The problem with time management isn’t what you think.
Time management is about managing your mind, not time.
Kind of weird to think about it this way, I know.
But hear me out…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Time Scarcity.
Starting With Defining Time
Time is a mental construct.
I know that sounds weird. But think about it.
Time just is.
It’s like money. We’ve all agreed that money is what it is. Really, it’s paper and numbers on a screen. We give it meaning because it’s useful for our existence.
The same thing is true with time.
Time just goes by. We’ve decided to name time decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, seconds, etc.
Time doesn’t have meaning until we give it meaning.
Lucky for you (and for all of us), we can decide intentionally how we relate to time. How we think and feel about time is up to us. It’s all 100% optional. You can think and feel however you want about time.
Scarcity Vs. Abundance
What happens to most of us is that we’re in the pattern of Time Scarcity.
Time Scarcity is something I made up after coaching people in Grow You. I noticed very quickly that ya’ll are struggling with time! And it’s really not the planning part (although I do teach that part). The struggle comes with the follow through. It’s with how you’re relating to time. It’s your thoughts and feelings about time.
Most of the people I coach on time are in Time Scarcity.
Examples of Scarcity Thoughts
Here is what Time Scarcity sounds like…
- There’s never enough time
- I’m so busy
- She’s always late
- I’m so stressed
- I never get things done on time
- I don’t have enough time
- I wish I had more time
- I don’t have time to do the things I want to do
- I’m in such a rush
- I have no control over my time
- I don’t have time to get it all done
- I’m always late
Just think about your day and how you relate to people. Do you find yourself saying, “I’m so busy” or “I don’t have time for that”?
It’s so subtle and feels like the truth.
But remember: time just is.
Saying you’re “busy” or “don’t have time” or that there’s “not enough time” are all optional thoughts.
You don’t have to think about time this way. And in fact, if you continue to think about time from “not enoughness” that’s what you’ll create more of.
Contrast this with Time Abundance.
Examples of Abundance Thoughts
Here are examples of what Time Abundance sounds like…
- I have enough time
- There is plenty of time
- There’s no rush
- We all have the same amount of time
- There’s always enough time for what’s important
- I create my time
- I’m in charge of my schedule
- I’m the only one who decides how I spend my 24 hours in a day
- There’s no wrong way for me to spend my time
- Nothing is wrong with how I spend my time
- I love time
- I’m grateful for time
Time abundance isn’t fantasy land.
It’s not dreaming of a place where you have all the free time you ever wanted, which is often laced with lowgrade disappointment.
Instead, Time Abundance is you controlling how you choose to relate to time.
This means when you’re in line at the DMV and it’s taking longer than you planned for, you find ways to use that time in a useful way without jumping to scarcity. You might listen to a podcast, read a book, or connect with the person next to you.
When you create space and pause, you can find ways to think abundantly about your time, regardless of your circumstances.
What Planning Has To Do With Time Management
Time management has two parts:
- Planning, and
- Following through.
The first part of time management—the planning—is what most people focus on.
The problem is following through with your plan.
Most of us weren’t taught how to create a loving, caring, supportive relationship with ourself (more on that in this Having Your Own Back podcast episode).
We end up overcommitting and not following through then beating ourselves up.
Use the tools below to create your plan. Then, learn how to manage your mind with respect to time.
How you think and feel about time matters.
Planning resources to check out:
- Personal Development For Her (course)
- 47 Time Management Tips (blog post)
- Best Planning Practices (podcast episode)
Your Relationship With Time Matters
Your relationship with time is your thoughts and feelings about it.
If you think you don’t have time, you’ll create more time scarcity from a place of not enoughness.
It has nothing to do with your circumstances. I promise.
What you think about time causes you to feel a certain way. That feeling will cause you to act and your actions will lead to your results.
If you come from having enough time, you’ll always have enough time. You’ll create more time.
You actually end up getting more done from Time Abundance. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s true.
When you think you have plenty of time and you follow your plan, you produce at such a high rate because you’re focused on honoring your commitments. You’re not in drama about “not having enough time” or “being too busy” or feeling rushed.
You just get it done.
The bonus here is that you actually create more free time this way.
It’s amazing. I do this now, and I have more free time than ever before.
I honor my commitments on my calendar. I enjoy my down time, knowing I’ve planned it. I really compound the time I have and create so much more of it, all while getting more done.
How To Change (From Scarcity To Abundance)
So if Time Scarcity is thinking “there’s not enough time” and Time Abundance is thinking “there’s more than enough time” the next step is for you to rewire your brain and start cleaning up your relationship with time.
Here’s the process to move into Time Abundance…
- Become aware of how you think and feel about time. Ask, “what am I thinking about time?” and “how do I feel about time?” This will bring consciousness to what your current relationship is like with time. You have to notice how you think about time before you can change it. From awareness, you can change.
- Decide what you want to think and feel about time in the future. If you’re in time scarcity and you don’t like what you see in Step 1, then decide what you want to think and feel about time instead. How do you want to relate to time?
- Practice your new thoughts until they’re habits. Your brain will default to the old thought patterns. Practice the thoughts you created from Step 2 until they’re the default thinking. You’ll know it’s working if the thoughts feel really good. (Check out my post on How To Create Amazing Habits.)
- Get coached on time management. Because you are you, there is only so much awareness you can bring to yourself. Having an outside coach brings an entirely new perspective that will help you change much more quickly. This is why I have several life coaches myself. If you want me to coach you on this, you can join Grow You where I coach on time management.
A Final Note!
Time scarcity is something completely within your control to change.
It’s the best news ever. You don’t have to struggle with time, feel rushed or in a hurry anymore.
This is some of the best work you can ever do in your life because as long as you’re alive, you will be deciding how to spend your time.
When I changed my relationship with time, everything in my life improved.
I get more done and I have more downtime. Most importantly, I feel better. I don’t feel rushed or in Time Scarcity. And life is better this way.
So, get started now. It’s completely available to you.
Check out these time management resources next: