Proactive Time Choices offer a clear answer to lots of difficult time challenges and nagging time questions. They are also a surefire path to empowerment and enhanced energy. But it can be very easy to fall into reactivity when it comes to time.
How about you?
Do you feel like you spend most of your time running around and putting out fires? Do you respond to other people’s priorities, leaving your own goals and dreams to wait until later?
Stop for a second. Think about ways that you are being reactive in your decisions about your time.
Reactive Time Choices-the 3 D’s
If your choices around time are reactive it will be nearly impossible for you to create a plan and stick to it. You are being reactive if you lose your own priorities and get snagged by other people’s 3 D’s:
- Desires, and
Proactive Time Choices-ADD to Your Time
What can you do when faced with the 3 D’s? First, don’t let someone else’s tone or urgency automatically overrule your own priorities.
What you need to do is stop and ADD it up for yourself, in 3 clear steps:
- Decide, and then
Don’t confuse being proactive with being rigid; and definitely don’t confuse being reactive with being flexible!
Proactive Time Choices: Some Practical Tips
- Listen to what others say, but give yourself permission to wait before responding.
- Assess for yourself the importance or urgency of the issue.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by individuals who are highly verbal, have strong personalities, or may just be crisis junkies.
- Try saying, “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
- Reserve the right to set a boundary for yourself.
Proactive Time Choices: An Example
Imagine that you work for someone who seems to thrive on last-minute adrenalin rushes. When confronted with a surprise, “urgent” task from your boss, you could say:
I can see that you feel (X) is very important. And I just want to let you know that if I do (X) now, I probably will not have time to do (Y) by the end of the day. Which of the two do you prefer I do first?
By framing your response this way, you:
- Acknowledge the request but do not react,
- Convey the consequences of not setting priorities, and
- Give your boss the opportunity to make a choice.
Proactive Time Choices are Important!
Remember, the way you spend your time is the way you live your life.
People make time choices differently, depending on their values. But the bottom line is, your time is yours – and how you use your time has a huge effect on the quality of your energy and your moments.
To be more proactive, start by setting some reasonable boundaries for yourself. Experiment a little. Discover how proactive time choices can help you find time in your life right now.