Restoring Balance: It’s About Time

balance and clockIt always come down to time, doesn’t it? Everything we do has a time component.  From the minute our alarm wakes us in the morning until we lay our weary heads down at night, we are governed by time.

In fact, we depend on our watches to “watch” the time for us.  It is fundamentally our universal tool to measure a given day; our personal alert system to remind us when we have to do just about anything. Time doesn’t only punctuate our mealtimes, appointments, or travel;  it organizes all of our life activities.  Essentially, it is our ultimate “life tracker.” Unfortunately, it is not a flawless system.

The simple truth is that we all regard time differently.  Some of us adhere to it fastidiously, while others not so much.  Regardless, whether or not you have the more nonchalant attitude or actually struggle with time-management, you are still at risk of losing your daily balance.

We must remember that time is measurable.  And when we lose track of it, it can disturb our balance.  Think about how many costly consequences there are as a result of time not being on our side.  There are appointments to make, schedules to meet, planes to catch, time zones to calculate, and if there is one small glitch in the system, it can all go very wrong.

Things happen.  There are unforeseen circumstances that are clearly out of our hands.  It can be as minimal as oversleeping, unpredictable as traffic, or as serious as an unfortunate accident, personal health, or family crisis.  Any one of these scenarios can spill into late appointments, missed plane connections, or even worse.

In a perfect world, when we can control time, it is precisely what connects us to one another, isn’t it? “I’ll meet you @ 1:00 for lunch” or “Conference call at 3:00,” or “Dinner’s at 8:00pm.”  It’s our frame of reference, both casually and professionally.  It’s what makes the world go ’round.  It’s a universal language that keeps us on schedule, at least most of the time.

But all too often, we take time for granted or are too busy to realize its rapid passing.  Hence, we lose control of the day and beyond.  Managing one’s time is a common challenge but for many, this is a daily struggle.  “If we cannot feel the sweep of time, we cannot manage it,”  is one of my sustaining take-aways from a recent NAPO Conference I attended.

The good news is that there are solutions.  I don’t typically promote products on my blog but it’s an opportune time to give this one a shout out, simply because it works.  It’s one of my favorite time-manager tools, called the Time Timer.  It’s a super effective product I recommend to clients that battle with time-management issues.

For me, it’s about old school thinking.  I can still remember the big analog classroom clocks ticking away one second-hand at a time, being able to watch time pass and waiting for the bell to ring.  In today’s digital world, it is far more difficult to conceptualize the passage of time.  Think about it, can you really “feel” the time sweep from 1:27 pm to 1:42 pm?  With this timer, you can visually watch time elapse, without the dreaded ticking. You will actually “see” time pass. Every time I use it, it still surprises me that the set time had expired so rapidly. In fact, this tool is actually a great time “teacher.”  I learned these three lessons;

1) When you’re immersed in a task, you can easily lose track of time and control.

2) Everything takes longer than you think.

3) Being more mindful of time, significantly heightens focus and increases productivity. (helps to manage those obsessive time robbers too)

Exploring effective methods to track time will likely raise awareness of how you use time and can instigate a shift in mindset.  Essentially, it plugs you into “self” and connects your actions to an accountable timeline.

Being more mindful can arguably change the relationship we have with time. If we can regard time more efficiently, perhaps we can make it work for us, not against us. Relying on time as our life-manager can restore the balance we might be lacking.

What’s your relationship with time? Are you in control? If you pay attention with a more critical eye, I bet time will tell.

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