Where has the time gone? How often do we say that to ourselves? We're halfway through 2023! Can you believe it? Our experience with time is one of the "things" in our lives that can be ever-present or very elusive. We can be pressed for time (which shows in that moment we are very aware of it) or we can be lost in time (when immersed in a project we love).
You know, elusive has an interesting definition in this context. It suggests that time is difficult to find or catch. Funny, isn't it? Does time run away? Does it disappear? Where does it go? The answer to all three? Nowhere. It's ever-present - a constant, deeply personal life partner. Life partner, you say? Yes, because time measures our life... Our very existence, which we acknowledge and typically celebrate every birth date.
Quite simply, time is our life in numbers.
I think this is why I've always had a fascination with time management because ultimately I see it as life management. So I conclude, if you value your life, you will value your time. And if you value your time, you will want to intentionally develop life (time) management practices to ensure you are producing the kind of life you want.
As a popular companion to time management, I've also had a fascination with productivity in the most basic sense. When I think of productivity from a life-management standpoint, I see it as what one is producing from their life....as the definition suggests - cause to happen or come into existence.
Here's what is really interesting about life. Every day we cause things to happen. We bring into existence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that form our lives...that shape our reality. Now for most, all of this is automated from years of past conditioning. Those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are also typically reactionary.
This kind of living - from past conditioning and reactions - is independent of choice. And so, our lives are shaped by past experiences and reactions to whatever comes at us. I call this living like a pinball - being haphazardly shot about in a crazy boxed-in maze that seems difficult to control or escape.
There are some though that come to see that they do not want to live life this way. They want to live from choice and control. They also realize that achieving this will take lots of effort and practice. Overcoming and overriding automatic responses to life will require a particular kind of muscle few have and are willing to develop.
I call this your emotional intelligence muscle. And as we all know, a muscle can only be developed and strengthened through lots of practiced repetition and perhaps a bit of pain.
So where are you in your life right now?.. Fulfilled, happy, exhausted, stressed? If there is a part of your life you'd like to adjust, reshape or experience differently? If so, here is a key tip to achieve that.
Change - intentionally shape - your inner dialogue. Your inner dialogue is what you tell yourself reflected by your thoughts and feelings. You can change it - any time - if you choose to. We all are constantly telling ourselves stories about what's going on in our day. Yep, we have a running storyline that is either automatic or intentional (consciously chosen). At any time we can stop the automation and insert conscious scripting, like listening to the radio. We stop listening to one channel and turn the dial to a different one. We can choose what we hear and tune into.
Tools to Help
There are many resources to help you do this. However, I'd like to suggest somewhat of an interesting multiple-benefit approach - using a time management tool. Most are designed to prompt you to stop, pay attention, and build awareness which creates the opportunity for change. You can't change what you don't see.
Additionally, those tools typically ask you to record or do some amount of writing. The neuroscience of writing vs. typing also has huge benefits. Writing activates various areas of your brain that typing does not.
If you'd like to explore the concept of using time management as a means of cultivating change to improve areas of your life, I've created a resource called The Time Coach. It's a small book designed as a self-coaching tool through the lens of behavioral neuroscience. It prompts you to track and record what's happening throughout your day so that you can make incremental, continuous improvements in the areas that create your life - thoughts, feelings, decisions, and behaviors.
Time management is life management - it's a way of tracking your life to see if you're creating the life you really desire. Chose to live from intention and choice vs. past conditioning and reactions. The quality of your life resides here.
Also, I've been adding lots of content to my YouTube channel - I encourage you to check it out, subscribe, and engage in the comment section!