What a mystery! Special pastimes beckon to you invitingly. But it is as if your day has a slow leak. Before you know it, night has fallen. What happened to your time? It got caught in a time trap.
Time traps can be so frustrating … Particularly when you’ve resolved, over and over, to “just say no” to certain activities, but still keep saying, “yes!” Well, why not try a fresh approach?
What if you were to utilize time traps as clues to follow, so that you could discover hidden values conflicts? Then, you could resolve the underlying issues, liberate power that’s been held hostage to indecision, and free up your time to move forward!
So let’s start by rethinking what a time trap truly is. It’s really a paradox. Even though it punctures your possibilities, each time trap is a deliberate choice you make that serves a specific function in your life.
You choose it, and yet, it works against you. How can this be? Well, perhaps your time trap reflects a battle between conflicting values you hold.
For example, let’s say you spend an extra hour surfing the net for bargains. This means you’ve already used the time that you set aside for starting that great project you looked forward to. Your choice to stay online may manifest one of your values conflicts – no doubt a major one.
Once you can recognize and name a point of conflict, you’ve taken a giant step toward getting yourself unstuck. The more you explore the in’s and out’s of your time traps, the clearer you’ll become about where you want to go – and how to get there!
Any time you hold opposing values that jostle one another for top billing, time choices get tangled. How can you remain totally loyal to your plans, if you shift and slide from one set of priorities to another? When you can’t decide whether to go right or go left, sometimes, you just stay stuck in one place. And your time traps hold you there.
Don’t dig yourself deeper into a rut by spinning your tires or judging yourself. Instead, see this time trap as something to investigate. As your self-understanding grows, you can stabilize your hierarchy of priorities and develop decisiveness. Then, you will experience more inner harmony and enjoy greater effectiveness, too!
Remember – You have the power in your hands, whenever you are
ready to take it!
Tip: Reframe time traps as invitations to grow.
As you let curiosity and dedication replace self-judgment regarding your stubborn time traps, you make some interesting discoveries. Often the time trap you protect masks a challenge to grow to a new level of independence!
For example, perhaps setting aside your email to pursue a cherished project means challenging yourself to learn new skills. Or maybe it requires that you set new boundaries. Change requires resolve and willingness to risk! And that’s precisely how you grow.
Next time you find yourself protecting a time trap, identify what’s under it, and what you could be doing, instead, with that time. Then list all the challenges and fears that currently block you from moving forward.
Use your imagination to envision how this struggle, with all its lessons and potentials, is a microcosm of other impasses in your life. Rarely is an energy pattern isolated to just one set of activities. Identify central themes, such as avoidance, distraction, and blame. See where else they pop up in your life and consider what positive alternatives you would like to replace them with.
When you free yourself from any time trap, notice how your overall outlook changes. Chances are, you will feel pleasant ripples of confidence touch other parts of your life. One by one, the challenging time traps that weigh you down become easier to dismantle.
The more clarity you achieve about matching up your time choices with your values, the more success you will enjoy!© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.