Through my work with hundreds of people seeking greater control over their time, and thus, their lives, I’ve discovered a widespread acceptance of three destructive myths about time. These three myths drive all sorts of behaviors and decisions which, inevitably, don’t help because the intended solutions are aimed at addressing the problem from the wrong direction. It’s not that all the time and task management experts are wrong or that the abundant productivity advice, hacks, tips, and tricks don’t work. It’s that by leaving these myths unchallenged, and assuming that they represent the truth, we remain stuck in a distorted relationship with time.
In this post, I’ll briefly introduce you the three destructive myths about time.
Myth #1: I will have more time later.
This is one of the most common beliefs about time, regardless of how savvy or productive you might be. When you look at your schedule today or glance ahead to the next couple of weeks, you’re likely to see that you’re booked solid. You have some idea (even if it might be a bit vague) about what’s coming up and how much of your time will be required to do it. But if you gaze farther ahead into the future, say six months or year from now, your schedule (most likely) looks blissfully open.
This unscheduled space on the calendar leaves you with the notion that not now, but later, in the future, you’ll have more time—more time to devote to your loves, your family, and yourself. However, when the future unfolds, you discover that there is not more time later! There is no magical future destination where all the demands will be released and you will have unlimited time for your loves. There is only the now moment; only in the now can you experience enough time.
Myth #2: Time is outside my control.
This myth finds its deep roots buried in how we measure time using clocks and calendars. It is true that time is a great equalizer: Everyone gets the same number of hours each day; we all use the same calendar with days and dates and years marked out for all to abide by. From this perspective, the myth of time being outside our control would seem to be true. However that’s not at all the case.
Neurophysiologists say our brains manufacture our experiences of time. Quite simply, your brain—by using the amount of detailed information it receives—is creating your perception of time. Not only does your brain’s wiring play a central role in your experience of time, your time truly is what you think it is and it behaves how you say it does. However it is that you imagine your time to be—scarce or abundant, speeding or dragging, standing still or running out—you create your own experience through how you think about your time and what you say aloud about it.
Myth #3: My time is precious.
This is the most shocking and counter-intuitive myth of them all because it is bandied about constantly and sounds so wise and profound and truthy. There are a number of variations on this myth that run along the same lines: “Life is short,” “My time is valuable,” “I hate wasting my time.” All of these statements harken back to the original mythic notion of our time as an exceedingly precious, valuable resource. However, deep down, most of us know this myth is a bunch of hooey. One only has to look at how we actually use our time to see that we don’t believe that our time is precious at all.
The truth is all time is precious. By removing the personal pronoun “my” and releasing the idea that time belongs to you somehow, you provide yourself with the opportunity to experience greater equanimity about time. Equanimity is a state of being balanced and centered, yet responsive. One friend, herself a very Sexy + Soul-full woman, describes it this way, “When you have equanimity, you’re being non-reactive. You develop the ability to see the space between an event occurring and what happens next. And in that space, you can choose how you want to respond. I think of equanimity as inner freedom.” In other words, rather than being carried along by events or hijacked by your own reactions, you are able to choose how you want to be.
The Alchemy of Time
Throughout the month of February, you’ll learn about more about these myths along with the Alchemy of Time, my approach to rejecting these three myths and replacing them with more helpful and effective truths.
The key to rejecting these three destructive myths about time is practicing the Alchemy of Time.
• “I will have more time later” is transformed into “I have enough time now.”
• “Time is outside my control” is morphed into “Time is what I think it is.”
• “My time is precious” undergoes a subtle, yet extreme, makeover to “All time is precious.”
This post was adapted from my book, Sexy + Soul-full: A Woman’s Guide to Productivity which is available for pre-order now!