Talking About Time

Today I want to talk about a topic that is both an opportunity and a challenge for many of us: time. Everyone has the same amount of time in a day to get things done, sleep, heal, build relationships, have fun, go places and learn. I thought we’d talk about some frequently shared beliefs about time as well as a new perspective on a particular aspect of time that I recently heard that was a bit of a reality check and perspective shift for me.

Unlike some people I don’t subscribe to the whole “get up before everyone” theory completely, I feel that it’s also possible to be as successful or productive if you stay up past everyone else. Over the past few months I’ve alternated between the up early/up late schedule, although for many years I’ve been an ‘up late’ person. I feel like I miss less in the morning than I do if I don’t stay up at night, but sometimes on the days I’m up early I get stuff done and feel like there’s more time left over in the day.

I’m all for speediness but sometimes there’s no replacement for giving things their time. I love lists and writing things down, it helps to keep me on track with what I’m doing but not forget what else I think of. While I don’t think it should be the rule of thumb, recently I was reminded of a productivity technique that says that if it’s going to take less than 5 minutes to do something you should just do it. I don’t think it should be the go-to default because if we keep doing all the “short” activities it can get to be a procrastination issue and we won’t get those activities that take longer done. Which brings us to the idea of scheduling and how beneficial it can be to block out times of your day to do those time-intensive activities as well as a separate set of time to do those quick-and-done things.

Finally the perspective shift. One of the biggest issues with time is that some people pack their lives so full they’re late for things on a regular basis whether doctor’s appointments or scheduled phone calls or picking kids up from school. The way I recently heard it discussed is that not being on time for appointments is indicative of a lack of respect for the individual or group you’re meeting. You’re saying that your time is more valuable than theirs, that they really don’t matter, that they should just rearrange their life to fit yours. If you agreed to a time you should do your absolute best to be on time, even if that means leaving earlier than the GPS tells you that you really need to leave.

We’re one month into the new year, how are you managing your time? Are you further behind than you were this time last year or do you feel as though you’re getting a decent grasp on getting ahead this year?

Are You A Control Freak?

This February we will talk about couples and romantic relationships a lot, since it’s the month that contains Valentine’s Day, but today I wanted to start with something that is really important whether we’re talking romantic relationships, family relationships or even work relationships. This is a topic that most people struggle with, including myself: my way doesn’t always have to be how it gets done.

We struggle with this because we’re all secretly (or not so secretly) control freaks. We like to be in charge, direct all the action, make sure that things get done, make sure they get done right (according to us), and tell everyone what to do and where to be. Sometimes this can be a good thing because it means things will get done, but most of the time this actually hinders things getting done when you’re busy being the slave driver instead of bringing others into the team to get everything done together and letting everyone use their individual giftings to do things to the best of their ability.

I don’t disagree that you probably have some really great ideas about how things should be done, but people are a lot more likely to cooperate and work with you on getting things done (and stick around for longer in your life) if you talk with them about it and then let them help make the final decision about how they get the project you’ve given them done, what the next steps of your relationship look like, the direction their life will go in or about countless other things that could result in wins for everyone.

This week ahead I encourage you to give yourself and your partner a break and work on working together more and fighting and directing less. What small but significant changes can you make together to make this week less about control and more about cooperation?