Are you always jamming your schedule, feel you can't waste a second? Do you allow the clock to manage you? Or, do you feel comfortable trusting your intuition to guide your time?
To better manage time, we set priorities and schedule our days and months. But we often still feel pressured, lack total control.
The conventional approach to managing time was appropriate for the Industrial-Age, but is this effective in the Information Age?
Most of us think of time in the linear way that has dominated Western thought since Isaac Newton imagined time to be a forward movement of orderly, unchanging hours, months and years. We manage time by inserting appropriate tasks into the right slots. And when our schedules don't follow such orderly paths, we think we're undisciplined.
This linear concept of time is useful but incomplete. Another way of viewing time is to perceive it in a holistic fashion, and experience it through intuitive feelings. This requires that we transcend the parts to see the whole.
Albert Einstein pioneered a new view of time and the universe. Contemporary scientists such as David Deutsch, a quantum physicist, emphasizes that the structure of the universe is made in the image of its underlying field. The physical character of atoms, proteins and cells including people are controlled by immaterial energies that collectively form that field. This unique spectrum represents an invisible moving force that is in harmonic resonance with our physical bodies.
Time is infinite, inseparable from and interrelated with the universe. Because time is limitless and highly personal, we can go within to establish a comfortable range of rhythms and balance. We can manage time intuitively.
An ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy, described in The Tao of Time: A Revolutionary Philosophy and Guide for Personal Time Management, offers time management ideas that are consistent with current scientific views.
Taoism emphasizes the now. Living in the present helps eliminate clock-induced stress because we practice mindfulness, focus on present tasks.
Relaxation, patience and contemplation enable us to approach tasks openly at the appropriate time. When we wait for the right moment, actions tend to fall into place.
Taoism is concerned with being present in the moment. Once we have achieved being, doing and having will follow. We're flexible, can respond to the moment. We can change plans with minimum discomfort, approach projects with new perspectives.
When we shift our thought patterns and fine tune our intuition, we can make quick decisions that we might have agonized over previously because we don’t have time to doubt.
Many of us prefer to act rather than contemplate. We surround ourselves with time-saving devices to make things happen on cue. We push to make things happen, creating resistance. In our hurry to achieve and acquire, we ignore our intuition and natural rhythms. Under pressure, we feel anxious, respond negatively.
Four interrelated Taoist principles form the underpinnings of this way of looking at time: nonresistance, individual power, balance and harmony.
- Nonresistance. Resisting the natural flow of events consumes energy. Therefore, instead of forcing events, we should trust in the moment and allow them to develop naturally. We'll be more content and creative.
Many of us tend to create resistance. Our schedules are so tight that we panic, become angry at one more intrusion on our time. We worry that every interruption could further burden an already overloaded day. Our attitudes become defensive, unhappy and unproductive.
- Individual power. With individual power, we trust our intuition, and assert our right to control our time. We give ourselves permission to step back and look at the problem.
Trusting intuition enables us to remove extraneous details that cloud our vision and decisions. We enhance clarity, confidence and efficiency. A challenging situation now seems effortless. Often, in our haste to stay on schedule, we experience clarity after the fact.
- Balance. This idea suggests our inner selves and daily activities are synchronized. To be balanced, we need to find our "centres," and listen to and act upon inner cues. Rediscovering our natural rhythms eliminates the feelings that we're constantly in a tug of war with schedules.
Most of us seek balance. We tend to schedule our days combining specific amounts of work, personal and civic-related time. But instead of tuning into our inner needs, we usually proceed on automatic pilot.
- Harmony. This concept suggests we're synchronized with our environments. We're not separate from time and the universe, but rather an intrinsic part of these, an element of the grand scheme of the universe.
In summary, nonresistance teaches us to let go of our prepackaged approach to time management and allows events to unfold. Individual power enables us to assert our right to control our time. Listening to and trusting our intuition help us live in the moment and balance daily activities. Centered, we no longer feel guilty about past actions or fear future choices.
As we become comfortable with the foregoing concepts and rediscover our natural rhythms, clocks and schedules won't control us. We can use them as tools rather than absolutes.
Can you find a balance between the holistic and linear ways of perceiving time? How can you integrate these concepts into your management of time?
Learn more in my book, found in links above!