Today’s topic is about our most precious resource – time. When we don’t have enough of it, we are always too busy, and how to stop the cycle of always feeling like there’s not enough time.
When many of my clients reach out to me they are struggling with work/life balance, stressed, overwhelmed, and feel like they don’t have time to do the things they enjoy.
In fact, before some of my clients even get to the point that they are talking to me, they are unsure they even have the hour a week for coaching.
In this episode, I’m talking about busy culture and the quest to always feel like we are able to give enough at work, with our partners, children, family and friends and why we always feel like we are falling short.
What You’ll Learn
How time is used as a weapon in organizations
Why it is easy to feel like you’re not doing or giving enough at home or at work
How to look at time differently so you can have the balance you want
How to create time for what is important to you
Featured in This Episode
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Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Navigating Your Career.
Today’s topic is about our most precious resource – time. When we don’t have enough of it, we are always too busy, and how to stop the cycle of always feeling like there isn’t enough time.
This is a common issue with my clients. When many of my clients reach out to me they are struggling with work/life balance, stressed, overwhelmed, and feel like they don’t have time to do the things they enjoy.
In fact, before some of my clients even get to the point that they are talking to me, they are unsure they even have the hour a week for coaching. That is one of their first hurdles….finding the time to talk to me to solve the problem of not having enough time to focus on themselves. Haha.
When I think about one client in particular, she was working a ton of hours every week, had a never-ending to-do list, was trying to balance her family and a personal life, and also found herself not having any time to do what she enjoyed. She had a passion project around health and fitness, but struggled to find just a couple hours a week for herself.
Fast forward a couple weeks after we started working together and she had created boundaries, created time for what she loved, and found that when she focused on what brought her happiness, she actually had more time. She stopped spending mental energy and physical time resisting her reality, trying to find a new job, distracting herself with activities that didn’t serve her goals, started looking at her work differently….and it created more time.
She now is happily managing her career, her personal life, her family, and her time for what she enjoys without being stressed. She has found time to journal and even take a couple courses she is interested in.
This is what happens with my clients. When they dedicate the 1 hour a week to working with me, it actually creates more time for them. Isn’t that funny.
So today we are going to dig into this reality of feeling like you don’t have enough time. Why that is, and what you can do to create some time for yourself so you can feel better and have more control and less chaos over your life.
Somewhere along the way time became a weapon.
Back in my corporate life, I thought it was the strangest thing.
People would proudly talk about not having enough time the same way they would talk about getting rated a high exceeds on a performance review.
It seemed the more busy you were, the less time you had, the more chaotic you were, the more we celebrate you.
We have celebrated not having time and being in chaos.
Making time for yourself or being efficient in your job has meant you’re not a hard enough worker, not in enough demand, failing someone, somewhere.
Because if you were in demand, if you did work really hard, if you were important, then you wouldn’t have time for anything.
Being busy, always too much to do, not having time for career or personal development, struggling even with required training, or anything “extra” has meant you’re going somewhere, you are in demand, you work so hard.
This is not to be confused with toxic work environments where you are expected to do more than one person’s job and when you do the math, it is impossible to do your work, let’s be clear on that.
I’m talking about busy culture.
This is not only the way other people might behave you and see them getting positive recognition for but also what we may fall prey to, thinking we need to create this for ourselves to be seen as a high performer.
It’s a total lie and sham.
Running around and always feeling like you can’t do enough and you’re letting people and more importantly, yourself, is not helping you.
It ends up bleeding into your home life where the busier you are the better you are, and you feel like you could always be doing more for your partner, your kids, your family, your friends, and yourself.
It continues this idea that you’re not enough.
We’ve normalized and even celebrated a busy, not good enough culture.
Think about it – how many times have you heard people say things like:
“Oh, that’s so great you have time to do that…I wish I did”
”I have to allow you time for that because it is important, but I just can’t” I especially have seen this among people managers – but that sends the wrong message to your teams.
”Did you see Jane talking in the break room…guess she doesn’t enough work to do”
”Must be nice to be able to have time to figure out what you want, I’m just trying to manage what I have”
What we need to do is stop using time as a weapon and glorifying being busy as something we need to be seen as.
We need to stop shaming people for taking time for themselves. It isn’t done on purpose, but it comes out in those statements that imply you’re somehow not doing enough if you have time for yourself.
We need to acknowledge that we, as humans, are our best asset and treat ourselves accordingly.
Imagine how different our work culture, homes, and society would be if more people were happy, fulfilled, and healthy. If we knew it was ok to give ourselves the time we need. If we encouraged others to do it too, and not just because it’s the right thing to do but because we know it’s important and we do it ourselves.
It would be a totally different culture and society.
You’re listening to this and may think I just called you out.
You may listen and think, sounds great, but how.
I’m going to get to that.
I want you to know you are worth the time you need and want.
That you don’t need permission from others to prioritize yourself.
Others might not understand.
They might continue to say things like “that’s nice for you”
You might be the one others talk about in the break room for actually enjoying your life.
