How To Get The Most Out Of Your Time

And The Secret To Transforming It

Our knowledge economy gives us the illusion exists that there just isn’t enough time. False.

The reality is that there is just as much time in our current, crazy-busy age as there has been in any other.  I know it doesn’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve complained far too often that there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. And I’m not alone. “I don’t have enough time” seems to be the mantra of our time.

Time is arguably is our most important resource, Time is non-renewable. Once a second is gone, that’s it….forever. We like to embrace the myth that we can manage time. We can’t, so forget about it: no one ever slowed a minute down….it’s still 60 seconds.

So how can we get the most out of time and why do some seem to get more out of it than others?

If there is one thing Einstein’s theory of relatively taught us, it’s that there is more to time than meets the eye. There was a lot we didn’t know about time then and that we still don’t know. One thing we do know about time is that our perspective can transform how we experience it.

2 Ways To View Time

The ancient Greeks looked at time through two lens: “Karios” and “Chronos”.

  • “Chronos” is a quantitative view. It is simply Father Time’s ticking of the clock and unrelenting wheel of 60/24/7/365. Examples of Chronos is when time seems to stand still, drag on OR when when you feel hurried and harried trying to beat the clock.
  • “Karios” is a qualitative view. While hard to define, it’s theologically related and refers to a favorable or advantageous moment. Being in “flow” is synonymous in many ways with karios and good way to think about it. Examples would be those moments when, because you were fully engaged and present, time seemed suspended or non-existent in a very pleasant way.

While we need both perspectives, Chronos is so predominate that our view of things has become tunnel-like and monchrome. We only seem to look back to the past or forward to the future. Life gets gray pretty quickly when you only focus on what you can’t change, re-experience or have yet to experience.

Transform Your View

The key difference between these two lenses is that Karios can only be experienced in the present, and that’s the secret to transforming it. When we focus on being fully in the moment, we can savor what we are doing, experiencing and are becoming in the process. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy good memories bring or the anticipation of what’s ahead, its just that you do it in the moment and recognize these for what they give you in the moment…..a subtle distinction I know, but a very real one.

How You Choose to Is Up To You

So how do you practice being present or “in the moment”?

  1. Recognize when you’re out of it and living in the past or future- This can show up in number of ways. Regrets and “shoulda/woulda/couldas” are signals you’re in the past while the “want to/have to/need to” and “can’t wait to” are signals you’re in living in the future.
  2. Get in touch with yourself- Close your eyes, take a breath and at the same time a physiologic and emotional pulse-check. If you can’t name your current state then you’re likely less self-aware than you could be (It takes practice).
  3. Focus on what you can control- Your energy and priorities will give you the most leverage. Remind yourself you can’t control a single second of the clock. (it takes discipline and can become a habit).
  4. Focus on the task at hand- Ask yourself what is the most important thing you need to be doing right now, this moment.  You first may need to get the the bazillion and one other things out of your head and on to paper (it will take some planning and ongoing writing).

What we get from our time depends on our perspective. And thinking about time differently can transform how you experience it.

How is your perspective of time working for you? If you want more fulfillment and less frustration it may be a clue.

Take a minute and leave a comment, I’d love to know how it’s going for you.

Why Most Don’t Win At The Game Called Life

And 8 Ways You Can

Regardless of how you define “winning” in life, there are some common denominators that keep people from it. A lot of people it seems. Even a brief look at selected key indicators related to personal well-being and flourishing, especially America, can get you in a melancholy mood if not out-right depressed.

Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

The other news is that there’s a lot we have within our control that we can leverage to Win. While it’s pretty simple stuff, it’s usually not easy….and not for the reasons most think. Why so difficult? Mainly because we just aren’t self-aware of what commonly trips us up.

Before I go further I have to give credit where credit is due. The stimulus for this post came to mind after re-listening to one of Tony Robbin’s “Get The Edge” lectures when my car hi-jacked my iPhone and auto-played the content…..which broke the technology rules.   Seven of the points below come from Tony’s experience with the millions he has interacted with. The other one comes the experience of my great-grandmother who lived to be 106 yrs. old. My contribution is simply context and some elaboration.

