Time. This one word holds multiple definitions, depending on the person and the circumstance. Time management, similarly, makes some of us giddy, while others view it as constraining; unnecessary rigidity & quite frankly, a waste of time! Which camp are you comfortable claiming as your own?
Or, are you like many of us, who fall somewhere between? We are more likely to set great intentions, buy cute new pastel or floral planners complete with post it notes, highlight markers, or download the latest 5 star app that assures we will soon be in control of our lives and our time. Then, by the middle of the second quarter, we find our planner largely unused, and instead are rehearsing the same life-long story, “I just don’t have enough time!”
Is this you?
Funny isn’t it, that we all have 24 hours in a day. We all have 7 days in a week and 365 days in a year. Yet. Some of us, see lack of time as one of our biggest obstacles to life success. We allow this mindset, or our comfortable habits to orchestrate our daily, weekly and yearly outcomes – or lack of outcomes.
Are you okay with this? Is this really how you want to continue living?
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your neighbor seems to get so much done, despite working full-time and having 4 children – and a dog! Does it seem unfair that your co-worker who knows far less than you, and has less experience, was recently promoted because she continues to exceed company goals? Or, what about that colleague who leaves everyday at 5 pm, (with a clean desk and a to-do list ready for the next day), and even has time to coach soccer for the middle-school kids – AND is the primary support for an elderly parent – do you wonder how this is possible?
How do they get all this done?
Chances are, their super human powers are no greater than yours! Isn’t that a relief? More likely, they were taught or observed tactics and strategies and then emulated them – and practiced to refine. Surely, they took control of how they wanted their day to look. They identified what their priorities were – and put them first.
See. No magic wand. Truly!
There is SO much ‘community speak’ these days about mindfulness – and the power of mindful thinking. Another term you may have heard is ‘Intentional Living’ – what do these even mean? Could these two concepts have any link to managing our day to have the outcomes we plan for?
Yes. I certainly think so!
Let’s look at what this might mean.
- Intentional Living: Dictionary.com defines Intentional as doing something on purpose – done with intent. Wikipedia defines Intentional Living as a lifestyle aligned with living according to values and beliefs. (Wikipedia.com) When we apply this term to the concept of time management, we are committing our time to an achievement(s) or outcome(s) that we value. We are identifying what it most important to us, and then establishing a plan for achievement. We are declaring that we are important, and that our time is valuable.
- Mindfulness: The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.” (Dictionary.com) Imagine the energy & accomplishments when we are able to truly focus!
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David Rock, shares the neuroscience behind mindfulness, and explains that it is something that can be learned, is not difficult, but does need to be practiced. He stated that, mindfulness supports better decision making, achievement of goals directed by ourselves, rather than by someone else. You can read more about the impact that motivation plays in goal setting – which certainly is connected to time management. Read that here: Motivation.
“The more mindful you become, the better decisions you will make, and the more you will achieve your own goals, rather than other people’s goals for you.” (David Rock, The Neuroscience of Mindfulness, Psychology Today
Similarly, in his book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, the author, David Rock, discusses more thoroughly the concepts from his article in Psychology Today. The title speaks directly to you and I, doesn’t it? Ultimately, this is what we are seeking! We want less distraction, focused attention, productivity and engagement that ensures our goals are achieved within the time frames we set. Time management influences most aspects of life, professionally and personally.
Am I right?
An Action Plan
Therefore, can we agree that focusing on practicing mindful thinking that aligns with our values and priorities – ie, intentional living, is a strong step toward taking control of our time management? Using resources, at least initially, to get into the habit of mindful thinking may be helpful, especially as a newbie.
Added Reading and Learning
- This book may help you launch your quest for mindful thinking & help you to refine your goals for increased productivity through better time management.
- This ceramic mug may offer a visual reminder throughout your day, as well as serve a practical purpose. Besides, I think it is pretty! Additionally, it includes a raised swirl icon, intended to provide a tactile and a visual focus to center your thoughts. A multi-faceted approach toward learning and adapting new habits can reinforce our efforts. And again, it is pretty – and makes me smile! Imagine this generous mug filled with some chamomile tea for relaxing, or some peppermint tea for added focus. Who knew time management could be so pleasurable?
Planners and Workbooks
- With your focused mindset, and a clear direction of your personal values and priorities, ie, intentional living, you need an organized spot to jot down your thoughts, plans, priorities and goals to stay on track with your time management plan. An added bonus with the following planner is the motivational quotes to keep you inspired and on your way to success!
There are multiple sources for inexpensive, yet effective time management planners and many are inspiring; whether you desire a professional look, or you are after personality & presence- they are out there! You can go to your favorite local Dollar Store or department store in the office section. I have found nice ones on sale at my local office supply stores. Of course, Amazon has many to choose from, if you don’t like the one linked above. Or, you can go to an online retailer that specializes in the area of organization, like Calendars.com
I also created a workbook that offers a 21 day approach to taking control of your time. it includes a time study, reflection about your interests and values, and an opportunity to plan out goals, short term and long term. If this is of any interest to you, you can find it in my SHOP.
Undoubtedly, another tool that may support mindfulness is the use of aroma therapy. You could choose oils known to promote relaxing, and are often described as soothing. (Oils like Bergamot, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Sweet Marjoram, or Ylang Ylang. Alternatively, some oils have properties that you may find stimulating with a sense of increased focus, (Basil, Juniper Berry, Rosemary, Peppermint.)
Certainly, if aroma therapy is an area you would like to explore, researching the oils, including where they are sourced from and how they are processed is key. You want to be certain you have a quality oil versus merely a perfumed oil. You also likely want a diffuser, which is an effective way to get the benefits from the oils. I have used essential oils for over 2 decades. If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to contact me to discuss. There are many resources online to learn more, but it can be helpful to talk directly to someone for ideas of how to use them safely and effectively.
- Diffusers can be sourced from many places. The easiest, and likely cheapest, may be from Amazon. There are numerous styles, a variety of price ranges and like everything, different levels of quality. Spending some time learning about your options is recommended. An example of one, merely for reference, is included below. I have one in each level of my home; they are all different types. Here is an example of what they can look like, and some features they often include.
Will you commit?
Absolutely, mindfulness and living with intention for improved time management will require your desire to change; an investment in active participation and a commitment to create new habits through practice and the use of available resources to support you. The results are likely to reward you with better time management, resulting in you being in control of your time, so that you can spend your time on the priorities and engaged in pursuits most valuable and meaningful to you.
In short, it is an opportunity to take control of your life! Is time management worth it? Yes!
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