Hours in a day

Or 1440 minutes in every day. How do you use them? On task or wasted away?

In recent times I have attended quite a few leadership and time management seminars. Sessions facilitated by Proteus, Skill Path, VALA, and the Women in Local Government Network in the region where I live and work. 

The overriding message I hear is that in order to lead and manage well in the workplace you need to be focused and have lots of energy and in order to do that you must be fit and healthy.

Therefore diet and exercise are paramount. So how does a busy manager have time for exercise? They make time! There are no excuses. If you need to get up at 5:00am to fit it in then that is what you need to do. In the words of one trainer, “Suck it up Princess!

It is said that it takes 21 days in order to create a habit. So for me to get up at 5:00am to exercise (and not being a “morning person”) will take 3 weeks of actually doing it before it becomes second nature.

So now this is my day:

  • 5:00am                 Meditate
  • 5:30am                 Yoga
  • 6:30am                 Healthy breakfast
  • 7:00am                 Leave for work and while driving learn French from Radio Lingua’s Coffee Break French via podcast
  • 8:00am                 Start work – plan day and week using daily planners and Outlook Calendar. On tasks – no coffee
  • 12:00                     Walk or run for 30 minutes if possible and/or motivated
  • 12:30                     Healthy lunch
  • 1:00pm                 Work on tasks
  • 5:00pm                 Leave for home and listen to podcasts while driving
  • 6:00pm                 Healthy dinner
  • 6:30pm                 TV
  • 7:30pm                 Reading and writing – sometimes work related
  • 9:00pm                 Bed

On weekends I cycle on Sunday mornings and usually go for a long walk or a run on Saturdays. On Tuesday evenings I attend a meditation group. I regularly travel in the region for work as well as flying to Melbourne every few months.

The meditation practice has certainly helped me to get my life in perspective and to easily attend to the things I really need to do.

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Rodeo of Time

Do you ever feel as if your attention is scattered to the four winds? Do you feel like you are always reacting to situations and responding to fulfil the expectations of others?

There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m too busy. I’d like to focus and complete one task but my time is too fragmented. What I’d like to do and what I have to do seem at odds and extremes. The things I’d like to do require focus, concentration, consideration, time, and no interruptions. My list of these things is long – some are work-related whilst others remain on my personal Wish List. Where is my time for painting, exercise, yoga, resting, music, reading blogs, writing, walking, learning French, playing the piano, and knitting?

I seem to be reacting but not creating. I’ve read the advice of others: the four hour work week; Wayne Dyer; Jonathan Fields; Zen Habits; Eckhart Tolle; Joseph Campbell; how to set goals; simplify; multitask; do less; delegate; create lists; turn off the TV; make time; etc.

This week I have finally had the chance to organise the office I inherited, and sorted through years of other people’s stuff with other people’s scrawled labels. Tick this off my list. I have been trying out project management tools and task lists to try to tame my job tasks into a domicile creature.

In reality it doesn’t matter how organised I am and whether I meet all expectations. What everyone is remembered by is how they went about their days. Was it with good will and a light heart? Or was it with a mean spirit and lack of humanity?

I know that none of this matters and yet paradoxically all of this matters. I still read the latest popular works in philosophy, psychology, physics, and spirituality. It is easy to forget these things and get caught up in the daily dramas set in motion by unseen forces. It’s too easy to react, and react, and react, until after eight hours of reacting you are mentally exhausted and need time out to regather you own wits.

Touchstones or talisman can be useful tools that instantly remind you of what is truly important in life. It might be a photo of your cat (or dog) or child at your desk. It might be a pebble, or a crystal, a cross, or a piece of jewellery that can instantly jolt you from your walking zombie-state. It could be a five minute browse at art; a quote; a dream of life in another country; meditation in a park; or all of the above.

Ultimately it is not about what you do, but how you do it and with what intention. The main goal should be JOY. I must keep reminding myself of this when I have 20 deadlines set arbitrarily by others.

As time goes by you will see that we’re going to be free; you and me we’ll touch the sky; can you see in your mind’s eye? That we are one; we’re all the same and life is just a simple game.” ~ Moody Blues