“I don’t have the time!”
It seems I’ve been hearing this more and more over the past few years.
There is a ‘busyness epidemic’ seemingly happening in society. For some, it even spills over into overwhelm much of the time. It’s no way to live – and yet millions of people do.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Donkeys years ago, I used to sometimes run courses in time management. Looking back, I think they helped only a minority of people if I’m honest. People will tell you they need more tools, more how-to’s, to manage their time successfully – but I think this is often a delusion.
When you have a strong enough ‘Why’, the ‘How’ is nearly always obvious.
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.” A A Milne.
There are many reasons why we can get addicted to being busy.
For some, it’s a useful distraction, and allows them to not feel the feelings they’d rather not feel.
For others, it’s just that they got on the hamster wheel of “More! More! More!” , and now can’t see a way to get off.
For some, the adrenaline buzz makes the ego-ic part of them feel important, special and heroic.
What I know these days is that the feelings of busyness, stress or overwhelm aren’t coming from the to-do list. They can only come from the thinking you have about your to-do list.
We’ve all met people who have one or two things to do and go into overwhelm. And other people who glide, seemingly effortlessly, through a workload that would make others buckle or fall over. It’s all an inside job.
Since discovering the inside-out nature of life, I have been surprised and delighted about how much more mental space is available to me. I still ‘do’ as much – perhaps more. I ‘achieve’ as much, perhaps more. The things I see as important get done because I live (more of the time) in a space of clarity, well-being and OK-ness. Without the stress, without the anxiety, without the worrying.
The icing on the cake is that the important things get done BETTER too – because I have the mental bandwidth to allow new, fresh, creative ideas to flow through and get implemented.
And not just me – 100’s of my clients too.
None of this is intended to be judgemental. But to just nudge that part of you that sometimes, in a quiet moment, thinks “Is this all there is?”. To tap you on the shoulder and tell you that there’s more on offer (much, much more!), but you will only start glimpsing it when you have less on your mind.
Love this story by Paulo Coelho:
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
You don’t have to keep doing this merry-go-round of rushing, achieving, efforting and striving.
It really is a choice.
Drop me an e-mail if you’d like to explore how you can create an experience of life where you have all the time in the world.