Light and dark. Day and night. The moon waxes and wanes. Seasons alternate from winter to spring, summer to fall. We live in a large ecosystem that moves rhythmically in seasons, tides, currents, and cycles. We can fight them or follow them.
When we try to live as if natural cycles did not exist, as if all time progressed in a uniform, linear fashion, we frustrate ourselves and increase our stress. Some of our burnout comes from not recognizing nature’s rhythms and living in harmony with them. When enough plates crash to the floor, despair takes you down.
Over the past twenty years, other authors have written on effective time management with increasing sophistication. In First Things First, Stephen Covey presents his model as the fourth generation of time management.[i] Your Life in Rhythm offers a fifth-generation model, a move beyond time management.
How can you move beyond time management? By shifting your mental model from “management” to “flow.” You cannot manage time. Time happens, and time is the same for everyone. By growing in your understanding of how time flows, you can flow with it more harmoniously and effectively. Shift the focus of your attention from time to yourself.
Though we do need to better understand the flow of time, that insight will still not allow us to alter time or to manage it. Our focus must shift from managing time to allowing our lives to flow in harmony with time’s cycles.