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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

When would NOW be a good time? Breaking through procrastination [Wise Wednesdays]

When would NOW be a good time? Breaking through procrastination [Wise Wednesdays]


Ever thought ‘I don’t know why I procrastinated so long and didn’t do this sooner!”? You may be lost in psychological time.


Most of us misunderstand time and, therefore, misuse it. We think that by cramming more in, we’ll get more done…


You may have heard things like “time is an illusion” and brushed it aside as eccentric philosophical musings. But understanding this could free you up from a lot of frustration and boost your time management.


[Read on or join me in this week’s video at the Senate House Library. Sorry about the light, I meant to cover the light with my head but I guess it just wanted to shine! :) ]





The only reason we care about time is because we believe that we need it to get to our goals. If you’re not thinking about goals, you’re not aware of time, right? So does time really exist if you’re not thinking about doing stuff?...


Eckhart Tolle has a great way of explaining this and divides our relationship to time in three ways:


Clock time (gets you closer to your goals): This is what a clock measures and how we divide our mechanical tasks up in the material world. It takes clock time to do the dishes or type up a report. It also takes clock time to process information neurologically. A good use of clock time, alongside practical tasks, is self-reflection to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world.


Psychological time (gets you away from your goals): This is the imagined past and future. It only exists in our heads. Getting lost here robs you of clock time and ultimately of the joy of living in the now. Procrastination is the result of a conflict between your imagined past (which informs your identity and what you think you can/can’t do) and a desired future (how you want things to become). Getting lost here will take you away from your goals.


The Now: The present moment is the only real thing. It’s outside time as we think of it. Being in the Now requires that we step out of psychological time (e.g. through mindfulness practices). The joy and aliveness we are seeking in some future goal is actually available in the Now.


We can bring the joy of the Now into clock time by doing one thing at a time and bringing greater presence to the task (think of Zen masters and how they relate to the world).


A good way to distinguish between these is how you feel. Psychological time will put you on an emotional rollercoaster; clock time depends on your relationship to whatever you’re doing; the Now is where the good stuff is.




This is where Tony Robbins' koan-like question is helpful - "When would NOW be a good time?" It brings us back to the truth that the only time we have is now and brings us back to reality.


Legend in the making: Mr J, a brilliant plastic surgeon in one of the countries top hospitals, had been caught up in trying to plan for the perfect job and in conflict over the best course of action. The perfect answer eluded him and the clear professional path he was on seemed to peter out. Guiding him to question his perception of time helped him get out of psychological time and back into the present moment. Within a short period of time he was able to see the multiple opportunities available to him right now to create a fulfilling career and he got clear about his next steps.




Evidence is growing that productivity results not from working all hours of the day but from having time off and being in the Now. About 3-6 hours of clock time interspersed with plenty of time for self-reflection, play, creativity and rest is ideal. A meditation practice will enhance your mental abilities to do this. Take your meditation twice a day. Trust me, I’m a doctor.


So, in moving forward on your dreams, when would NOW be a good time?


Have a great NOW,



p.s. 3 extra things this week:

2) Help please? Share something with me about why you read Wise Wednesdays and how I can support you through writing or coaching. Just click reply. I am not an AI bot yet...:)

3) Let's meet in person! Join us at Expand Your Impact intensive (London) for a 2 hour intensive in beautiful Hampstead on Sunday, March 3rd. I rarely do things in person as the Wise Wednesdays community is so international. Come and connect with fellow leaders and changemakers in this unique opportunity to relax, dive deep into leadership challenges and be supported by people who think outside the box. If you're in London and know you want to come, book today – otherwise, we may pivot to an online version!


2.    Money: Leaders Circle on Money Uncertainty (online) – details coming soon!


3.    Relationships: Cambridge Medical Graduates Society event (London): Dealing with a Toxic Colleague. I’m excited to offer live coaching for doctors at this event for Cambridge alumni. With so much of our time spent at work, having a toxic colleague can be a major source of stress and frustration. This event will provide live coaching with practical strategies for navigating this challenging situation and maintaining your well-being. If you're a Cambridge medical graduate, you can find the details and register here.




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