Welcome back, everybody, to another episode of the G.R.I.T. – Give, Recognize, Implement, Time® podcast. I’m your host, CEO, and founder of Strive For More, Steven Nathenson. And I’m really excited to talk about today’s episode because it’s something that I feel we all go through on a daily basis, and it’s talking about time and specifically how we perceive time. And I’m going to ask you a question, do you feel like you have the time that you need, or do you typically feel like you either have too little time or too much time? And if that latter statement feels like you, that’s okay, because you’re not alone in it. Typically, we don’t see that we have just the right amount of time that we need. We typically feel like we have too little time or too much time, especially when there’s a lot for us to do.
But the thing about time is, it’s constant. It doesn’t change. The flow of time steadily moves forward, second by second. It’s our perception of it that changes and that perception influences how we feel. So, for example, we can slow down time and there’s a couple of possibilities with that. We can feel like we’re in this zone and things slow down. You start to predict what’s happening. You can clearly see what’s going to happen next. Let’s talk about, say sports for an example, whether it’s football and seeing the defenders going towards one direction, opening up your receiver to throw that touchdown pass, and you feel like you’re in this flow state. Or maybe it’s hockey and you’re driving as a forward down the ice and you can predict where those defensemen are going to go and how you’re going to deke them out, and then deke the goalie out and score.
We can slow down time and see things open up in front of us and something magical can happen. But on the flip side, we can slow down time and feel like this day is never going to end. It feels like it’s just dragging. “When am I going to get out of here? Why can’t this wrap up. Only a minute’s gone by?” When we slow down time, there really are two different ways that that can impact us. We can have that flow state or we can let it drag us down because we think that something is never going to end, it’s unbearable, and when the heck can I get out of here. Now, there’s also another possibility because we can speed up time. We can actually let it pass us by without a thought.
Whether we’re engaged in a good conversation, reading a book, or just simply caught up in the joy of whatever it is that we’re doing at the moment, time can absolutely fly by us. And we can be amazed at, “Oh, my goodness. I can’t believe it’s been two hours already. When did that happen? I’ve been having such a good time. I can’t believe it passed that quickly.” But there’s also another possibility that happens when we speed up time, and that’s when we’re running out. “I’ve got all this stuff to do and I can’t get it done. There’s not enough time in the day. I’m not going to meet this deadline. I can’t possibly get this done.” We can feel frantic, we can feel hectic, we can feel nervous, anxious, and just drained because it’s not possible.
So, again, even if we have time that passes us by, we can have both that positive feeling comes from it or that serving feeling, as I like to call it. Or of the negative, the non-service can happen as well. These are the most common ways that we perceive time. Very rarely do we actually think that we have the time that we need. And that’s what I want to dive into and talk to you about today, because we truly do have the time that we need. We can shift our perception and ultimately shift the way that we feel about it. Here’s one of the prime examples of how to do that. When we wake up in the morning, we can feel overwhelmed already by everything that we have to do that day. And if that’s the way that we wake up, we’re already going to be in a state that’s going to drain us because we’re going to have a bunch of non-serving, nervous, anxious energy that’s going to physically drain us throughout the day, both from our mental power and our physical willpower and our physical energy.
But if we start the day off in a different foot, in a different note, and we’re more calm, more and more relaxed or confident in the way that we can handle the day, then we’ve started off in a way that does not automatically bring us down throughout that day because it’s a different approach. Yeah, I’ve got 20 different things to do, but you know what? I’ve got it planned out well enough that I have the time that I need. And that’s the critical part is, how are we approaching this? Are we procrastinating, putting things off? Do we insert an element of planning in our lives that allows us to tackle things as it comes up and to handle it without the pressure? We often, in the work setting, feel like there’s so much that we’ve got to do and that’s dumped on us, that it’s not possible. There’s not enough time to do it.
