Thursday, November 3, 2016
Time Troubles and Coaching
For people who are “ALWAYS” running late and rushing around
— and the people who love them —
(who would like to understand how to change that sad fact)
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Group Coaching Series
BEFORE I tell you about the upcoming start of an affordable new Coaching opportunity designed to help you with A-WHOLE-LOT-MORE than time-management, let’s take a moment to chat about time itself.
Time can be MANAGED?
For over a quarter of a century now, I have been fascinated with anything related to the topic of the awareness of the passage of time. It has always been a mystery to me – and I now know that I’m not the only one with that peculiar problem.
Personally, I can’t recall a time when time made sense, except in the context of NOW and not-now.
Even when I explain it to someone who thinks they understand, it seems that nobody gets the implications. I am frustrated beyond belief when they continue to ask me time-based questions.
My secret fascination with the mechanics of time’s awareness began long before I first learned that I seem to be one who was born without that internal tic-tic-tock with which most people DO seem to have been equipped, part of the standard package.
I’ve been told I can’t get one now, even as an after-market upgrade.
Oddly, I have a great sense of rhythm – which is time-based – so I can change time-ING, but predicting how long something will take or how long ago a life landmark occurred is always beyond me.
Back in my acting days, when I had to do a 30-second spot and I was over or under by a few seconds, I understood how to tweak the cadence to end “on time.” But I never could stay tracked attempting to “time” much of anything for much longer than a minute (or “time” a dance number — I simply stayed in step with the music until it stopped).
Are YOU one of the time challenged?
None of us know what we don’t know . . . so how can we frame a question another will understand? It seems like magic when others are able to manage something in arenas where we are totally at sea.
The best analogy I’ve been able to come up with for a lack of time-sense is that it’s like trying to teach the tone-deaf to sing.
Friends who aren’t able to sing on pitch can’t tell when they wander away from the tune, and I have never been able to help them learn to do so. They simply can’t hear it.
Unlike those who can’t match a pitch, however, I always knew there was some “secret” that others knew and I didn’t (and therapists have had a field day with this, by the way – “Madelyn, I don’t have answers for you!”)
I simply couldn’t imagine how to frame a question beyond, “How do you DO that?” or “What am I missing?” – which, I suppose, seemed more like feigned ignorance or an unwillingness to take personal responsibility to others. So I stopped asking. I hated the look on their faces, even when their responses weren’t cruel, and even though I understood they didn’t MEAN to be cruel.
Making sense of a lack of sense
I found out that there was such a thing as “a sense of time” in the same article I found out about adult ADD, published years ago in the New York Times magazine section – Frank Wolkenberg’s now landmark, “Out of a Darkness.” I was 38.
My reaction to that particular aha! was, “Well, NO WONDER every one else can get places on time — they’re cheating!” (as if “a sense of time” was like having an exam crib sheet stuffed up their sleeves.)
Once I understood that some inner chronometer allowed others to somehow feel that time was passing (and how much time was passing, for most of them), I understood immediately that I had to stop attempting to “figure it out” and focus on easy-to-set alarms (one to STOP, to get ready for the next thing, another to begin walking out the door — etc.) That’s how I did it — and how I have to do it still.
I found it fascinating to hear that some people LOST their sense of time following a head injury. I know it must be frustrating for them, but at least they know how to explain what’s missing — not that it helps others to understand what they’re talking about or the extent of the resulting struggle one whit better.
Related Post: Lessons from the TBI Community
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