Eight Reasons

These are eight big reasons why many people don’t win at the game called life and how you can instead:

  1. Don’t know the purpose of the game- how can you win if you haven’t defined what winning is? Decide what it is you really want. This takes time and ongoing reflection so schedule it; lather, rinse and repeat at least once a year.  Determining your purpose in a way that can expand and grow with you is part of it. The other part is pondering the questions of life’s origin, meaning, morality and destiny……even if answers don’t come right away or aren’t as clear as you like.
  2. Have too many rules- most of the rules you have for your boss, friends, spouse and yourself result in you “shoulding” way too much on yourself and others. The reality is that the majority of these can be jettisoned and all of us would be much better off. Rules are important and they can also be toxic, especially when you impose your rules on someone else.  If arguably the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth said only two rules are paramount, how many more do we need?
  3. Refusing to work with people who have the “wrong” rules (i.e. their own)- with 7.125 billion people on a planet that is growing more connected all the time, this is going to be a problem for you if you can’t. Recognize they have as many messed up rules for themselves and others as you do and cut them some slack. Remind yourself that listening and being friends with them doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. It also gives you the freedom to do just that.
  4. Have rules in conflict- this is a natural result of items 2 & 3 above. The more rules you have the more mental and emotional dissonance you’re going to experience. Of course, we’re brilliant at working around conflicting rules and letting  ourselves off the hook with our own personal in-field fly rules. Even with our work-arounds, we still never quite get rid of the self-imposed residue of guilt. Losing 1/2 your rules now will go a long way in avoiding this one.
  5. Play by the rules and “lose”- sometimes your unrealistic expectations cause your disappointment. And sometimes, truly bad things do happen in life regardless of what you do. You get the trip to Iceland during winter instead of the one to Hawaii you had planned…, having a child with special needs instead of one born healthy. Recognize that there is meaning beyond the moment. Asking yourself self-defeating questions that have no answer, like “Why me?” will only cause a mental loop and keep you stuck. Instead, ask yourself empowering questions like “What can I learn from this pain to help myself and others?” and you may find a gift you never dreamed of. As Jim Rohn said, “never lose the good out of a bad experience.”
  6. Break the rules and win!- so, you violated what you hold sacred and your values….and you get a win! Well, maybe not so much. Now you now have to reconcile that short-term pleasure with your long-term interests and higher purpose. Remind yourself that ultimate pleasure isn’t what you get in life, it’s who you become and what you contribute in the process.
  7. Take life too seriously or not seriously enough-  I get that our life is no practice session.  I also know that life is filled with rhythms of all kinds and to live every situation out as if it were life-and-death is just as much a denial of reality as someone who is pollyanna all the time. The former is to live in fear and anxiety; the latter is to live with blinders on and ultimately disappointment.
  8. Take life on your terms instead of how it is- just because you feel or think something should be a certain way doesn’t mean it is, regardless of what color glassed you have on or how far down your head is in the sand.  Learn to reframe any situation and stay positive while being able to accept and handle the negative.

Winning in life requires we know what we want and are aware of the obstacles that often keep us from it.  Being aware of these 8 common pitfalls can maximize your opportunity to win

What’s working to get past one of these eight that’s showing up most often for you right now?

Please leave a comment, I’d love hear.

How To Embrace Necessary Endings

3 Ways to Make Sure You Don’t Lose The Good Of Any Situation

We usually love beginnings and often hate endings… least the ones that are painful, we don’t like or we don’t have control over.  The reality is that some endings are necessary.  In fact, necessary endings are as important to life as are beginnings…..and just as common.

Necessary endings come in many varieties. Some are relationships, some are life events. Some necessary endings are outside our control and some are things to which we have to respond and act.  Like them or not and no matter how you slice it, necessary endings are indeed a part of life.

