Time management tips work when you are 100% aligned with them. But what about the perplexing times when you know what you value, but “somehow” end up doing something quite different with your time?
In those cases, all the traditional time management tips in the world may not help you move forward. But that is no reason to give up. When you explore double messages, you begin a rewarding journey to reclaim those precious hours.
Don’t Give Up – Look Back to Move Forward.
When you can’t make sense of your time choices, perhaps you are simply working off of messages you received as a child. Why not take a few minutes to decipher these puzzling patterns? The insights are beneficial – especially if you enjoy replacing outmoded habits with more rewarding choices.
For this chronological makeover, you may need more than an accurate memory. You need to identify when words and actions don’t match up. Did Mom and Dad always do what they said was most important? Or more often than not, did “What I do” bear no relation to “What I say”? Exploring your legacy of contradictions can improve your life greatly.
Mixed Messages Speak the Loudest.
Let’s say that your father told you one thing about how to use time and then he did something completely different. How did you feel then, and what are your feelings about it now? Conflicting messages that confused you as a child can easily lead to “disconnects” in later life. And these mismatched impressions lead to painful, lost opportunities. Fortunately, you can untangle these time knots and realign your energies. Even better, you can take an important step forward today!
Double Message Exercise Brings Double Benefits.
- Think of an example where you really wrestle with matching your time choices with your expressed values.
- Now, recall a time during your childhood when someone you looked up to said one thing about time but did something quite different.
- Jot down the message and the mismatched action.
- Record how you felt about this at the time.
- Compare and contrast your present struggle with what you witnessed others doing when you were young.
- What’s the same? What differs? What of patterns do you see? Patterns always tell tales.
- Now that you’re listening to discrepancies between the acts and the words, consult your heart.
- How might you learn from your parents’ stories to bring insights to your current situation?
- What past incidents have constricted your sense of possibilities?
- Envision a path opening before you – one that leads to more rewarding time choices. Make this image as vivid as possible, so you can really experience your progress on this path. This visualization can motivate you and awaken you to opportunities to move forward.
- Finally, visualize walking this path and aligning deeds with words. What do you need to give yourself? What is your first step?
Engaging in this exercise enriches your possibilities in at least two ways. First of all, you develop compassionate insights for time choices you make that once frustrated you. Empathy feels so much better! Second, you possess a stronger ability to change a troubling time choice, once you understand its roots.© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.