Being split by time is not fun. It is a form of being ruled by time. Unless you step back and really look at the situation, it usually doesn’t feel as if you are having a struggle with time. At least not right away.
Instead, you feel bogged down, tired, and frustrated. The problem with being split by time and then realizing it is that the knee-jerk reaction is to stop doing something altogether.
If you do this you may miss a really good opportunity to make things work. For example, if I had outright quit my job at Costco, there is no way that I would be doing what I’m doing now. There is no way that I would have had the success I’ve had in this new chapter of my life. There is no way that my relationship with time would be the healthiest that it’s ever been.
If you feel split by time, consider the following three variables:
Take a long look at what your current situation and think about where you want to be. This will mean reviewing what has happened in the past. Think about what you’d like to see happen over the short and long-term. Be realistic and prepare for the lowest common denominator.
For example, I was ghostwriting a lot before I took Productivityist to the next level in early 2014. In fact, I kept ghostwriting up until the middle of 2014 to give myself enough of a financial buffer in case things didn’t go as I had envisioned.
Finances will always be a big concern. They will always be a reason that you don’t jump forward doing something that is too risky. The key is to get all of this information out of your head. Put it in front of yourself so that you can look back and look forward before you make a decision.
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to spend your time on, more than anything else, you need to plan accordingly. There is no point in strategizing before analyzing because you will still have remnants of doubt and hyperbole rather than the knowledge you have cut off all other options.
You will be able to strategize better when you have as much information as possible in front of you. This will allow you to formulate a plan that you can adjust when needed.
And don’t just develop strategies for today. Develop them for next week, next month, next year, and beyond. If you go forward without a plan in any specific direction, you’ll find yourself moving madly in all directions.
Now you need to have one specific trigger that sets your plan into motion. When I decided to quit working at Costco, I knew the catalyst for change would be when I visited my warehouse manager to give notice. I did not go to my direct supervisor – I went straight to the top. The impact this created was far greater than simply writing a note and handing it off to someone with less authority. This wasn’t a slight to my supervisor – I did let him know shortly thereafter – but I wanted to make a statement not to the company but myself.
I needed to know that this was a final decision. I needed to create a catalyst that would spur me forward. There was simply no turning back. I needed to show myself that I was focused, driven, and full of resolve. So when you finally are ready to make a move, make the first move a big one. After over 11 years at Costco, I walked out those giant doors as an employee for the last time in early 2006. The company had given me so many great gifts over the years, including the ability to move across the country and set off a series of events in my life that would lead me to an amazing family, a fulfilling career, and much more. My time at Costco also helped me repair my relationship with myself and improved my relationship with time.
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” M. Scott Peck
But like any relationship, the one I have (and you have) with time always needs work. Hard work. The above quote is from the author of The Road Less Traveled, which is a book I highly recommend. Until I left Costco, I had walked along a well-worn path. I started to add new elements to my life, like performing comedy. But there were still parts of that road that were easy. And I needed them to be.