What necessary ending have you gone through recently, are experiencing now, or are likely to experience soon?  Here are some I experience repeatedly:

  • My favorite season- I always hate to see summer go, and go it must if I want to experience it again.
  • Our therapists who leave, change roles or professions- Confluent Health has a lot of talent, and as people grow and developed it often takes them in different directions.
  • My physical capacities- I find this is becoming more frequent as I grow older and I have to adapt.

Here are some that are one-time events:

  • Pets dying- our 12 year old lab passed last week.
  • Kids leaving- they start their own household and families.
  • A close friendship- whether due to difficulties or different directions.

Given how common a part of life endings are, what makes them so challenging to go through?  Perhaps the answer is found in how you choose to process them.

By embracing the following 3 factors you can make sure you don’t lose the good out of any situation, no matter how distasteful:

  1. Framework- you get to choose how you will respond. Just how powerful is having and exercising a framework of choice? Enough to survive a concentration camp and go on to live a fulfilling life.
  2. Perspective-you get to choose how you see it. Most people see situations as good or bad.  If you choose instead to see them as pleasant or unpleasant, (like emotions) you can experience them more realistically.
  3. Context-you get to choose how to fit things into an integrated whole.  Reframing a necessary ending with the bigger picture in mind often allows you to pull together overarching themes….and understand that the necessary ending you’re dealing with may be a verse, page or chapter and not the story itself.

The good news is that however unpleasant, you don’t have to simply “settle” or dread necessary endings. That goes for the ones that happen naturally as well as those you need to make happen.

By using the 3 factors above you not only can keep from losing the good out of any situation, you can sometimes even make the difficult easy and the distasteful pleasant.

What necessary ending do you need to process differently  in order to maximize the good of a unpleasant situation?  You sure don’t want to lose the good out of it.

Please leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



How to Reframe Opposition Into Opportunity

On One Hand!

Have you ever awakened to the realization that you hold a perspective that doesn’t serve you well?  Sometime it hits you like a jack-hammer and other times like one made of velvet.

A few events hit me recently that gave me an awareness and realization of the velvet-hammer variety.  First, I picked myself up and dusted off my proverbial knees. Next, it dawned on me that my perspective about opposition was flawed: I viewed it as something to be overcome and eliminated. The problem with that perspective is that it sees opposition as an impediment to be eliminated instead of a requirement for growth.

Growth requires encountering and overcoming opposition of some kind. Whether it’s a seed overcoming the confines of the soil or an extreme challenge, both involve opposition….and in fact, by definition, require it.

Overcoming does not mean eliminating, and there’s a big difference. If we expect opposition to be eliminated, we are going to be sorely disappointed. Based on past performance, we know opposition will continually show up in some form in our lives. Sometimes it comes in the form of a person, thing or circumstance, but the one constant is that it will show up.

Our perspective of opposition will determine whether we are disappointed or whether we are expectant and ready. Perspective also greatly impacts our choice in how we push against the resistance that opposition brings; whether we grow through it or whether we disengage.  Exactly how we push can make all the difference in the world.0295 OppositionFred II

So if elimination isn’t an empowering perspective, what’s a good way to reframe it? In a word: Leverage. Leverage means positioning something in order to gain an advantage. And in this case,  that advantage is knowing how to push against the opposition with optimum efficiency/effectiveness for growth.

A great metaphor for leverage and opposition is the human hand, which is unique in creation.  The thing that makes the hand so distinguishing is that it carries it’s own opposition, the thumb. Knowing just how, when and where to place the thumb and what kind of pressure to apply against the other fingers is why it’s so effective. In fact, without opposition the thumb becomes essentially worthless compared to what it otherwise could be.

There are obviously many kinds of opposition and the use of a single metaphor for leverage can be overly simplistic. However, I do think the 80/20 rule applies in this case and goes a long way in helping reframe our perspective of opposition.

How does your present view of opposition leverage you for growth and success…..or is it sabotaging you? What needs to change?

Please leave a comment, even it’s in opposition 🙂