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Time management. The most boring phrase in the human language. Talking about it is perhaps the un-sexiest thing any of us could do, and yet it’s the framework for living a vibrant, colorful, multi-dimensional life. Time can be measured in lots of increments: days, hours, emails, breaths, smiles, experiences, possibilities. Time is really just change. Alchemy. Difference.
When we manage our time, we are managing our change.

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Recently I set up some rules for myself. I called them “Liberations” because I am fully aware that structure upon guidelines upon rules is not a healthy system for my neurotic mind. I need some room to breathe and so the Liberations were born: batching my emails every day (thank you Tim Ferriss), writing no more than 5 sentences in my emails (thank you posts that go viral on Facebook), designating specific time for work and (this is key) logging when I work overtime (thank you Becca), forcing myself to play once a day. This is just the beginning of how I’m managing my change, but already I’ve decelerated just enough to notice some unexpected, surprising, didn’t-see-that-one-comin’ benefits:

You realize your priorities are not what you think they are. When I write down all the hours I spend on all the different plates I’m balancing, all of a sudden I see what counts to me. And it’s not money, and it’s not freedom. It’s acceptance. I am a YES woman. Oh man, I can just smell the desperation in that. One of my favorite tactics for developing more of something in my life is to give it away. So you want to feel accepted? Or significant? Or loved? Give away acceptance, or affirmation, or love. And you know this really beautiful thing happens when you do that…

swimYou start to know yourself again. From filling the day up with endless tasks, and responding to critical emails ASAP, and letting work follow you to the dinner table, there comes a point where identity gets cloudy. Your desire turns into a luxury that’s not going to help you get anything DONE, so who cares? But when you have to look yourself dead in the eye and say, what do you want?, and you don’t know how to answer… that is the moment when everything changes. We take for granted that we know what we want. We don’t always. Sometimes, we’ve got to send out the search party.

didYou separate fact from fiction. And quickly. There are energy-sucking emotions and worn out stories and stale behaviors that you will allow into your space when you’re not used to setting boundaries.   You’ll let them in and they become part of what you say. I am clearly a lady who needs to edit. I write terribly long emails, and blog posts, and text messages that will give you thumb-cramps from the scrolling. All of that verbosity is always just padding around a simple truth. When you zero in on what you mean, you don’t need much to convey the point. (By the way, this is true of emails and body language.)

Time management, dull as it may be, can alchemize you back into you again. And that, is the sexiest thing there is.

What is your best time management strategy? I want to use it…
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