Soft Time, Flow Time, Lost Time.

Wednesday October 30, 2013

How many time-management books have you read? How many time-management courses have you been on? Did they help? Probably not.

You see, the problem is that time cannot be managed. It just gets on quite nicely ticking away at a steady rate without us doing anything whatsoever. There is the same one thousand four hundred and forty minutes in each day whether we do anything to try to manage it or not.

It is we who need managing, not time.

And what generally happens is that we overload ourselves with tasks and schedules, try to do too much, fail to get it all done and then, instead of congratulating ourselves on what we've actually achieved, we beat ourselves up for what remains undone.

Does that sound familiar? Last Saturday's post dealt with a similar theme. It's a regular pattern for many of us.

One of my friends recently introduced me to a new concept; the idea of soft time and flow time. Soft time is time spent doing that which empowers us. For some people it's time spent outdoors, or in some kind of sport or physical activity. For me it's the precision and creativity of my card-making. Some people like to bake, or paint, or hang out with family or friends. The point is that this is recharging time.

Recharging or energising the batteries means that chores or work gets done in "flow time" where everything seems easier. We accomplish more without stress.

The problem arises when we attempt to do too much – we fall out of flow time and become increasingly unproductive and end up in "lost time". Lost time is time spent mindlessly watching TV, scanning through Facebook (wondering why everyone has a much better life than we do), reading magazines that contribute nothing to us. Each of us has their own "lost time" activity, just as we have our own "soft time" activity.

When I spend an hour creating beautiful greetings cards that will bring pleasure to the recipient this feeds something in me. If I spend that same time on Facebook (I think I'm defined as a "lurker") that hour drains me.

It's the same hour. I just need to get out that paper, ribbon and card and get creating.

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