Self-management wins over time management every day. Time is what it is.
Time is inelastic; we all get the same amount of it, and I think it’s too easy to blame time and not what we can control being our self-management when it comes to being time-poor.
At all levels of leadership we work within, being time-poor is one of the biggest challenges. I believe our productivity and results stem from how effectively we do or don't manage ourselves. In today's workplace, fewer people are doing more, and they are often working remotely, which can lead to working long hours at a more intense pace. This often sets an unrealistic expectation of what can be achieved, leaving so many people feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled and therefore guilty of what is not being achieved as opposed to what is.
Our success comes down to managing ourselves, what we do, when and how we do it and who we are. It also comes down to 2 key things, attention and energy, which I believe we need balance.
To lead and serve ourselves, our teams and organisations, we need to do the right things at the right time to feel fulfilled. Focusing on these two areas is imperative as they directly correlate with your perception and use of time.
I don't have time!
Why do some people do and be so much with their time versus others who complain they can’t fit anything in?
We all have different lives, priorities, motivations and things that drive us. Still, if you want to leverage your best self, I reckon you need to tap into what you are thinking about and how this affects your energy and, therefore, your level of self-management.
Self-Management = Attention & Energy
Let’s think about working from home. The day has ended, and you shut your office door and then head into the kitchen. You are still thinking about the day that was and your presentation coming up in the morning. This will affect where you focus your attention and, more importantly, how you are at home. This internal chatter is consuming your thoughts. This then flows onto your energy as we all know when our minds go into overdrive and the monkey mindset kicks in, our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental energy are affected.
Did you know your brain is split into three smaller brains; the reptilian brain, the monkey brain and the logical brain, also known as the leadership brain.
In a nutshell, the reptilian brains primary focus is to survive and if/when you are under pressure or threat, this brain kicks in that fight or flight response we all know.
Our relationship brain also referred to as the monkey brain can become easily distracted as its job is to look for a connection. This brain is the one that sometimes struggles to focus on one thing; it causes internal chatter and can be the trigger of self-doubt. We are all familiar with this one, the cheeky and distracting brain.
The Leadership brain or logical brain (neocortex) is the one that looks into the future, and its key role is to create and think about a better world and solve problems creatively. This is where I believe successful leaders operate from.
The only way we can control and direct our attention where it counts is by controlling our thoughts.
Sound easy? Not at all, I believe this is a constant battle for most people, but by being aware of the three brains, I think we can at least be consciously aware of where we are operating from.
So, take time to control the monkey brain and don’t buy into its chatter. Look into what negative inner dialogue you are hearing and flip it. What unresolved situations are you carrying around that turns the clearness of your world opaque? What is stifling your productivity?
Our thoughts are the only thing we can control, and as much as it takes time, focus and laser-like discipline, the pay-off is huge. Having what I call purposeful thoughts and being deeply self-aware can prevent the reptile brain from kicking in and triggering that fight or flight response.
When our attention is clear, open and present, our energy is directed at the right things. When this happens, we can focus on what counts at a deeper level and leverage the inelastic vortex that is time.
As always, I would love your thoughts!
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Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker; She is the author of ‘Gift Mindset®‘, ‘Limitless Leadership’, and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.
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