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.
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.
SO WHAT DOCTOR AMINA?
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. Applying a Strategic Intervention coaching tool 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. Read this blog for more on the science and practical tips for how to structure your day to make the best use of your time.
So, in moving forward on your dreams, when would NOW be a good time?
Until next week,
I’ll be opening two new coaching spots for my six month Career Transformation programme “Build a career and life you love now!” If you’re aiming high but not sure how to move forward; if you want to feel inspired and clear, combining sharp strategy with intuitive wisdom; if you want to use your talent to bring more good into the world and perhaps use your medical or professional skills differently, I’d love to hear from you! You can book a conversation here http://www.doctoramina.com/book-online or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.