I’ll start my contribution to time management right away with a bold statement:
“Time cannot be gained, it cannot be lost or saved, and we certainly cannot manage it.”
Our working time is a staged counter-world to our actual human rhythm. This leads us to spend an incredible amount of energy trying to generate small “time-outs” within the compression of our daily schedules.
Of course, this is a trap. After all, we can’t expect to put ourselves in stressful situations every day and then repair the resulting damage with wellness weekends or yoga retreats within four weeks of vacation each year.
It is important to work on our attitude towards time
Our expectations influence our perception of time and our evaluation of it. That’s exactly where we can start first.
Imagine they get on a bus and know the ride is now expected to take an hour. If this is now extended to two hours due to an unforeseen heavy traffic situation, you are probably annoyed. You feel that you are losing time or wasting it unnecessarily.
Now imagine you get on the bus again and know the trip will take about three hours. However, the traffic situation is so favorable that you can reach your place of arrival after only two hours. Now you may feel relief or even rejoice. You feel you have gained or been given time that you can now use wisely for yourself.
In both cases, you spent two hours on the bus, but your expectations changed how you felt, how you evaluated, and consequently, how you felt.
We can strengthen our (expectation) attitude every day by “equalizing” our working days a bit. This, in turn, leads to the fact that we can put aside our own restlessness in our free time, which leads to a faster relaxation effect.
So managers who wake up around 4:00 a.m. and then work twelve to sixteen hours will have a very hard time feeling truly relaxed during a sudden or even planned time off. Here, your mind permanently recommends activity in the form of action. Pondering over the beautiful weather, letting your mind wander or simply doing “nothing” and just staring in front of you is quickly seen by you as a waste of time and dismissed as useless. They have not understood that time – means life.
Want to get started right away with your plan for inner freedom?
But how do you create “equalization” in the professional workday?
Well, there are numerous options here:
Tip 1: Waiting can also be pleasant
When you compose your next email or make a phone call and don’t reach anyone, lower your expectations and enjoy the time of waiting. Be happy that the person is giving you the time to think about your concerns. When calling back, ask specifically how your counterpart is feeling. Also help others to look at the value of time differently and not to be impatient and quick to get a call over with so as not to “waste” time. What you can experience through such situations is much more valuable than a structured plan – life, relaxation, communication and connection.
Tip 2: Mindfulness as a new credo in your everyday life
Purposefully stand in a line of people at lunchtime (with the proper distance, of course) and look at the merchandise on the line. Think about what dishes can be cooked with it and whether the buyer will eat in the garden or at the kitchen table. I wonder what they will talk about here? Whether something falls to the ground, where the joy-beaming dog is already waiting to eat it as quickly as possible?
You can tell, can’t you? These are completely abstruse thoughts! However, such thoughts not only promote one’s own creativity, but also keep one from going on break in “work mode”, only to take lunch sitting in front of the PC in order to “just not waste time”. Conversations and walks are also recommended here, of course. However, try the “Creative Everyday Time Out” described above. It will amaze you, inspire you, and maybe even make you laugh.
Tip 3: Leisure is important to recover
After work, people are usually inclined to fill the rest of the day with “meaningful” tasks. People meet with friends or go to sports. There is nothing wrong with this across the board, but don’t forget the valuable leisure time! Purposefully seek out moments in which you are neither challenged nor entertained. As a child, our daily life was filled with idleness. We looked at the clouds lying on the ground or the people in the park. We built huts, fought (fantasy) battles (and won, of course!). Find your way back to such moments and encourage them. Leisure should be part of your daily work routine. So when you go to get your next morning coffee, take a look out the window for a while.
You can also use the famous childish “everyday escape strategy”. Imagine you are the protagonist in a hero/heroine novel and it starts with a normal day, normal tasks and a normal job, until suddenly… (Feel invited to tell this story).
Tip 4: The temporal ideal can be changed
Free time (weekends, vacations, vacations, etc.) is not the time ideal! Say goodbye to working toward free time. Instead, use free opportunities to celebrate them like a little “vacation.” When your kids are with their grandparents, you don’t necessarily have to clean the apartment or do the weekly grocery shopping. Go to the garden or park, spend a romantic date with your beloved or (attention!) just do nothing. If you’re having a hard time with that, why not lay on the couch with fresh nail polish and a face mask and if anyone asks, you can professionally pass it off as a “beauty retreat.”
Tip 5: Listen to your inner clock when it comes to time management
The time we go by is a man-made construct. Of course, we orient our life and work according to it, which is why it must be taken into account. However, I would like to remind you of your inner clock. I made the mistake in my previous employment of ignoring this for years. I suffered from chronic fatigue, had poor eating habits, and my to-do list was more like a marathon of tasks. Only gradually (while I was still employed and subsequently as an entrepreneur) did I learn to listen to my inner clock. I slept more and more intensely, I ate when I was hungry and not because I had to (general lunchtime), built more exercise into my workday, and strategically changed my to-do list. Again, I can only point to our greatest teachers: Children. Getting them into the habit of always eating everything and telling them when to be tired or productive is a difficult habit. In principle, children know exactly when they are tired, when (and how much) they want to eat and when they need exercise. However, since this often does not fit into our “schedule”, we simply adapt to it together without questioning whether the schedule is the right one for them and us at all.
It is difficult to break out of the temporal construct of our society altogether, so I would rather invite you to take a moment to look “inward” in brief moments of respite. Maybe you feel the same way as I do and increasingly gain the opportunity to change small circumstances so that your working day gradually (though never completely) adapts to your inner clock and not the other way around.
A weekly plan to come to rest – A paradox?
I hope these ideas were able to give you a little insight into how we can relax our attitude towards time and our “time management” a bit.
It is clear to me: We humans like our structures despite all well-intentioned recommendations, and even after reading an interesting article, we cannot immediately change our entire perception of time and how we deal with it.
Accordingly, I’d like to pick you up at a point that feels familiar, and at the same time invite you to incorporate some of the above tips.
I provide a time management kit on my homepage. Although this may sound paradoxical, plans can actually create not only structure, but also peace of mind as a side effect.
Here I have taken into account my own recommendations.
Accordingly, I always leave room in my plans for new, exciting and unforeseen things.
This is important because otherwise you’ll be frustrated that you’ve already filled the entire plan, and every unplanned event will put you in a stressful situation.
So include terms, such as “inspiration” as an active item in your list. You can include reading an exciting article or watching an interesting contribution, because this is also part of the personal education of an entrepreneur.
Social media” is also a separate item on the list, even if you supposedly believe that you are just scrolling down the timeline and not doing anything really “productive”. In truth, you’re on the lookout for new trends, you’re part of a community, you’re answering questions, you’re posting yourself, and you’re working on your visibility (and therefore indirectly your marketing) every day.
Want to get started right away with your plan for inner freedom?