TIME – love it or hate it. But you cannot ignore it.

Six months already gone by to 2021. How fleeting time is! If you are engrossed in something you love doing, it flies. If you are at the dentist and wary of the pain, the seconds and minutes will seem never ending.

Our relationship with time has always been at the extremes. Either we love it, or we hate it. Time, or rather, lack of it, is a favorite reason for procrastinating over a task. Is that because we do not visualise the time aspect of a task? Before we begin a task, do we even ask ourselves, how much time will we devote to it? Or is it that once it becomes clearer that we need to put aside a particular amount of time for a task, we would rather run away from it than actually complete the task? See the dilemma. One would think that clarity would lead to completion of tasks. But, it could have just the opposite effect!

When I joined my coaching learning classes in October 2020, I looked at those 64 hours of online training as a big task. It was not easy to devote myself to this new subject in the evenings post office hours.  My brain was already exhausted from a day full of zoom calls and meetings. How was I to ever bring myself to sit for another 3-4 hours with a motely group of people with whom I had no common ground?

Yet, when I attended and participated, I noticed a profound change – I started looking forward to the sessions. I would diligently do my reading and practices. I realised I had discovered a new passion. Today, as I write this, I am already on my way to apply for my International accreditation. Imagine if I had not even ventured into it!

I realised because I had discovered a new passion, I had made the time for it! My weekends, my after-office hours were devoted to nurturing my new love. Lo and behold, time got created! My relationship with my coaching changed my perspective about time.

For many, the pandemic has bought them closer to their own self. The picking up of new hobbies or devoting time to self-care has its genesis in finding and creating time to do something that resonates with one’s deepest values.

Imagine if at work we were to change our perspective and relationship with time. What if instead of looking at a chore with ‘Oh, I do not have the time for it’, we change our perspective to, ‘This can be done’. And, of course, it will be done. However, at the deeper level, the task has to be aligned with what one wishes to do and desires to excel at.

The cross purposes with time occur when one is thrown into tasks that one just cannot relate with. Managers ought to be sensitive to harness the strengths of their team members so that work can be accomplished on time. At an individual level when we are assigned a task and find ourself squirming to even start it, it is perhaps time to do a few things.

First – pause and ask whether this is what gives you joy.

Second – if the answer to the first question is in the negative, find something positive in the task that will give you joy (there will always be something!) and have the courage to talk to your manager and share your thoughts.

Third – identify an energising outcome. Something that sounds enthusiastic and changes the energy level around the task.

Fourth – find an ally! Find someone who can work with you on a particular task that sounds so boring, mundane and/or difficult for you. Think through solutions together.

If you change your perspective about time, you can change yourself. Go, find that time.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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