And there’s legitimately a lot of things that are on people’s plates right now, and I’m not taking away from that in any way, but there’s a couple of things that come into play. What pressure am I putting on myself to achieve everything at once? What pressure do I feel other people are putting on me to do the same? And can I take back control of my time? I may be in seven hours of meetings a day, but do I really have to be. Can I block off my calender and truly hold to that? Can I use my time more wisely and servingly, and can I give myself permission to take the breaks that I need when I need it?
We can very well power through things, but if I find myself looking at the same sentence for 10 minutes and it goes nowhere, at that point, my body actually needs to step away. My mind needs to step away. I need to take that break that’s going to serve me, help me get back to this calmness, this relaxed, positive flow state, versus trying to force something that isn’t coming. Our productivity is actually linked to the mental capacity that we have in that moment. Because in this example, I can power through and try to write this sentence and maybe it takes me 20 minutes to do it, but if I step away for five minutes, I clear my head, I may come back and immediately be able to do it.
Part of what plays into not allowing us to take that break is the perception of time. “I don’t have the time to step away. I can’t take that break. I can’t get up and go for a walk. I can’t even eat. I don’t have the time to do that.” This perception does influence a lot of things, it influences the productivity, it influences things that have real-world, tangible, physical impacts, like not eating, not getting up and giving our bodies and minds the breaks that they need. One thing I’ll share with you about willpower, willpower is actually tied to our blood sugar levels. So, the less blood sugar that I have, the lower that is the lower our willpower becomes. But if I’m actually fueled properly and I maintain good nutrition throughout the day, then I’m going to be more capable of handling what I need to handle.
I’m also not going to be angry and deprived of the nutrients that I need, only physically, excuse me, but also mentally to perceive that I have enough time. So, there’s a couple commonalities here in our perception of time is if we embrace that, you know what, I have the time that I need, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And someone said this to me once, which I think really, truly rings true is, “The difference between people who are very highly successful and people who perhaps are struggling to get throughout the day, at least one of the differences is the way that they utilize their time.” And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. How do I manage my time? How do I perceive it? How efficient am I with it? And how do I let it influence me?
Because when we embrace that we have the time that we need, it shifts our mentality and allows us to actually start looking at our calendars and seeing how we can block out time, seeing how we can achieve what we need to achieve, and shift the way that we approach the day. Because if we’re always approaching it day by day, by day, we’re going to be buried constantly underneath everything that we have to do and feel like we never can get out from under it. And that actually has that detrimental effect we were talking about earlier, “I can’t take a break. I can’t possibly do this. I can’t even have a conversation with my boss to let them know I’m feeling this way, because I don’t want to be perceived that I can’t handle things.”
We take that step back and we realize that we are in control of not only how we spend our time, but how we perceive it. We can alleviate these things that we’re talking about. Time is constant. It doesn’t change, it continues to flow forward. The perception we have of time is what changes, and it’s that perception that can bring us down or allow us to be in that flow state and achieve what we want. That choice is yours. It is up to us, even when we don’t see it, of how we perceive time and how we leverage it to truly get to what we want. And when we talk about grit, give, recognize, implement time, it’s important to talk about this concept because time is literally what we need to change. We don’t change instantaneously as human beings. We don’t change overnight. We need that time to change, and when we embrace that, that’s okay and we have the time we need to change, it alleviates the tension, pressure we put on ourselves to achieve results immediately, like we’ve talked about before.
Even if it may take time to change, whether it’s stopping smoking, whether it’s changing the way that we eat, whether it’s getting back to physical activity, whatever it may be for us, we have that time. If it’s three months or six months, we have that time. We can take that time and we can get to where we want to go. But if we always leverage time as an excuse and we let that fill us with non-service thoughts and feelings, we’re not going to reach joy, where we want to go, and achieve what we want. So, my challenge to you is to think about how do you perceive time. Do you have enough time in a day or do you have too little time or too much time? And how do you let it influence you? Because you can shift it and you can be the movement in your life. Until the next time, stay safe, stay healthy. And we’ll talk soon.
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