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Do You Have a Toxic Relationship With Time?

Are you blaming time for everything that's unaccomplished in your life? Here are 3 major steps to repair your most important and often overlooked relationship.

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toxic time management

Do you feel rushed, stressed, and wishing you had more time?

Do you feel like you’re fighting against time and under constant time pressure?

Do you blame time when you can’t get things done?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you have a toxic relationship with time.

Our lives are filled with many important relationships: spouses, partners, sons, daughters, co-workers, and best friends. All of them require one thing from us to flourish: Time.

But did you know that time is also a relationship? It is possibly our most important relationship both personally and professionally, and it often goes completely overlooked.

“Time is not a Thing – It’s a Relationship” 

Steven Griffith

Time is the essence of life — it is everything you will do, get, or become. Unfortunately, if you are like most people today, you feel like there’s more and more to do with less and less time.

How important is your time? The Pew Research Center surveyed middle-class Americans about their number-one priority. In response, the vast majority, 68 percent of people, ranked having free time most important over everything else in life.

Having free time is absolutely important but having your best possible relationship with time is just as important. 

When we feel stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed by our modern lifestyles and work environments, one of the first thing we blame is time. A lack of time is today’s leading excuse for why we don’t have the happiness and success we strive for in life.

Think about it. Why are you not going to the gym? Not dating to find the one? Not enjoying a vacation? Not volunteering? Not growing your business? Not spending enough time with your friends and family? The list goes on and on … and we blame TIME for it all.

In reality, creating a positive, supportive, and healthy relationship with TIME is the number-one key to having a healthy relationship with yourself, with your career and purpose, and with the people and things that matter the most to you. 

The 3 Steps to Repair Your Most Important Relationship

STEP 1: Declare a Truce with Time

“When you change the way you look at things, what you look at changes.”

-Wayne Dyer

You need to see your relationship in a new, positive light.

Society has hypnotized us and led us to believe that it is Time’s fault that we aren’t accomplishing our goals.

How often do you find yourself saying or thinking one of the following: 

  • “If my schedule allows.” 
  • “Where will I find the time?”
  • “I never have enough time.” 
  • “Where did the time go?” 
  • “When I get the time.” 
  • “If time allows.” 

But who really “allows” you to do things? It’s not TIME. It’s YOU!

The truth is that your time comes from you. You are not separate from it — you are it. It is a part of you, a natural gift of your life, an infinitely valuable resource here for you to become the best version of yourself.

Until you recognize that you are the source of your time, and that your use of your time is all up to you, your relationship will be toxic and dysfunctional. 

Time doesn’t use itself. You have to direct it. You have to choose where you use it.

When you stop fighting with time, you get your energy back, you flow in your day, and new opportunities naturally present themselves to you.  Time becomes your ally and friend. It is in your corner to support you. 

Make the decision once and for all to recognize that time is here for you and is on your side to help you be your best. We all get the same amount. What you do with it is up to you!

STEP 2: Be Present in the Moment

Being fully present in the moment is the second key to transforming your relationship with time. It allows you to maximize your productivity, experience moments to their fullest, and have the meaningful experiences that make life worth living.

When you take a moment to pause and “be here now,” your life becomes more enriched, inspired, and relevant. Your creativity, thoughts, and highest state of productivity become connected to the things that matter most in your life.

So often we are not truly present, and we miss important moments. You can’t get those moments back. There are no do-overs. It’s never really a question of if we have enough time, it’s all about prioritizing what matters, and that starts with the present moment.

Listen to this example: If you come home from work and your child asks to play, you may say “No, I don’t have time — I’m busy with a work project. I can’t right now.” But if your child came to you and had a broken arm, you’d stop working immediately and rush them to the hospital without hesitation.

When you compare those two situations, you realize it wasn’t really a lack of time that was to blame in the first situation. It’s the priorities at the moment that determine the action. We will always make time when something is a top priority.

What is your number-one priority? Have you paused to think about it?

The next time you feel distracted or overwhelmed by time pressure, get present in the moment and ask yourself, “What are my most important priorities in my life for today, this month, and this year?”

Continue to check in with yourself by coming back to the present moment throughout the day to make sure you are actually on task and on course to accomplish your goals.

STEP 3: Protect Your Time!

The relationships that matter are worth fighting for. Time is no different.

Time is your most valuable, precious, and limited resource; yet we make the mistake of throwing it away, not protecting it, and allowing it to be taken from us, many times without realizing it and without even putting up a fight.

It’s up to us to start protecting it.

To protect your time, simply say “NO” to the things that are toxic and distracting from your priorities and purpose.

To know if an activity is toxic, just ask, “Is what I’m about to do contributing or contaminating to my life and goals?”

It’s easy to fill your schedule with little things that are “seemingly” urgent. But never let the urgent get in the way of the important.

Distractions are around us now 24/7 — our cell phones, emails, and endless news and social media streams, all trying to distract us from what we need to do.

Say NO more often to these time toxins and replace them with activities that bring you closer to what matters most to you.  

Remember, time is your most valuable relationship.

It’s your time.

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