Juggling Time – AQR Workshop 29 November 2010
Do you juggle time or does time juggle you?’
Purpose of this workshop:
To explore 3 key areas of our modern lives (and which we feel are particularly relevant at this frenetic time of year):
TIME: it’s an unchanging commodity yet there seems to be less and less of it. Why is that?
STRESS: as a growing phenomenon, many of us are increasingly and detrimentally feeling it. How can we better manage this?
DISTRACTIONS: From phone calls to emails to Facebook to instant messaging, the number and influence of these seems to be growing. What drives us to these (and away from other things) and what can we do about this?
Overview of these three concepts – Time, Stress & Distractions
TIME: we seem to have less of it or do we simply have more to do in the same amount of time we’ve always had?
The things that typically people find fill up their time include: family, job, kids, running a household, travelling to and from work, shopping, school commitments, work commitments, fitness – gym/classes/group sport activities (netball, football), interests – art classes/amateur dramatics/charity-community events, friends, socialising, downtime…
AND – emails constantly pinging at us, social media interaction (facebook / twitter), also pinging at us, instant messaging (Skype, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, BBM, What’s App)… through our computers, laptops and now our phones!
How on earth do we fit it all in?!?!?!?!
The time available doesn’t change, it’s a constant, therefore the only variable that does change is what we do with it, how we use it.
The expectation from us to do so much is very different now to how it was even only a few years ago.
STRESS: a growing phenomenon, many of us are increasingly feeling it, to our detriment.
How can we better manage these feelings of stress?
Due to increasing demands on our time, both in the work and personal/home environment, we are feeling pressurised and stretched and therefore we feel stressed.
We fear we cannot complete or achieve all those things set out for us to do; we have endless commitments and responsibilities and everything has deadlines – from work tasks, client demands, children’s extra-curricular activities, and even in our social lives.
AND at the same time, traffic and travel conditions have worsened, and people are communicating with us constantly via mobile phones, email and facebook, etc. and expecting us to respond faster than ever before.
The demands on our attention and our time has increased dramatically yet the number of waking / working hours in the day have stayed the same.
Depending on where you work, and what you do, you may find that in the same number of hours you used to do a task, you are now expected to do so much more.
Depending on whether or not you have children, a partner, family to tend to (elderly parents), you may find that those things you need to do for them demand a lot more of your time than you have available.
The time it takes to get to places, to complete tasks, waiting whilst on phone calls, emails to reply to, traffic jams, transport problems and delays; there is more pressure on us than ever.
All this can be so very stressful!!
AND, the number of choices we have each time we need to make a decision also has an effect on our stress levels too! Even ordering a cup of coffee isn’t simple anymore!
This can cause us to feel stressed, anxious, pressurised, tired and / or drained. This depends entirely on our personalities and how we manage ourselves with the things we need to do and the time available to us to do those things.
Distractions: including social, at work and family situations:– phone calls and emails, both on the computer and directly to your phone; friends reunited, facebook and other social online networking, both on the computer and on your phone; same again with instant messaging – also on your phone!!
youtube, shared videos, photos and other online distractions – is this a choice, or are we drawn in or are there other reasons we allow this to take a space in our lives that it never took in the past.
The extent to which these are distractions for you will depend on your personality and how much you have connected to all these various modern social media and communication facilities; and, on how much you are by your computer every day and have these things switched on.
If you are mostly mobile for your work, then emails on the go can be so very practical and useful.
But do we know where to draw the line?
There are those who say “we never grow up” – are we like children, still wanting to “play” when we can? Enjoying the distraction because it’s easier and more entertaining that that piece of work we need to do?
Is it about feeling “included” or “important”?
We tend to nurture a lot of superficial relationships, which are distracting and time consuming…
Some questions to think about:
- What causes us to read emails and respond right away?
- Who here tends to want to read an incoming email regardless of what they are doing and find it is actually a distraction and time-waster?
- What causes us to look on facebook and read about what other people are doing?
- Why do we allow these distractions to happen?
- What is the price of being distracted?
- Family – it impacts “respect” and relationships
- Work – it impacts efficiency.
The impact of these 3 concepts: Time, Stress and Distractions
Speed of life – what we are looking at are:
- The expectations and demands we need to deal with nowadays…
- The nature of our communication today…
- How these are different to a decade ago…
- And, the impact of all this…
Managing our time better, more efficiently; the question arises between:
- Are smartphones, like the BlackBerry, iphone/android phones, efficient and do they help us to use time better?
- Or are smartphones a hindrance, are they addictive, distracting… do they waste time?
Distractions – superficial relationships:
- What is the value / the “payoff” of social online interaction such as facebook, twitter, friends reunited, emails with jokes, etc. that we then pass on?
- Why do we allow ourselves to spend time on superficial relationships?
- What purpose does it serve us?
- Does it make us feel important, included, needed?
When we don’t think things through, we tend to do them on auto-pilot. By discussing these distractions you may find that you start to think about them differently. This is how coaching works, it challenges our thinking rather than just doing the same old thing over and over again.
Write down one thing that you already know one can do to increase efficiency and effectiveness with time in your own life.
This is how coaching works: you already have the answers!
It’s simply about asking the right questions, in the right way, at the right time.
Whether or not you choose to apply them is a matter of decision making and prioritising.
After this session, just by thinking and talking about this the way we are, you may find that you do go back to your everyday life and decide to do one thing slightly differently. This is how we work, this is also how coaching works; you don’t train to run a marathon in a day; you build up your strength and stamina through on-going commitment and constant training.
Same with this concept; do one thing only, one tiny thing differently to how you’ve done it before and that will be enough over the next 3-4 weeks and then revisit your notes and see if there is one more thing you could implement, again something very small, a tiny shift in your everyday habits and behaviours.
This simply puts you much more in charge of your own life, of your behaviours and emotions, and when we feel in control, we feel so much better in ourselves.
To do or not to do – that is your choice.
“I want to be distracted, busy and overloaded.”
or “I want to be time-efficient and more organised.”
What have we looked at in this session:
TIME – when we prioritise – and delegate = LESS STRESSED.
DISTRACTIONS – know why you allow them to distract you – and make a choice about them.
Don’t just be a robot on auto-pilot!!
Efficiency, choices, time management, etc. – the answers are all already within you.
This session has just brought them to the forefront of your mind.
You won’t always be time-efficient, structured and organised; it’s unrealistic to expect otherwise.
If you “beat yourself up” it will only add to your stress and anxiety, and no-one benefits, not you nor the people around you (colleagues, partner, children, etc.)
Beating yourself up verbally, silently in your head is very draining, exhausting and de-motivating. We tend to do this because we are brought up in a “should” and “ought to” society…
Find a way to “let yourself off the hook” when you are not performing at that top level that you are expecting of yourself. Find a way to “accept yourself” in those moments, at those times when you’re not on top of things.
Sometimes you’ve just had too much to do, other tasks have taken longer than planned, a phone call lasted longer than expected, someone stopped you in the corridor and you couldn’t get away, there was a long train delay, etc. etc. Sometimes we just don’t feel as energetic, can’t get our brains into gear, bad time of the month… and so on. We don’t function every day in exactly the same way (that’s what “robots” do); we need to find a way to deal with our human emotions, reactions and realities.