Thursday, June 18, 2015 27 Comments
A better way to structure
the TIME of your LIFE
Lost in Time?
When we are driving around lost and our GPS seems to be stuck on, “RECALCULATING!” a map of the territory provides a quick hit of the structure we need to reorient, even if we’ve been driving in circles for some time.
We can still choose to take any of the roads on the map to get us where we are going from where we are NOW, but at least, with a map, we can tell the roads from the driveways!
Likewise, when life itself feels like it is spiraling out of control, nothing is more helpful than a quick glance at something with structure – like a TIME map.
Creating a TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your seemingly “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make up the tasks that, together, create each of the days of our lives.
It can be adapted to your very own personal style — even if you prefer spontaneity and variety. It even works for those of us who have less than complete control over our days, as well as for those of us who seem to have too much control and are overwhelmed deciding what to do when and what to do next.
A quick review
In an earlier article, Time Mapping Your Universe, I went into detail about how to set up a TimeMap (using my own, at the time, as an example of the concept). More importantly, in that earlier article I went into detail about the advantages of having and using a Time Map
WHY a Time Map?
- Having a visible representation of how you believe the elements of your life would be best-scheduled reduces the number of decisions-in-the-moment.
- That, in turn, increases cognitive bandwidth in the moment — so that you are able to actually accomplish something beyond planning, list-making and beating yourself up for getting off-task again.
- In addition, it serves as a double-check to make sure that you aren’t saying yes to demands for your time and attention, when you really need to be saying NO or “Not right now.”
- It also gives you somewhere to go to locate a quick answer for the inevitable question, “Well, when will you have time?”
In the absence of a schedule imposed by another (like work or school), it is waaaaay too easy to get caught in the flexibility trap.
Entrepreneurs and service-professionals in particular, frequently get caught in the flexibility trap, inadvertently flying stand-by in our own lives in service to our businesses and the needs of others.
- Just because a certain hour is not already taken by another client, or another client project, doesn’t mean it’s “free time” we can book on the fly any time someone wants to use our services (or needs a favor). That’s a recipe for burnout!
- A TimeMap is a reminder that certain hours are “booked solid” already – with other items that are necessary to keep YOUR life on track and worth living.
- ESPECIALLY if you love what you do, you need to schedule non-work time or you’ll quickly notice that there isn’t any. Even if your long hot soak or reading time can’t be accomplished without family interruptions, it’s still more “you” time than not. MAP IT IN!
(This is doubly important if you are a Mom or Dad who works his or her fingers to the bone inside the home rather than at a job at a different location.)
Creating a TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make up the tasks that, together, create each of the days of our lives.