Time Chunking: optimize your time = reduced stress

Time as an asset is a topic I’ve addressed in a previous blog post. I’m stressing the topic again today because time is not only our biggest asset, but our biggest stresser.

Many of us today are fighting time, wasting time and craving time and resenting time. I meet many people in career transition, who sudden have more time than they know what to do with, but are squandering this gift of time feeling depressed, uncertain, angry and often lost in the sea of others like them, yet feeling very isolated at the end of each day.

Over the past few years I have had to alter my usage and application of time, due to a variety of priorities, including health, career, finances and family. I don’t believe I am any different than anyone else when I claim that there feels to be a shortage of time, leaving me often more stressed than when I set out with good intentions.

What better time is there than this very moment to reposition the mind into appreciating this gift of time in this space called Now and carve out positive results? One of Calgary’s top career coaches, Carmen Goss, boldly says to her clients “We can always start again, no matter where we are in our career.” What she means is that we all have the power to change, and we can do this inside any given second if we choose to apply organization, goals and some soul searching.

I’ve recently been introduced to a helpful resource: www.TheUrbanMonk.com For those of us whose noisy minds interfere with quality output, this web site is an island sanctuary accessible to you when you are ready to make the changes needed to improve your health, your lifestyle and coordinate your time more effectively.

A practice I have adopted from the Urban Monk is “Time Chunking.” I’m doing it right now. The object of time chunking is to create segments throughout the day whereby you can maximize your time with minimal distractions and accomplish more (or all) of your task commitments. It takes some personal resolve to close off the distractions, but this method becomes a gift of accomplishment and a feeling of gratitude that you grant yourself.

I like the Urban Monk’s analogy of time as a computer desktop with 15 windows open simultaneously. We apply a small amount of time to the various tasks (we call this multi-tasking), with the intent of managing them all and hoping to achieve completion by the end of the time period (let’s say the end of a workday). Often by the end of the day, several windows are neither touched at all, nor completed as we’d hoped. The results are frustration, stress and an active mind throughout the course of the evening ahead, as we realize these matters must be addressed again the next day. The stress snowball grows, the time constraints tighten. Before long, we are working through our weekends where we had initially planned to take some ‘time off’ but no longer can.

Time chunking is a discipline to close out the less important windows and carve out a segment of focused and undistracted time to get that single task completed fully before moving onto the next task. For example, if I know it usually takes me an hour to write a blog post and I’m already three days behind when I wanted to publish it, this will be my first priority time chunk. I shut off my phone, schedule it into my calendar, if needed, do not check emails and take only minor breaks for water, stretches, etc. If I’m feeling super motivated and my creativity is flowing freely, I might expand my time chunk and get three blogs done in advance and be three weeks ahead.

 

Please share your thoughts and time saving tips with me and my readers. I believe we can all improve how we use and apply our biggest asset in life: time.

 

Best,

Liane

No Right on Red

Here’s my micro examination on change:

So, what happens when for your entire life as a certified Class Six (Alberta) driver, you have driven through life turning right on a red. Should there have been occasional moments where you were questioned of your inappropriate behaviour and plead innocent due to the ‘foreign factor.’ A classic example is Arizona, where you can perform a pristine U-ball at a controlled intersection …AND turn right on a red!

When does turning right on a red become a liability, or worse: an infraction of the law?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in Montreal and have come to realize how the many movements, actions, efforts and processes we have performed for so long have come to embed in ourselves as ‘natural’ and are really just a hair away from illegal in some places (other than home).

Here in Montreal, turning right on a red light is indisputably illegal! …..IF (and only IF), you are on the Island of Montreal: outside of the island, you can turn right on red–toujours! Considering the great number of bridges and subsequent islands and causeways in this metropolis, it’s almost a comical factor to consider when one is truly trying to obey the law in Quebec, or just being ‘stupide.’

As a Newby to this environment–culturally, mentally, politically ..yadayada– it’s a bit of an adjustment, to say the least. I’ve been a Calgarian for much more than two decades and please don’t think that I think that Calgary is the centre du monde because it is not (unless you are stuck thick in O&G and then it must be), but transitioning into a space inside a law, a politic and a culture are causing me to brake when I feel I should be in the flow.

Onward,

Liane