Time, Now You Have It, Now You Don’t! What’s Up?

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. No time to say “Hello, Goodbye”. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late”.
White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Do you have some version of this song chiming in your head? Yet, consider the following: You’re in the middle of working on a project that’s due this week. The phone rings. It’s a colleague asking you to join her for a lunch event that is happening in 30 minutes. You tell her thanks but no thanks you don’t have the time. The minute you hang up the phone it rings again, another friendly colleague inviting you to yet another event happening in 30 minutes. This time you say YES- you deserve some fun! Huh, what happened, 2 seconds ago you didn’t have the time now you’re making time.

I’m sure you recognize both versions as true at some point or other. So what’s up?

Time is what it is. It’s never too much or too little. That’s just your perception of it, an idea in your head. Sorry, time doesn’t take anything from you – you cannot blame time. You can make time. It’s your choice. It may not always feel that way but if you’re willing to look at it closely you’ll have to admit that how you (chose to) use time is a matter of priorities. Your priorities are those things that hold the promise of getting you to what you envision for yourself or your business. The stronger your desire for that vision the stronger your motivation and commitment to your priorities.

Your rational mind probably would agree that working on your priorities will get you where you want to go. It’s very satisfying to put a check mark next to a priority when it’s done and you see the result of your efforts. I have to confess that sometimes I’ll put a task on the priority list even after I finished it just so that I can put a check mark by it ?.

Here’s the tricky part where time seems to take control. It happens when you have just a little step. One you’ve so diligently broken down from the larger priority so you won’t get overwhelmed with too big a task that takes a lot of time. Now you get that phone call to join the fun and you’re emotional mind quickly convinces you that you can do this little step later. Unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen. You forget, not that important, just as easy not to do it. Why is that? Because that itty bitty step isn’t going to give you any significant tangible result by itself. In our culture with its obsessive need for instant gratification that is often reason enough to let the little steps slide. However, over time it’s those cumulative little steps that will make the difference and take you to the results you’ve envisioned for yourself. If you let the little steps slide enough they all of a sudden become one big task. Now, you’re back to singing the White Rabbit’s song…

Pay attention to those little things that you might put on the back burner because they’re easy – 10 or 15 minutes perhaps? Experience the magic by making the time for those little things because over time you’ll be rewarded with more freedom in your life and your business.


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5 Responses to Time, Now You Have It, Now You Don’t! What’s Up?

  1. Ahh… time – the trickiest times for me are those little 15 minute chunks that seem so easy to waste between other obligations!

    • Ellen van den Berg

      Hi Andy: Yes those little blank spaces can be annoying especially if your head starts playing tricks and tell you you “should” this that or the other. Either enjoy and take a breath or use that space to quickly do an easy task, like commenting on blogs. Either one is productive in its own way. Creating an “quick and easy to do list” might help. Ellen

  2. I agree, Ellen, that it’s those little 10-15 minute tasks that tend to fall through the cracks. It’s easy for me to get into the thought pattern of unless a task, or a piece of a task, is going to take at least 30 minutes or an hour…is it worth it? Thanks for giving us a reality check that the little things really do make a difference!

  3. Yes, I think translating the big picture to the daily and weekly tasks is sometimes tough for me. I also benefit from planning the fun in advance so I’m not having to jump ship to get it ; )

  4. Ellen,

    I also agree. I can do larger blocks of time, and I do “chunk down” my tasks, I don’t overload my daily task list as I used to. But I am still struggling with priorities (after client work) and not doing well with those 10-15 minutes in between.

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