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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

How to let go of constant urgency: time management for humans [Wise Wednesdays]

I’ve bought a few more books than usual over pandemic.

I’d like to recommend one in particular because it digs deep into a common limiting belief:

“I don’t have time (to do what I want)”.

It’s an insidious belief because it’s so ingrained and quietly leads to:

1) A constant sense of urgency and stress.

2) Sacrificing the important things that seem less “urgent” only to realise life is passing by and the right moment to do what you want never comes.

3) Overlooking important details in relationships and work that have a cumulative cost down the line.

But you can start saving yourself the stress and time if you give yourself permission to experiment with new beliefs and see that:

1) You have just the right amount of time

2) You don’t have to do or fix everything

3) The more time you make for the important things, the more time you have. Life starts feeling timeless and self-organising which takes unnecessary weight off your shoulders.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman identifies the crux of the issue by exposing the internalised cultural assumptions around time that drive us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

The book makes a clear case for why you shouldn’t buy into the productivity industry’s hype that with the right hack, tool or morning routine you can fit an inhuman amount of activity into your day. It explores what a healthier relationship with time might be.

I may be a little partial because he wrote a wonderful endorsement for The Success Trap (the book I wrote last year). On the other hand, his message must have struck a chord because the book has just become a New York Times bestseller.

You could say that the antidote to feeling constantly under pressure is simple and can be applied instantly. You may have heard me say it before:

There’s no such thing as time management. It’s choice management.

Or as the Zen proverb goes: meditate an hour a day. If you don’t have time, meditate two hours a day. You don’t have to do it literally, of course. The principle is that by slowing down you become more efficient. Why? Because your mind is clearer and your decisions are better.

I know it may be easier said than done. Understanding something intellectually is not enough for behaviour change.

Working on limiting beliefs is a process but an excellent investment of your time if you find any mismatch between your intentions and actions because you “don’t have time”. As one member of Presence Power Possibility exclaimed: it saved me nine years!

I’d say that if you read the book (or any book), notice where you react strongly and check in to see if the book is challenging an old belief that no longer serves you (try the HAPI process to help -

And if you want some support, reach out. Share with me which limiting belief you’re ready to let go of. I’m offline next week but will respond on my return.

p.s.The next Leaders Circle is on November 10th and will be on Embracing the New Freedom and making the most of opportunities in the post-Covid world without overwhelm. Join me if you're excited about new possibilities but want to stay grounded and focus on the RIGHT opportunities as well as let go of limiting beliefs around being more entrepreneurial and independent. Info and tickets here

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