Almost six years ago on a beautiful spring day in April, I checked myself into the hospital, certain I was having a heart attack. I was stressed, maxed, exhausted, and BEHIND. And I was hounded by my time management failure:
At the time I was an educational consultant, working in urban schools to help them make sustainable change. It was important work, and I really wanted to do it well.
But despite my genuine commitment, I found myself trapped on the productivity Merry-Go-Round of Doom; endlessly cycling between burnout and procrastination. As the pace picked up in the spring, I would work until I dropped: not eating, not resting, not exercising, and certainly not enjoying my life.
When the pace pulled back in the summer, I found that I couldn’t do anything beyond the bare minimum. I would set goals designed to get me ahead of the curve but just stared at the wall instead.
Was I living the life I wanted to live? Was I spending my time on things I cared about? Or was I mindlessly doing what I was told; guided by things like guilt, worry, and obligation instead of passion, intention, and commitment?
It was that last one.
In that moment, I realized that if I was going to have a life worth living, things were going to have to change. I started by obsessively researching traditional time management tools, building expertise in systems like “Getting Things Done,” Kanban, Pomodoro, and time blocking. I learned some very effective tactics, many of which I still use today. I became more and more efficient, moving through tasks, meeting deadlines, and beginning to carve out bits and pieces of time for my mental and physical health.
And yet…though I was doing a much better job of cycling through to-dos at work, I was getting no closer to what really mattered to me.
And while we are on the subject…what did matter to me?
Just to be clear, this experience is not uniquely mine. This is most of us. Whether we are running a business, building a practice, climbing the corporate ladder, or creating a family life that feels authentic and nurturing:
Despite all of the work I had done to maximize my time, this piece just wasn’t changing. This is when I realized that ordinary time management is severely limited because it is premised on three false assumptions:
Let’s revisit each of them:
I made a ton of progress using ordinary time management methods to become more efficient, develop systems and supports for progress, and get organized. And I’ve brought that full skillset to the Aligned Time Journal.
But it wasn’t until I started using the Aligned Time Journal to align my time to my priorities, say no to a ton of commitments, and handle my own beliefs about what I “had” to do, who I was “supposed” to be, and what I “should” prioritize that my life really turned around.
The Aligned Time Journal will help you do the same thing. It will change the way you approach goal setting by aligning your time to your goals and letting go of “The Rest of It.” Every quarter, week, and day you’ll be reminded of your goals, supported to say “no,” and encouraged to let go of your fear.
Everything you want is on the other side of that fear.
If it speaks to you, I hope that the Aligned Time Journal can be a part of that journey for you.
We’re having a party! I hope you’ll join us for the launch party via zoom on February 9th at 11 a.m.
This is a session of the Build Your Practice Series, but it’s for ANYONE who wants to celebrate the launch of the Aligned Time Journal, coach, therapist or podiatrist. All are welcome!
I hope you’ll join me! All ticket proceeds go to support the Art Therapy Project.
Amanda Crowell, PhD is a cognitive psychologist obsessed with how people make change. She is best known for translating cutting edge research into practical strategies that can be used right away.