There are two beliefs that shape how we use time available. They tell the tale of whether we produce on purpose or not. Producing on purpose means to do what we say and say what we do. Our actions are in service to our intentions. This is the essence of creating (creating an outcome, a goal, a project, an idea). We bring creations into reality by making a series of choices. First, we choose to be the predominant creative force in our life. Then we choose outcomes that matter most, and then choose actions on behalf of the outcomes to make them happen.
And yet, our lives are inflicted by mental constructs (beliefs from which we make decisions), that often are misaligned with, ambush, and outlaw advancement leading to our goals.
Belief #1: I Don’t Have Time
This belief suggests that one is constantly running out of time. This observation leads to an inference that then becomes a fact. The conclusion is there is not enough time available. This may appear true, and yet is the root cause of the dynamic itself, not the complaint. At first, a victim of a shortage system appears to be in distress, but if you look deeper, it is a system of the victim, not victim of the system.
If one holds the concept that there is not enough time, then any time available would be filled by whatever comes in. Like a vacuum, anything that rushes in is met with reactive responses, reinforcing and confirming the belief itself.
In other words, we make our belief come true when we believe our belief. We ensure that anything filling our time would reinforce the sense of not having any control, and therefore the conclusion is expanding the amount of time we would need to fit it all in. We reinforce a sense of powerlessness by allowing this to happen. The conundrum is that nature’s laws expand demand to fill the supply given or lack thereof. Expenses naturally rise to the level of income earned. Stuff and busy work expand to fill the space it is given.
We end up with “busy flu” without a vaccine.
The fact is, we all have the same amount of time. We can shift our viewpoint from quantity to quality. In the quality view of time, what we do with one hour can change the entire next 24 hours, or perhaps the entire week. If we suspend the belief that we have no time, we are faced with confessing a clearer statement of reality: not having enough time is a clue that we have not made decisions. We haven’t made up our mind.
For example, if I supply myself (by decision) three hours of time blocked to get a report done, this task will fill the three hours to get done. If I supply myself a day to get it done, it’ll fill the day. The demand expands to the level of supply. This explains why linear time is different than time as a dimensional space. If a to-do list has no deadlines, this is the case. If there are no time blocks to execute different projects or tasks to achieve them, the work expands constantly to ensure that the claim one has no time appears true. When you’re putting out fires, you become the arsonist.
As Einstein said so eloquently: “We cannot solve the problems at the level of thinking that causes them.” Time is, for the most part, a mental construct of the world to avoid being controlled by it. And yet, it is just thought. When we change how we see, what we see changes. How we experience time shifts in response. First we shift our mind, then we shift our behavior. This leads to a different set of consequences.
Last year, on December 27th, an executive we’ll call Steven time blocked 24 hours to line up 3 key appointments with highly desired prospects to close enormous deals for commercial lending. As the day approached, fixed time blocks were kept to prepare thoroughly for stunning orchestration. As the day neared, the mental gears visualized the day, objectives were set, and workarounds to potential roadblocks were rehearsed. The confidence level was sensational. The day ended with all three deals closing, and even better, another piece of business was added to the mix. The result: in one day, the production generated was greater than an entire year’s worth. How is this possible? It doesn’t add up to our traditional model of time and effort. In fact, it seems like an unfair advantage – but in reality, it is not! It is because there is plenty of time available if you use it wisely, plan, and organize it dimensionally, and focus on outcomes.
Belief #2: I’ll Get to It Later When I Have The Time
This concept suggests that one can bet that time is abundant down range. Does this sound folly to you? I’ve coached superstars, and no one is any less busy later than they are today. This is especially true if, when they get to that “point in time later,” they carry over belief 1: “I don’t have time.”
Wherever you go, there you are. You bring yourself with you.
Believing you have more time later is a necessary lie we often use because we haven’t made up our mind about several things. First, it’s obvious that we may be unclear of our priorities. If we suspend the belief that we’re less busy later, we can make decisions based on what matters, what is urgent and is not, in the present. This requires slowing down and reflection.
This step is often uncomfortable, here’s why: The Incessant Freneticness Factor. I call it the IF factor. We’re too busy being busy to do what could make us a lot less busy. Belief #1 ambushes us then push to belief #2. This leads to procrastination.
Priority management is self-management. Can’t means won’t. You could do anything, but you choose not to. Things don’t get done is for one reason: it isn’t a priority to you. I know that is uncomfortably honest, but if it were a priority, you’d do it. The truth is told by what you do you’re your time. If you want to see your priorities, just look at a week on your schedule. Therefore you can select the reasons that something is a priority to you, and then make it one.
As you do this, you will deselect alternatives. You will delegate, dump stuff, and delay items for the sake of focusing on what matters most now. One thing you might enjoy reinforcing: what matters to you doesn’t need justification, it’s very personal. What matters to you is qualified. When you say NO to something else or triage your commitments, it isn’t because you’re too good for something or someone.
This is often what people claim when they haven’t had practice using the creative process, and instead make it about their identity. But when you take your identity out of choice management, creating become a process of focusing on creations you desire to create, not you. Creating is not self-improvement. When you let go of something being wrong with you that you must fix, the process of creating allows you to use failures, decisions, and actions as feedback to make adjustments.
Outcomes are not rewards. Reward focusing is dangerous to creating, because when focused on rewards you’re likely to seek quick victories, instant gratifications, and lower your tolerance to hold periods of time to develop the learning and capacities until a creation desired becomes real. Outcome-focusing requires secondary choices (actions) that support primary choices (goals). How you feel, moods, right circumstances – these don’t govern your actions in an outcome-focused approach. Outcome-orientation invites resilience.
Simplicity begins with a hierarchy of importance. Being overwhelmed isn’t because you have so much on your plate, it’s because you assign everything equal meaning. This is a key insight to keep in mind. Knowing what does matter to you most is the key to great time management. Balance is counter-balance or “dis-equilibrium” because what matters comes first.
Time management can also be used to multiply time. How is this done? When you delegate, automate, or eliminate something – a process, a responsibility, a system, a task – you leverage your time. Then your beliefs shift to seeing how much time available you have to be creative.
Coupled with this is the necessity to use renewals and free time effectively. When you’re rested and relaxed, your downtime actually increases your effective use of time when you’re working on projects and goals. The energy management piece is key here to be effective, while reflection and planning your time is key for efficiency. Then the strengths conversation completes the triad. When you focus strengths, using them to create results, plan your time blocks in an ideal week, and you are rested, present, and alert, you become a force of nature! What you do in the present shapes a different future for you.
In our VIP Coach program, we take clients deeply and skillfully into priority management, with the focus on mastery in this triad. We provide them a powerful time system, strength focusing process, and energy management framework to bring forth their very best at every moment. This is key because the more energized, intentional, and present they are, the more value they generate. The return on time is 10x greater!
Let’s talk, visit highlevelperformance.com.