You have to be ok with that.
It’s your life.
Their life is theirs.
Your life is not their business and vice versa.
What matters is how you feel when you wake up in the morning and how fulfilled you are in the life you have.
So now let’s actually talk about time. Let’s get to the nitty gritty of how to make more time for yourself when you feel like your drowning in to-dos and responsibilities.
There are 24 hours in a day.
We are all allotted the same 24 hours but there are different ways to look at it.
Newton viewed time as math. There are 24 hours in a day and we all have the same number of hours.
So it really becomes how you allocate your time.
What do you spend your time on? What is tricky here is we spend time on things and don’t realize it.
For example – you may spend more time scrolling on social media than you realize.
You may spend mental energy thinking about your stress, wondering what you should do about it, feeling bad about your situation, frustrated with your boss, any number of things.
But this also takes up time – time you likely don’t know you’re spending.
Or you go on LinkedIn and you see a post from a colleague that they got promoted or moved into a new role and you check out their profile and wonder how that happened, what did they do, how did they get there. You think about reaching out but you don’t.
Your curiosity is peaked and so you start looking at other people’s profiles.
Another time suck can be when you’re frustrated at work and someone does something you don’t like, or a company announcement comes out and you then talk to some work friends about it. Maybe you gossip, maybe you question the decision, maybe you call someone to tell them they can’t believe what just happened…
But what happens when you clear up all of that mind clutter?
You have more time.
We also tend to think we don’t have control over our time.
So if your boss assigns work to you and asks you to do it now, you may just do it and not push back.
If a stakeholder comes to you and asks you to do something, you may think, a good employee would meet their request without push back.
But all of this is in your control.
Another one of my clients struggled with her boss constantly messaging her and assigning projects to her. She was working 16 hours a day.
In coaching I taught her how to set boundaries and how to talk to her boss about her workload in a way that was win-win.
She started implementing what we coached on and is much happier. She is only working overtime if she chooses to.
Her boss doesn’t constantly message her with last minute requests.
We all have the same 24 hours. This is why I say coaching 1 hour a week creates more time because it helps you uncover where you’re spending time that doesn’t serve you.
I help you create a strategy and learn the tools to take your time back.
It’s not that one of us has more time than the other. It’s all in how we use the same 24 hours.
It’s how we discover our blind spots and do something about them.
It’s also in claiming responsibility for our choices and not letting others influence us when it isn’t in our best interest.
So if your boss makes comments like “I really need to give you an hour for your development and wish I could take that for myself too, but I’m too busy”
That is 100% about them and their ability to manage their life, their stakeholders, their boundaries.
It doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong, it’s just their choice.
You don’t have to make it mean that you should feel bad for taking the time.
If you feel that it’s hurting you, that your boss for example, says one thing but really wants you to not take the time or doesn’t really feel you should take days off or take care of yourself, then I would encourage you to have that conversation with them.
Be open and share how you feel and ask what the expectations are. There is a way to have that conversation that isn’t confrontational or accusatory. It’s just seeking clarification.
You can 100% be an outstanding performer, give your best to your work, and create boundaries for yourself.
One of the biggest objections I hear from clients isn’t money, it’s time.
It’s I want this, I need this, but how can I make time for it when I already don’t have enough time.
You create time.
You prioritize what is important, create boundaries, and decide what will make your life best for you and your family is what is important. You take your power back.
When I have that first call with people, if time is an issue that is something we address. How can we create that first hour. Then we tackle the bigger problems that are sucking the time away from you.
You find you have more time. If you listened to my podcast with my client Angie, she said she’s playing solitaire now, trying to find more hobbies because with a demanding full time job, young kids and a partner, she has cleared up the mind clutter, created boundaries, and now has more time.
It might seem impossible but it isn’t.
I was there too. I worked full time in a demanding job while married, 2 young kids and in night school. I’m not saying you can do everything and have loads of hours for yourself.
You can however, look at what is important to you, align your time to what you want in life, let go of the expectations you put on yourself and the demands you think people have of you, let go of the emotional and mindset things that are holding you back, and be able to live a less stressed, happier life on your terms.
What I want you to walk away with today is 2 things:
1 – Let’s acknowledge that we are in a culture that celebrates not having enough time and always needing to do and be more – keeping up with a false idea of what success looks like in every part of our life
2- You don’t have to sign up to that and can decide you want something different for yourself.
3 – We all have 24 hours in a day, you get to decide how you use them.
If you want some help and are interested in coaching, I encourage you to apply for 1-1 coaching with me. We will get you where you want to be 100%. You can apply through my website www.melissamlawrence.com/apply. I will put a link in the show notes.
Also, if you are listening on Apple – add a review. I would greatly appreciate it. It really is important to help make the show more visible. If you aren’t on apple, you can email me your feedback – I’d love to hear it. You can email me at email@example.com.
Alright that is all for this week’s episode. I will talk to you next week. Have a wonderful week!