Time management tips involve unlearning as much as learning. And these three time management questions free you from a huge time trap – your habitual thinking!
Habits blind you. They dull your thinking. How many times a day do you find yourself annoyed when life interferes with your careful plans?
That’s because your mind’s default settings are based in the past instead of what stands right before you.
But you can’t just throw old patterns out the door, can you? They insist on sticking around until you learn the lessons they offer you.
- It helps to remember they became your default from years of unquestioned assumptions.
- Gathering powerful lessons by studying your ingrained patterns is hugely rewarding. You’ll gain considerable insight by exploring how you reacted to stressful situations as a child. And you may become more patient with yourself, too.
In this upcoming exercise, examine your automatic responses. Pay special attention to the stories that unfold. Notice how they make you feel. Are you ready to exchange those responses for something new?
3 Simple Power Questions
Think back to a recent conversation that annoyed you. Someone close to you to acts in the same irritating old way they have for… well, forever!
1. What change do you expect the other person to make?
2. What do you usually do when you’re annoyed? Does this change the pattern or reinforce it?
3. What are 3 new choices you can make no matter what anyone else does?
The first question highlights a time-honored piece of wisdom. Any focus on someone else’s change just mires you in old patterns. It’s so tempting to assume your life would improve if only others change! But think of all the time you waste, waiting for that behavior shift that never occurs, or never stays.
The second question points out unchallenged assumptions about how you move through the world. So long as you imagine you can set someone straight by holding onto your anger, the more frustrated you will become. But if you find a change you can make that rewards you, you stand in your power!
For question three, imagine some new approaches. Sometimes you need to stretch to come up with fresh ideas. Creating three options will challenge you to think in new ways. What changes on your end improve how you feel in this situation? What are the boundaries you can set and maintain by yourself, for example? And what are the independent actions you can take without relying on another’s cooperation? One gift of brainstorming is realizing that no one is trapping you.
As you experiment, you may discover that you feel a new light-heartedness. People you thought you knew display new behaviors as you relate in new ways. Stepping out of unproductive routines opens the door to learning, so enjoy asking and answering lots of questions to revitalize your time!© Copyright 2013 Paula Eder, Ph.D.