If you’ve ever worked with a mentor you’ve likely experienced one of those moments where you find clarity that changes your perspective in the blink of an eye. For me it was one of those moments where I faced something I was making harder than it needed to be. What has happened since is nothing short of transformational.
I was in this rut of feeling like what I was doing wasn’t working. Like many of my clients I had found myself feeling like “I was so busy” or “I don’t have time”. This is such an easy place to find yourself in!
I believe that time management is kind of like cleaning out your pantry, you pull everything out, give the space a cleaning and then start putting things back in based on their importance to you. What I found was that there was one big area of my life that was taking WAY more time than I recognized and in the end wasn’t serving me.
Why was this important to me?
As a mom, wife, business owner I always have a full plate. My days are are a collage of connecting with my adult kids, stealing away for some couple time, finding time with the amazing women I am lucky to call friends, connecting with my clients and those precious moments of stillness on my mat. At the end of the day, it is when I have some balance and focus on what matters to me that I am the happiest.
The answer has been there all along
I’ve been a technology girl for as long as I can remember. As a young kid I remember the our first computer, this clunky box of floppy drives that were bigger than the screen you squinted to see. It soon became part of our lives, each Saturday morning my dad would get me to make a spreadsheet to budget my allowance. My friends would be anxiously waiting as I typed in calculation after calculation. Two things came from this, the first was an advanced knowledge of Excel, the second was a pattern of using technology before… before fun, before a book… just before.
Why is this important? Well as I said I had to clean out my pantry. My pantry was my outlook calendar. In all it’s color coded, over analyzed over filled beauty what seemed to be a well designed organization tool had actually become a hindrance and was more un-helpful than it was helpful. This was really hard to see for me… I have relied on using technology first for as long as I can remember and to question was… overwhelming.
Looking at technology in a new way
My mentor Robyn said something to me recently that really connected all the dots for me. She suggested looking at the things I use as an employee. Can I look at my calendar as an employee that works for me instead of something that literally tells me what to do? WOW! This really blew my mind!
In my career the thing I have done most? Lead and empower the people on my team. Helping them both recognize their strengths while also helping to make opportunities work for you not against you.
My opportunity? UNPLUG!
When I began to look at how much I used technology I found some unsettling realities. I was basically literally plugged in! So over the past month I’ve been focused on taking back my time back from technology. It has been a journey of struggle, intense emotions, self awareness and in the end freedom!
Taking time from things that don’t honor my intentions, values and goals, like Facebook was very difficult at first. I felt disconnected and missing things in the lives of friends. I also felt out of the loop in my community, like missing the Humboldt jersey day. Then one day I started to notice what I was gaining. There was MORE… more impromptu tea time, more in person and less email, more family time and more recognition of all I do accomplish. There was also less… less overscheduling, less feeling like I didn’t have time for the things I love, less feeling buried by that color coded calendar I used to feel so much pride in.
Tips to help you
- Use technology where it is helpful. Unplugging isn’t about removing, it’s recognizing where our technology makes our lives easier and saves us time for what matters.
- Question what your technology doesn’t provide. For me it was realizing that I couldn’t see the big picture and I definitely didn’t get to see all I’ve accomplished. By taking my to do list to paper I could easily celebrate all I did do instead of looking at the “reminders” of all I have left to do. I also have a clear vision of all that’s on my plate helping me to be realistic with what I’m able to do.
- Let technology help. This may sound a bit counter intuitive to use technology to put down technology. But that is what technology is actually for, to be helpful so I’m making this new app work for me. It’s called “OFFTIME”, it helps me see my usage, set goals, turn my technology off and focus. Find out more here.
- Do a little clean out. Unsubscribe from things you don’t read, remove apps you don’t use and adjust what is constantly “notifying” you.
- Be gentle. As always facing our own patterns can be an easy way to judge and feel bad. Instead allow awareness to be an opportunity to ask this question. What’s one thing I could do for myself now that I know…?
Do you have a tip to share? Tell us about it in the comments.