You’ve finally made it! You’ve worked your butt off to get to this point and now it feels like everyone and I mean everyone is counting on you. The worst part is that now you seem to have NO TIME to enjoy any of it ‘cuz you’re so franticly trying to keep a billion and a half balls in the air. You’ve tried just about every organizing technique ever created and often beat yourself up for not fitting in that relaxing cup of hot coffee right after your 20 minute morning meditation and yoga practice followed by a productive and fulfilling day with your hair, makeup, and outfit looking chic and finishing the day with a delicious and healthy dinner and quality time spent with your loving partner. Ah, to be a woman that only exists in the movies.
Don’t worry, there is hope... and lots of it.
The secret is that Time isn’t a thing to be managed. WTF?!? I know, right.
Time is just a form of measurement and those pesky clocks just keep ticking no matter how much we try to control them. Our relationship with it is what we have control over. If you’re on the edge of throwing a mini-tantrum I totally get it. As a fellow passionately multi-hyphenate who desperately wants to feel in control of some part of her life it took me a bit of kicking and screaming to come around to be willing to try a new approach since my current one left me exhausted and frustrated. So without further adieu here are three (not time consuming and hugely effective) ways to change your relationship with time.
Radical acceptance is accepting life on life’s terms. You know those weeks when you map out exactly what you’re going to get done over the next couple of days and then your car breaks down or your son gets sick or your basement floods and there go all of your plans there are a few paths you could walk down in this moment.
• You could flip out about how much time and money you’re going to lose and that it’s not fair that this had to happen now.
• You could accept that this is what’s happening right now, it won’t last forever, and that your ship will right itself when this storm passes.
Then, grabbing a post it note (it’s that size on purpose) and making your To-Do List of 1 thing that would make you so happy to get done would be the way to go. Everything else you may get done is gravy.
THE POWER OF NO
Believe it or not people often respect someone who says “no” maybe even more than they do the person who says “yes” to EVERYTHING. It is not your job to do everyone else’s job. The key is to say “no” gracefully and authentically. Here’s how:
• Empathetically acknowledge the person who is asking for your time and attention. i.e. “I could see how that would be really stressful” or “It makes sense that you’re really having a hard time with this.”
• Be honest. i.e. “I wish I could give your situation the full attention that you and it deserve but I can’t right now.” or “Thank you for thinking of me but I, also, have a ton on my plate and wouldn’t be able to do my best work if I took on another project.”
Short. Sweet. To the Point. Even if the person gets all snarky in the moment it’s not like they’re going to hate you forever this person already values your and your your opinions and abilities... and if they do who needs ‘em.
Since you’re the type of gal who’s got her eye on the prize you may be whizzing past all of your wins along the way. That is NOT OK, Sister. Focusing on the process as opposed to focusing on the prize just may get you where you want to go faster, or at least getting there will probably be a lot more fun, and you deserve that.
Make a three part celebration list.
• Level 1: (I completed that thing that’s been weighing on me)
• Living room dance party, happy hour with your best girl friend, and extra 30 mins of Netflix, a beautiful hike etc.
• Level 2: (That was a ton of work and I did that s@#* like a champ)
• That bag you’ve been eyeing, a new tech toy, a spa day, an impromptu three day weekend.
• Level 3: (OMG! It really happened. I’m freaking out I’m so excited.)
• That trip you’ve been hoping to take at some point, upgraded kitchen appliances, a new car.
Now you have to make it part of your routine (like every morning in the shower or when you brush your teeth at night) to acknowledge how cool you are then celebrate.
Maybe, you’ve only remembered to meditate once in the past two and a half months, you’ve been wearing the same shirt for three days, and you’ve ordered Thai every night this week. As long as you’re practicing accepting the fact that your life is rolling that way at the moment, releasing the fear of what everyone else thinks about you, and celebrating the victories that have gotten you to this moment you’re leaps and bounds ahead of most people on the planet.
If you have additional ideas of how to change your relationship with time and things that have worked for you in the past share the wealth with your fellow wildly busy female friends in the comments below.
Sharon Freedman has been a professional actor and voiceover artist for over 15 years and trained at The Coaches Training Institute with a desire to be more of service. A few years back she looked death in the eye and found that mindfulness and other evidence based therapeutic methods like DBT saved her life which inspired her to create her coaching practice Stress Reduction Joy Production. She owns being a work in progress and practices bringing as much fun, creativity, and authenticity to the world as she can. Join us on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/stressreductionjoyproduction/
An original version of this post appeared on Blog Society.