Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Escape From The Time Trap!

Escape From The Time Trap sounds like a work of fiction, but it's a movie or book that we have all starred in. There is no shortage of advice online to combat time traps (try Lifehacker and 43 Folders) - plus it's also the name of a 1972 time management book, The Time Trap. The key seems to be first realizing that you are the star of this story and that you need to escape from an overused plot! Every time you hear yourself say...

"When I have enough money..."

"When the kids are done school..."

"Someday I will..."

And ESPECIALLY if you say

"When the time is right..."

...you are stuck starring in Escape From The Time Trap. Trust me, there will never be a 'right' time to get started or get finished your creative project. There will only be the time you have not spent working on it. Also playing a role in Escape From The Time Trap are these antagonists cleverly disguised as:

"I'm not good enough..."

Trust me, you are good enough! It's hard to overcome fear (and fear of rejection) but feedback will only help you learn and grow. Mistakes are the fertilizer for success. Weird, but true. The road to success may look like a straight path, but really it's a twisty turny one. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will support you in your growth, and never those that will try to bring you down. The time for being "good enough" is now.

"I don't have the time..."

I was one of those people once. "Eh, I don't have time to go to the gym. I don't have time to read anymore. I'd like to be a writer, but I don't have the time." One will never Escape From The Time Trap with those kinds of excuses. The hard truths are:

You don't have time because you prioritized something else over your creative output.

and

If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.

Now, surely, no one would ask you to de-prioritize important things such as bills, family or things that make you happy or are truly important to you. But if you find yourself lacking time, keep a time journal and see where your time is going. Are there things you do out of a sense of obligation or because you've always done it? Are you passively consuming media when you could be actively creating your own? Are you giving your time away too freely to others? Have a hard time saying no (especially if you are a people pleaser)? Spending too much time on Facebook? Heh, even I will confess to playing an hour of Bejewelled when I should have been creating :-D Find out where your time is going and learn to manage it better.

Lastly, it's possible to be stuck in the most vexing maze of all - procrastination. I am a recovering procrastinator and here to tell you that you can break this habit. Pick up a copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen (now!). It will change your life, even if you only practice a few of the simple habits. This book is a life preserver in a sea of tasks and priorities. My favourite habit is the "Two Minute Rule" which goes:

Can I get this thing done in two minutes or less? If “yes”, do it right now.

What do you think? Does any of this sound familiar? Helpful? Can you be the hero of Escape From The Time Trap?