Time and your career – Why does your relationship with time matter so much?
The first half of 2020 has been a time unlike any other most of us can remember. It has precipitated radical differences in our everyday lives in both a practical and emotional sense.
There are many who were planning their next career move or found themselves precipitated into job search by company restructures in the months before we entered the Great Pause. Working with some of these people in the past few months has increased my conviction that the way we think and feel about time is vitally important in coping with challenge and change, particularly in relation to our working lives.
‘I’ve got so much to do and just not enough time to do it in’
‘Time is moving so slowly it feels like I’ve been put on pause’
‘Life is passing me by and I’m running out of time”
These are three statements made to me in recent weeks.
Do any of them strike a chord with you?
Our beliefs about time and what we tell ourselves about it on a regular basis make a radical difference to our day to day experience. At last we are moving forward and navigating our way into the new normal, there are fresh opportunities out there and it’s a great time for creative rethinking. Understanding your relationship with time can act as a catalyst to positive action, helping you re-energise your career plans, galvanise your jobsearch and make strong decisions about the future.
When you start to observe what you’re saying to others about time and the recurring thoughts about it in your head, you’ll realise what’s going on in your current relationship with it. You’ll also be reminded of your long-term relationship with time, the things that worry and annoy you most about it and what you’d like to change about your time management and behaviour.
There are a number of powerful and effective tools and techniques that can help in understanding and managing time better. Here is one example.
Know your Time Mind
People really do perceive time very differently. We fall into two broad categories in our time thinking ‘Through Time’ and ‘In Time’.
How do you know which you are?
Meet Emma. She is a ‘Through Time’ person. Emma is always conscious of what’s coming up next and ready to finish a meeting on the dot so she can get to her next appointment on time. When Emma says she’ll be home at 6pm her partner can be sure her car will park in the drive exactly then. And woe betide anyone who is a few minutes late to meet her, she’ll be tapping her foot and looking at her watch! Sound familiar?
If you are like Emma, your perception of time, or your timeline, is like a calendar spread out in front of you. You tend to consider things analytically, disassociated from your memories and experiences.
Emma’s colleague Mark is an ‘In Time’ person. Mark gets deeply absorbed in whatever work or activity he is involved in and can lose track of time. He doesn’t have that internal clock ticking away like Emma. He will suddenly realise he should be at a meeting and has just 5 minutes to get there. He is relaxed about time-keeping, if you are a bit late to meet him, he won’t mind. He may well be a bit late too!
If you are like Mark, it is as if you are standing on your timeline or as if time is passing through your body. You find it easy to live in the moment and go with the flow, be fully engaged in your experiences and relive memories in an associated way.
Knowing your natural Time Mind is of real value if you are going for promotion, searching for a new role, moving from employment to freelance or starting a business. It will help you maximise your use of time. Remember that whatever your natural pattern you are in control and can learn how to be more time flexible.
If you are a ‘Through Time’ person this may be about learning to be more relaxed about time and being able to switch off enough to get fully absorbed in creative thinking about your future career. If you are an ‘In Time’ person it might be learning how to mentally step off your timeline to help you assess the stages that need to be planned and achieved to make your job search or your business plan most effective.
Our Time Minds are part of our natural individuality, with no ‘right’ and ‘wrong. Understand the differences between you and others and be willing to be flexible in your thinking and behaviour to accommodate this. This adaptability will help you to be perceived as a good leader, team member and colleague
If you would like to know more about discovering and managing your Time Mind and other strategies for optimising time through your career/professional challenges, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org