Natural Time Management: Part 1

by Milissa on October 23, 2011

in Creativity,Health,Time Management

Life gets so very busy, doesn’t it? Even for those of us who are trying to simplify our lives, with all the electronic media we use to stay current, keep in touch and find value, we are nearly always ON.

I’ve experimented for years with balancing structured do-ing time with fluid be-ing time. And the challenge for me has been switching back and forth, from being to doing. When in being mode all I want to do is Savasana, mindful walks outside, reading, relaxing with my husband and dog. Those personal mini-retreats are great for a day or two, and there are also things I want to accomplish. I’m wired to write essays and books, share insights from my inner time with yoga students and coaching clients, assist family members who need a hand and contribute to the community. But how to do it all without losing touch with my calm center?

How can I bring balance into every day, finding time to get done what I’m lit up about, and still get time to rest, recharge and integrate so I don’t burn out? I’ve often wondered. Flipping between two poles—working my butt off and collapsing in a heap—was how I’d shown up most of my life.

When I finally found a way to honor my natural inner rhythms I experienced joy in my active pursuits and guilt-free periods to just BE. I admit, part of the struggle I’d been in for years was feeling “I should be doing something else,” instead of really being in the moment, as I espouse as a mindful yoga teacher.

Today, on the one year anniversary of my blog, I’d love to share a few strategies that have been life-changers for me. I call these Natural Time Management (that natural, personalized element is essential for me, because I rebel against externally imposed structures).

First, I looked at what part of the day I naturally felt most inspired, energized, tuned in. That would be the perfect time to get on the computer and express myself in words. Something I absolutely love to do, and that does come naturally to me, but that I wasn’t getting time for with all my to-do lists and my need for rest. A thousand pranams (bows) to Alice Barry of Entertaining the Idea who coached me on this, because, instead of frittering away that potent creative time, I now block it out on my calendar, look forward to it and show up—every time!

But there was another issue—the flip side. Like I said, it’s the switching from doing to being, and vice versa, that’s been my greatest challenge with time management. So my pattern was if I started writing I would keep going until my eyes were bleary, my shoulders up around my ears and my low back aching. At that point, my mind would also be growing foggy, so that I wasn’t even able to make sound word choices, track a train of thought, or make important edits. Even though I was losing effectiveness, I couldn’t pull myself away, wanting to get more and more done. I’d even forget to eat, and to feed the dog.

How would I ever learn to modulate between focused action and relaxation?

Well, ask and you shall receive, right? I signed up for an online coaching course and learned an incredible tool from Kris Ward of Abundant Yogi (she learned it from Eben Pagan). It’s called 60-60-30. This time management strategy is based on the human body’s Ultradian Rhythms. We’re wired to focus exclusively on one task for 90 to 120 minutes, after which the brain and nervous system need a break. So, in a nutshell here’s what I do:

• Select one project to work on and set a timer for 50 minutes.

• Work exclusively on this project until the timer goes off. (I love the Howler app, which starts with crows and ends with a wolf howling. Often I’m so focused I wonder how those birds got in the house when it starts to go off!)

• Reset the timer for 10 minutes and do nothing. Uh huh, really! It’s best not to check email or read or anything that requires thought. Just sitting is good. Or walking out to the backyard. If you really need to you can throw in a load of wash.

• Reset the timer for 50 minutes and return to the same activity you started earlier, while drinking a big glass of water. I like to add green powder and lemon.

• Then take a 30 minute break and eat a nourishing meal.

You can schedule as many 60-60-30′s as you’d like per day. It’s amazing how much you can get done, while enjoying the process and becoming more energized instead of drained.

Let me know what you think below…I always love to hear from you!

In honor of the 1 Year Anniversary of this blog I’d like to ask you to do me the honor of sharing it with others. If you enjoy reading my weekly insights would you please post this on Facebook, email the link to a friend or Tweet about it? Your presence, your participation in the conversation and your co-creation of this online community are very, very much appreciated. XXOO

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