Collaborate with The Clock

December 31, 2018

A Blog Post by Diana Henderson about collaborating with time to meet your goals


Do you have a healthy relationship with time? There is very little else in our world that is as consistent as the ticking of time, and yet time rarely feels consistent. Like the swinging pendulum of a grandfather clock, we sway between being overly rushed to mind numbingly bored and can fluctuate between the two in erratic ways. Our relationship with time is rarely a healthy one, and yet our time relationship is intricately woven into every day of our life. Have you heard the saying, “change your habits, change your life”? There is nothing more consistent in our life than time, so if we can change our habits and relationship around it, we really can change our life.

Let’s look at some ways that we can collaborate with the clock and get healthy with time.

Collaborate with Time

Have you had one of those days that was absolutely manic?  Between a panic rush job for a client, multiple meetings, kids’ school preforming arts night, and needing to pack for a business trip, you can wake up dreading the day ahead. We’ve all been there! Those days where you look at your calendar and wonder how in the world you are ever going to make it through the day.

Time feels like the enemy on days like this. We are often left feeling like we are snatching minutes that time is desperately trying to steal from us. But what happens if instead of fighting with time, or trying to  boss it around, instead we collaborate with it.

Working with not against

It may seem silly, and it certainly can feel ridiculous, but look at your calendar and declare to Time that “Today we have to work together!”. Make a plan for the crazy day that is realistic. If a job normally takes an hour, it’s not realistic to only allocate 15 minutes for it. You have to collaborate with time, otherwise you will be frustrated that time isn’t a miracle worker that can magically get jobs done.

Before you start anything, sit down with a calendar and map out exactly how much time you are going to allocate for each task. Then prioritise the events in order of importance. Maybe you have a lunch meeting booked in, but it’s a catch up with an old colleague. You might need to give them a call, explain the situation and see if you can re-schedule. On the other hand, your children’s performing arts night can’t be rescheduled so that becomes a non-negotiable in the days schedule. By making these decisions at the beginning of the day you can make adjustments before you’re in crisis mode.

Once you’ve mapped out your plan, take a final glance over everything to make sure that the plan is reasonable. Once you feel comfortable with the plan, go turn off all notifications from your e-mails and text messages. Notifications are the number one snatcher of minutes, and are the fastest way to get off track.

Collaborating with Time means not stressing that minutes are being stolen, but instead keeping focused on each event in the moment. Know that there is enough time already allocated for the next event when its time comes.

Change your Time Language

Running Late. Grab a minute. Time Flies. Beat the Clock. Lost Time.

So much of the language we use around time is negative. Time is something that we are constantly trying to snatch, control, or beat. Part of collaborating with time is changing our language around it. By using more neutral or positive language around time, we can actually change our relationship with it.

Instead of saying “I don’t have time for that”, we can say “I have more pressing priorities right now, but I do have time tomorrow to discuss that with you”. Instead of seeing time as being scarce it becomes a resource that is plentiful, but just has to be distributed differently. It’s not that there is “no time” but instead there IS TIME, it’s just tomorrow.

When we start to really focus on our language around time, what we actually do is become focused on our priorities. The reality is that most of the time, it’s not time that is the problem, it’s competing priorities. We feel time pressures because we have different priorities that aren’t lining up. The project that needs doing at work is competing with our desire to drink wine and watch Netflix with our spouse.

Where has the time gone?

When we dig a little deeper though, we realise that we lost an hour of productivity at work that day chatting with a colleague, scrolling through Facebook because a notification popped up on our phone, responding to emails that could have waited, etc. All of these low priorities creep into our day, and now our high priorities are left to compete. However, instead of taking responsibility for this, it’s so much easier to blame time! When we start to take control of the language we use around time, what we actually do is take responsibility around how we prioritise our day.

Spend Time with Time

We spend time with the things and people we care about. We invest in what is important to us. If time is important, then we need to invest in it. The way we invest in our time relationship is to spend time thinking and collaborating with time. When was the last time you booked out space in your diary to plan the coming months?

Spending time with time, is just being intentional with your schedule. It’s booking out a day every quarter to re-evaluate you goals and schedule and then plan accordingly. It’s spending time with your diary and schedules regularly to make sure you work with time, instead of against it.

Make a plan of how you are going to collaborate with time every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year.

  • Have a daily huddle first thing in the morning with your calendar. This allows you to double check your days schedule, and make sure you keep your main priorities, the MAIN priorities.
  • A weekly huddle at the end of the week will give you space to evaluate where things went well, and where you can improve.
  • Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly dates with your calendar give you the space you need to dream, plan, and implement change.

When we make time for time, all of the sudden we find that we have all the time we need.

Changing our relationship with time is important and can lead to both personal and business growth. Time is a resource that, when managed well, can lead to prosperity in all areas of our life. Instead of fighting the clock, collaborate with it!

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