Finding time and breaking out of time traps can require all of your ingenuity, especially when your to do list is overflowing, projects await your attention, and pressures mount. Sometimes stepping back briefly, taking a breath, and finding a fresh approach works wonders.
This is especially true if you are tripping yourself up as you go about your business. Remember those Time Gremlins that we were discussing a few weeks ago? Well, they often hold the key when you are feeling frustrated, stressed, and stymied at every turn. As you know, they’re crafty critters. So can catching one of your Time Gremlins in the act actually help you identify your time traps and illusions? The answer is a resounding yes!
When you find that your plans and projects consistently encounter roadblocks, striving to work harder or faster may not be the solution. In fact, zeroing in on a Time Gremlin as your first step can show you exactly where to direct your energies. Then, as you get yourself unstuck and start moving again, you’ll work more efficiently and effectively. You will also have the added bonus of having deepened and revised your understanding of yourself and of the world around you
You see, we all find our way through life using our hand-drawn maps that we’ve developed through experience. Quite often our maps reflect distortions from our earliest years.
That’s why it is so helpful to take a closer look and pinpoint where your obstacles begin. Chances are that your life map needs some redrawing. Bringing it up to date does wonders to keep you on track and reduce your Time Gremlin’s power over your life!
What kinds of mapping errors am I talking about? It might be something as profound as trying to live your life by another’s values … or it might be as simple as lessons you learned from your older sister about catching the school bus.
Let’s say you always arrive 15 minutes late to an important meeting, even after making careful preparations.
- Are there lessons about timeliness or lateness that you’ve carried with you from your earliest years? Are you complying with those lessons? Rebelling? Once you identify the Time Gremlin that’s involved here (i.e. the baggage that you bring to the situation) it’s much easier to look at the “nuts and bolts” and solve your time problem.
- Practically speaking, it’s quite likely that you underestimated the time you needed for one or more preliminary tasks. You might try listing each step. Jot down how much time you think each will take. Then try timing yourself. Do this a few times, and compare your estimate with reality.
By letting go of how long something “should” take, and replacing it with how long it truly does take, you improve your chances of staying on course. This is simple, practical and quite effective!
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.