We often hear the saying, “Time is of the essence” when someone needs us to do something immediately or expeditiously. I would argue that time IS the essence. This is reflected in all the Mindfulness apps, blogs, and books. But seriously, how often to we practice? This morning I took some time and processed herbs I had harvested and dried to vacuum seal in ‘jar-sized’ packets. After that, I went out and harvested more before the rain dropped in buckets, and I noticed my brain and body were in a really good place. I thought I was ‘mindlessly’ doing ‘chores’ but I realized it wasn’t mindless at all, I reflected on my client’s needs, thought of new ideas for developing my coaching business, and tried to figure out if I want to scale up this herb-drying and packaging process as part of the farm.
For me, having control over my schedule, my hours, and my tasks is how I feel balanced or grounded. There’s a great video clip of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on managing your time that I think is worth 90 seconds of your time. Time is the only commodity that you can’t buy or bargain for. When I was in the corporate world, I remember having a schedule packed with back to back meetings, and early on, I would attend and think that I had no time to do my day job because I was in meetings. I would then bring the work home to do at night. A few years ago, I made the commitment to myself that I wouldn’t attend meetings unless I knew the purpose and desired outcome. When a meeting came through for an hour, I pushed back on the teams giving a challenge to do in less than 30 minutes. This didn’t work all the time, but people, including myself, were really surprised how often it did work. Another technique when you’re frustrated or need a boost of energy is to step away and go for a walk. This is really easy to do – whether inside or outside. It takes you away from the current stressor and allows you to come back into yourself and allow a refocus.
These simple tasks help you realize the value of your time, which in turn will allow you to appreciate the value of others’ time. As a leader, how do you foster an environment where employees have the ability to control their time – or the knowledge that you’ll support them to say no to a meeting to better enable their balance? A simple discussion with your manager or your employees around time management and balance will create a healthier culture and work environment.
Regardless how you reground and balance, make sure you take the time to do it and model for those around you. I’ll close on a relevant quote from Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”