I am asked how “I find the time” at least twice a week. The question may be phrased differently each time, but I’ve been asked the gist of the idea, online and offline, regularly for over a decade.
Sometimes it’s a compliment or critique disguised as small talk– and often, it actually is just small talk. But sometimes– sometimes– people are genuinely interested in my methods for making the most of a day.
I want to help, but I don’t have a quick answer. I don’t “find time” the way a treasure hunter finds treasure. I just do the best I can while trying to remember that time is something we have in abundance.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
- H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Each person has a notable, yet distinct, relationship with time. That’s what time is, really– an individual ownership of a global constraint. Yes, you are governed by time– but it’s also true that time is yours to govern.
This week, the Prompts for the Promptless challenge was based on the concept “Wabi-Sabi”.
Wabi-sabi is the beauty of the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
The concept of wabi-sabi outlines the triangle of concepts governing my time management system.
I always begin with the affirmation that I have all the time necessary to accomplish my goals.
From there, I am guided by these premises:
- My goals are inherently, perfectly imperfect.
- My goals are worthwhile, even when they are impermanent.
- I am accomplishing, even when my goals are incomplete.
What does that mean in non-hippie speak?
Well, it means that sometimes often I publish a post with a typo. Imperfect. It means that sometimes every now and then, I skip a day of posting. Imperfect. It means that occasionally I change my mind about my goals. Imperfect. Impermanent. It means that some goals are just quick stepping-stones to others, like “Create blog account”. Impermanent. It means that I accept that many things can be considered accomplished even though they’re only 70% complete. Incomplete. It means that I don’t finish some things. Incomp
It also means that I don’t take time that seriously and I give myself points just for trying. Sorry, Yoda.
Managing time is simple enough. You just have to make a map, leading you to the amount of time you want– and then use it efficiently. In that regard, I suppose I am a sort of treasure time hunter.
Here are some of my time-hunting mantras:
1. Seek Imperfection.
This is important enough to repeat. Not everything has to be perfect. Not everything has to be perfect. Not everything has to be perfect. Most people appreciate “good enough”, most of the time. The peanut butter doesn’t have to read the far end of the bread and be perfectly spread. The coffee is fine as long as it’s drinkable. No one checks to see if you vacuumed under the sofa. You’re allowed to go back and change your post or add a photo– that’s why God made edit buttons. Focus on the point, on your priority– and then let the other details work themselves out at a later time.
In the H. Brown Jackson, Jr. quote above, every single one of those great minds left buckets of unfinished ideas and imperfect solutions behind, but that isn’t what people remember. We’re all happy for every little thing they contributed, and that they were fearless in the face of time.
2. Find your Time Cycle
Every person has their own rhythm, schedule, and system. Forcing yourself to adhere to the normal 9 to 5 schedule is really just wasting time. Sleep when you need to sleep and no more, even if it’s not 8 hours. Write when you can, even if it’s 48 minutes worth of writing every day and not a perfect hour.
3. No dinosaur is an island.
One of the upsides to living in a world packed with people is that you’re living in a world packed with people! Rely on the resources that they provide. If your co-worker says they can handle a project, let them handle it. If your secretary says she can staple the forms, let her staple them. If your husband says he’ll pick up the eggs, trust that he’ll pick up the eggs. (Well, maybe leave a note for him, just in case.) If you’re not sure how to do something, don’t re-invent the wheel– ask someone, or ask a search engine. Search engines know everything because they are fueled by the minds of humankind.
I take this to mean trusting in online-people and programs, as well. I use the suggested tags from WordPress and I follow prompts so that I’m not entirely responsible for inspiring myself and to connect to more people.
4. Stop single-tasking.
Science has proved that you cannot multitask in the sense that you cannot do two things at 100% capacity. Luckily, most things don’t need to be done at 100% capacity. For example, when you are waiting for something to upload, or for your turn in line, or for the bath water to fill up, you don’t need to be waiting like you get paid to professionally wait. Use that time! You can work on other things in your mind or with handy portable tools.
5. Learn to Use Tools Efficiently
This is a big one. A time hunter is only as good as her tools. If you’re going to spend time on anything, it should be on maximizing the efficiency of your tools so that you can get more done. For a more practical list of the tools I use and why, see the following post: http://rarasaur.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/tools-of-a-time-hunter/
In a very large, slightly cracked nutshell– that’s how I imperfectly seek the treasure that is time.
Do you have some time-hunting tips to add? Do you have a favorite quote about time?
More Prompts for the Promptless Posts:
- Heart & a Half: http://heartandahalf.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/wabi-sabi-scar/
- Everyday Gurus: http://everydaygurus.com/2013/02/20/wabi-sabi-beauty-in-impermanence/
- SortaGinger: http://sortaginger.com/flowers-hank-hill-and-beauty-in-nature/
- TheTemenosJournal: http://thetemenosjournal.com/2013/02/20/a-gnarl-of-beauty/
- GeorgeFloresWrite: http://georgefloreswrite.com/2013/02/20/hot-baldbalding-men-wabi-sabi-of-supposed-imperfection/
- MamaBearMusings: http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/wabi-sabi-beauty-in-impermanance/
- Day One: http://looneyatoms.com/2013/02/21/wabi-sabi/
- CheriSpeak: http://cherispeak.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/perfectly-imperfect-imperfectly-perfect/
- BreathingSpace: http://grandmalin.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/wabi-sabi-rainbow/
- Mind of a Mouse: http://jaschmehl.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/unfinished-business/
- Far Away in the Sunshine: http://farawayinthesunshine.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/much-better-thank-you-for-asking/
- ElectronicBagLady’s Bag of Bits : http://electronicbaglady.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fresh-firecoal-chestnut-falls/
- Grayson Queen: http://graysonqueen.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/the-wabi-in-the-sabi
- A Number of Things: http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/waaabiiii-ssssaaaabiiii-stretching-an-idea-too-far/
- Fibot: http://fibot.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/my-wabi-sabi-headband-and-new-hobby/
- .. and you?