that we once wanted to do that they’ve now become ‘have-to’s.
We don’t really want to be tied up doing things that we used to do just because we ‘always’ do them!
And this applies at work as well as at home.
But what about ‘time management’?
What about all those great techniques taught on management courses?
I’m sorry, but you and I cannot manage our time – it passes and we have no control over that.
We can’t bring back a chunk of time that has passed because unlike money, there are no refunds.
But we can ‘manage’ what we do with our time.
People are taught on courses and at seminars to get their diary and ‘block out’ chunks of time for certain things; and I’ve seen some wonderful creations where the days of the week have all been divided up into different brightly coloured boxes.
Time for, this, time for that, sometimes ‘me time’, and so on.
This is a really good way of increasing stress and anxiety levels!
Because “I must do that today, it says so in my diary, if I don’t do what it says I’ll lose control”
And that would be chaos.
Nothing like a bit of impromptu chaos to liven things up, to make us think.
Most people are quite good and dealing with a little bit of chaos, it can be stimulating!
Now there’s nothing wrong with making a plan for the week, month, year ahead.
A list of those things that you have to do (in order of priority) and those things you really want to do (again in order).
But there has to be time for other things as well.
- Time to think
- Time to have fun
- Time for family and other people
- Time to learn something new
- Time to regenerate
But, please, don’t ‘block them out’ in your diary!
Because then they soon become ‘chores’ – things you think you have to do!
Things you think you have to ‘tick off’.
And don’t ever ‘fill up’ your time, because there’s something else you need to cater for.
It’s what I call ‘opportunity time’.
It’s when something occurs to interrupt your ‘perfectly ordered week’
It may be good or seemingly bad – but it’s always an opportunity.
It’s been given to you, and you need to act on it.
Before someone else does.
You don’t know when it will happen.
You won’t see it coming.
But you need to be ready, at all times, whatever else is going on, to recognise and act on the opportunities that come your way.
Or they’ll be lost.
Have you time available to take advantage of them or are you ‘too busy’?
You know what to do.