Are you running against the clock?

1 against time

Last week I did a lot of thinking about time. Time management, efficiency, not enough time, time for me and time for family.

Time was a BIG, MASSIVE challenge for me last week, one of those weeks where I felt I could have cloned myself, added an extra 10 hours to each day and yet still feel like I wasn’t getting anything done. Do you know those weeks?

I realise now that the feeling is not so much about not getting anything done, it’s more about poor planning and unrealistic expectations. And for me it’s also a cover-up for feeling the stabbing pain of guilt.

Let’s bump guilt on the head first…

On Friday I mentioned I was just about to do the unthinkable, and guess what I DID IT…

A WHOLE weekend away with girlfriends. A WHOLE weekend of being me without all of the busy of the other roles I play out in life. Time to just stop and remember who I actually am in this concoction of life choices.

But leading into the weekend – for WEEKS leading into the weekend I was feeling (sorry if the analogy offends) guilty as hell. Why? Because there’s SO much to do in a busy house with three little kids and because I had the audacity to take, no STEAL some time for me. Well, so I was thinking

So I busied myself in a whole lot of things that I probably wouldn’t ordinarily do, like cleaning the pantry out.

As I reflected on the craziness leading into the weekend of me time I realised that what I was doing (stay with me here, I’m hoping it makes sense) was seeing the roles in my life as a collection of spinning tops. The mum role, the business owner role, the wife role, the home owner role, the investor role, the student role and so on. It was almost as I was trying to give each of those roles a big, extra spin so that I could step out and just be me – and they would continue to run without me while I took just a little breather.

Because, if I’m not looking and any one of those tops stops spinning then my rule is that I need to respond by feeling guilty. Logical? Not really.

So the way that can manifest is IF my kid should feel sick while I’m away – clearly I’m allowed to feel guilt because I didn’t anticipate his proper health and dietary requirements before I left – right? Well, not at all and actually my kid did get sick while I was away and husband expertly dealt with it.

But it can just as easily mean that if a client e-mails me at 4:58pm on Friday and needs a report and I should feel guilty because I’m not being a good enough service provider – right? Well, in reality my clients wouldn’t do that anyway – and if for some weird and far out reason that it did happen there’s absolutely no reason why a phone call or early Monday morning email couldn’t suffice.

So WHY do I assume the position of guilt should any of these carefully placed spinning tops go awry? What is it that I GAIN from the guilt?

I realise that as I feed the guilt to keep EVERYTHING going, constantly and safely spinning I CAN stay I’m “too busy”. “Too busy” to connect, “too busy” for weekends away, “too busy” to go to the gym and “too busy” to think about the future. I realise that all of that (albeit very unhealthy thinking) has served me very well in terms of building business and simultaneously helicopter parenting my children.

But it does not serve me well anymore.

So, dear guilt it’s time for you to take a back seat. I don’t need you where I’m going

Think of all of the roles you have in life for a moment, the things you need to somehow feed – pay attention to, do stuff for – now think of them as spinning tops. How much do you need to do so that the don’t stop and fall over? How many of these things are you watching out for at once? How do you feel about taking your eye off any one’top’ ?? Just for a moment?

I like the spinning analogy because if I take a helicopter view – and check out all of the spinning tops as an overview, rather than being down on the ground constantly keeping the spinning going with constant and ongoing nudges I can be better equipped to take a long term and more strategic approach – rather than the constant and exhausting knee jerk response of constant, unplanned and ongoing action.

To explain in another way (in case you’re a bit worried my girls weekend has totally fried my brain with the notion of freedom and fun) – I REALISED THAT IF I TAKE MORE TIME to understand what the end goal is, then plan BEFORE I move into action, I can have more time to play – more GUILT FREE time for the things that matter to me because I can anticipate what needs to happen next.

Imagine that. Knowing that you have time to just be. Time to relax, connect with friends and family, time for yourself.

So, this is my mission over the next weeks – to re-establish tools, techniques and daily practice to bring that balance of goal setting, planning and action back to my life. Want to join me in discovery? Well – just stay posted…
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