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Einstein Time

Time blocking sucks.

I understand how it works in theory. I have even developed my own system. It was colour coded and made to look as cheerful as possible.

What actually happened was feeling stressed and overstretched every day, even though I didn’t actually have a lot of urgent deadlines. They were made to feel urgent because there was no white space in my calendar.

As my coaches Hina Khan and Benjamin Owen like to see, show me your calendar and you’re showing me your mind. They also say, we don’t control time. We control our energy.

How you view your time is actually the secret to “managing” your time. The best way to describe this is in Gay Hendrick’s book “The Big Leap” where he describes Einstein time.

Simply put, Einstein time is knowing that you are where time comes from.

Hendricks explains that many of us have a Newtonian view of time. We think it is limited and finite. We have eight hours of work to fill each day, for example. Time is something that is portioned out and external to us.

Einstein time, on the other hand, acknowledges that how we feel about time constructs our reality of time. Einstein once said an hour with your beloved can feel like five minutes, whereas five minutes with your hand on a hot stove can feel like an eternity.

The difference is the desire to be present in each situation. We want to be with our beloved. We want to be with them, explore more of who they are, create new memories with them. We do not want our hand to be on a hot stove.

Our perception of time is linked to how we feel about the task at hand. If we feel rushed, we’ll run out of time. If we feel pulled in a bunch of different directions, time will be scattered and unfocused. If we feel confident, we’ll have all the time in the world. If we’re excited about what we’re working on, time will fly by!

We’re leading busier and busier lives, and yet each day has the same 24 hours to it. If you can connect to and choose how to feel about how you’re using your time, those 24 hours won’t behave the same way.

Here’s one pivot that has been a game-changer for me. At work I have banned the use of “To-do lists”. We have trackers and checklists, but we don’t talk about to-do lists.

A to-do list has a false sense of productivity. It makes you think there is an end to something. But when you’re a creator by trade, nothing is ever done. There are targets and deadlines to hit, which are then replaced by new targets and deadlines.

Every checklist is tied to a project. We use a project tracking system called ClickUp to map out and track what everyone is working on. We work remotely, so this is an invaluable tool to keep everyone connected and on the same page. 

Each project has a description of what it’s supposed to look like at the end and how it serves the overall purpose of the business. This reminds us that every task, big or small, has an impact. Each task is infused with the excitement of building the business, attracting clients, or improving the client experience. This is a very different feeling from being assigned a task because your boss or manager needs you to do it. 

My personal morning routine also sets me up to treat every task like it’s the best thing I can do today. Instead of mapping out a daily to-do list (which of course I have banned) I make an appointment in my Google calendar at the beginning of the day. I name it “What Would I Love to do Today?” Inside this I create a document and type out the things I would love to do today.

When you run a business, there are always things swirling around that you can tend to. It requires a great discipline of thought to know what to pay attention to and when. In the moment when I ask “What Would I Love to do Today?” I am thinking specifically about this swirling mass of possibilities. I pull three to five things that are urgent, important, productive, and will grow the business. Everything else can wait. 

Sometimes my calendar is filled with meetings and appointments. On those days, the meetings and appointments make up the list. But now instead of having the feeling like I’m overscheduled and don’t have enough time to do all the things I want, I’m enjoying my day of meetings. I have decided they are the things I would love to do today. I remind myself what purpose each meeting has in growing my business. It’s not a waste of time. In fact it’s the best use of that 15 minutes!

What about your calendar? How does it make you feel? More importantly, how do you want it to feel?


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