I’ve witnessed a lot of gimmicks in my life, but the biggest of all is how they’ve faked time. They’ve done it with everything. Home improvement books offer DIY’s “Weekend Projects” that can’t possibly be completed in a weekend unless you’re a pro in the field or have a team of people working with you and for some amazing miracle, you have all the necessary equipment to get the job done.
Then there are those sit coms on what used to be called television-- the ones with the imaginary families who have loads of time to sit around cracking jokes.
I remember hearing one sad mother on a radio talk program. She lamented over the fact that her teenage daughter had grown up with a completely false perception. Her daughter had cried, “Why can’t our family be like that?!”
Why? Because most of us don’t have the time.
It was sixteen years ago that a minister working in a hospital confessed to me his personal feelings on the subject. He said by the time I get off work, maybe pick up a few things, I have maybe an hour and a half before it’s time for bed.
It doesn’t matter who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Lack of time is the thing that can cause people to drive inappropriately, do all manner of things in haste which causes accidents, lean on convenience foods that are poor for the environment and health and generally weakens their ability to think clearly.
There are a few things to help with the time game. Mainly, to sum up, give yourself time. I know. Impossible! But being realistic with what you can accomplish in X hours helps. What one person can do in minutes, it might take another a half hour or longer. For instance, I just finished reading about a stroke victim, a former writer, who woke up one day and before he knew it he couldn’t recognize the letters on the page. During his rehabilitation, he could only read letter by letter until he finally remastered reading at his regular pace. So: Cue into that old expression. Haste makes waste. If you are constantly rushing, are you trying to do too much in too little time? Stop. Think things through and try to scale back.
And even that’s not always possible. I often try and think in terms of what I call a rule of three. It takes me three hours to seriously dig my heels into anything major. Whether I’m studying, researching or writing, I need to have three hours of (mostly) uninterrupted time. That means, if I’m successful, I’ll get up at around three am and begin getting into some kind of gear; hopefully, a good one. That’s a challenge when it’s cold and dark outside; nevertheless, this is the kind of planning that can help when factoring in all that needs doing.
What works for me won’t work for everyone, but it serves as an example and it always helps to get someone else’s views on the subject; someone who I appreciated hearing from in an article written for “Costco Connection” in their business section is Nicola Huelin who is a business coach and mentor, TEDx speaker, author, mother and founder of Power for Mums. Here she writes on work-life balance and her first sentence is a doozy.
Forget about finding a work-life balance.
I love her honesty! She’s speaking to the fact that these days, work does not always fit into a 9-5 compartment. I would add: It never has. Working as a farmer or a baker for instance, there’s a good chance your morning starts at 2 am.
Nicola uses a fitting term for people working in situations where they’re basically on call day and night. That new term is called work-life integration rather than work-life balance because increasingly, technology has blurred time frames of work/leisure and the resulting hyper-connectivity often increases stress. It’s a reality many of us know. You can’t leave work because you’re already there! One important piece of advice Nicola offers:
Give yourself time to think things through properly.
How right she is! This is why distractions need to be kept to a minimal if you’re doing work that requires serious concentration; and yes, that includes driving before even getting to work if that’s necessary. Of course if you drive for work, then even more important you have time for rest and reflection that doesn’t involve the cares of the road.
Everything’s relative, but in the business world, especially if you’re working in the virtual sphere, thinking things through properly means that you won’t succumb to temptations like Social Media and various apps that allow you to lose your focus.