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Time flies when your having….

“The bad news is time flies, the good news is you’re the pilot.”

365 days a year, 24 hours in a day and nearly 20% of us are usually late for an appointment! I’m an optimistic person and usually try to squeeze too much into my day and overcommit my time, but id credit my younger sporting years for actually giving me a concept of structured time and the disciplinary acts that followed if I didn’t turn up on time!

Some key pointers I’ve learnt over my athletic years include;

Planning the night before: Every evening before I got to bed, I religiously use notes on my iphone to get down everything I need to do the next day. Firstly, this helps us sleep and we can unload our minds of details and focusing on just sleeping, with no worries about forgetting something. I have also recently been introduced to an app called TO-DOist. A simple app that allows you to plan a schedule, with repeated sessions, moveable tasks, and a priority colour scale. You can also add others to the list or task to help manage the load and create good lines of communication.
 
Flexible planning: I order my schedule and learnt to give myself 5 minutes extra for most tasks; breakfast- 30-40mins, getting ready for work 25-30 mins, drive to work 10mins (+10mins?). The key word here is flexibleplanning, there are things I don’t manage to squeeze into my day and they simple flow over to the next day. Allow adequate time on your list to get from one thing to the next, and don’t create a tight inflexible plan where you can.  

Prioritisation: This sounds simple but we rarely do it, as an athlete I learnt especially this year to put my training and recovery before all the other things I wanted to do. 1stand 2nd level goals, priority this year was athletic performance over my academic and personal careers. Therefore I actually said NO to things that would take my attention away from my sessions, and planned ‘recovery sessions’. These simply involved napping, reading or Netflix, nothing that would strain my legs or mental capacity- as I needed both to be optimal each and every session. Scheduled Netflix sessions! Dreamy! But in your weekly planning- I firmly believe in planning‘downtime’ time for you, away from stressors and demands.

Adaptability: I only  learnt this skill, in the past 18 months. I used to love a solid plan, know exactly what I was going to do, and all the details. This gives us a sense of control, and understanding. However, it can also lead to expectation and disappointment when things don’t happen as we thought. Unrealistic expectations in our minds, therefore I believe we need to learn to embrace adaptability and going with the flow. I’m rarely disappointed or let down by a person or situation anymore as I am happy for plans and things to change- it doesn’t mean it will be bad, just different to planned.  

 

Self-discipline: Have you ever been busy doing something or enjoying yourself knowing that you have an early morning or another appointment planned in an hour? To then just overcommit and think I’ll worry about it later? Yes. We constantly seek to ‘stay in the moment’ when things are going well or making us happy but we can control our impulses to maximise our time and efficiency. Similarly, this can work for people who don’t allow enough time to socialise and let go.

 

Self-boundaries: I am surrounded by some of the kindest most helpful people I know! These people suffer the most- they overcommit! They want to help everyone and do as much as they possibly can- at their own detriment. Learn when to say NO or have simple honesty that your overstretched right now- people do understand. Miscommunication often leads us to flexing our boundaries. You and your priorities come first- you can’t fill someone else’s cup if your cup is empty.  

• Delegation skills: This is your inner circle! Learn that it’s okay to ask for help. I regularly say that I am the athlete and I execute the race, but there are so many people who help get me prepared. I execute the race, but the engine is built by my coach, the components are built by my S&C coach, and looked after by my physio, the nutritionist fills and fuels my body, and the psychologist controls the thought dynamics- I couldn’t begin to control everything, and I’m not a specialist in these areas, so we can delegate certain things to others who have the necessary skill set.

There’s a classic saying ‘to be on time is to be late.’ I agree our world runs on systematic timing, trains and planes have a schedule, our work has a schedule, our gym programmes have sets and reps, our daily lives revolve around ‘being on time’.  There is also a scale of disaster correlated with time, to be late for a cinema showing or an extra 30 seconds boiling an egg- it doesn’t affect our life too much, but being even 30seconds late for a plane journey, clinicians appointment, or your first born child being born - there a greater consequences to not being on time. Many people learn the hard way and its costly to them- and they are never late again! It’s a tough habit to break and recreate but if time management is a sticking point for you, give some of the above points a go and see what positive changes you can make.

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