So far we have managed to cover the three different approaches to time. First was Past Orientation, second Present Orientation, and third the Future Orientation. You will find them all in the related articles below. Now, we are moving to the more entertaining and productive part – actually making use of the gained knowledge. Let’s balance all these orientations into the most productive approach!
If you missed the previous articles, you can check them now – read them carefully and decide, what is your approach to time.
What have you learned?
By taking a moment to think through the concepts described in the previous post, you should be able to establish which one is dominating in your case, and be able to turn this to your advantage. Now you can tell if the approach is more positive or negative. If you discovered that, in general, you are not satisfied with the way your time orientation works, there is no need to worry. It can be changed. It is not like it stays with you forever, everything is in your head 😉
This is a great moment to quote the wise words of Reinhold Niebuhr, American, theologian, who wrote his Serenity Prayer around the year 1930. Here is the most famous part of it:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Those are now world-famous words used by many different support groups. Doesn’t matter whether you are a believer or not, they are still very powerful and can provide a lot of help when dealing with time-related issues.
The Balanced Approach To Time
In this paragraph, we shall discuss the techniques that can be used in order to balance the three orientations. Remember that they have advantages, as well as disadvantages – so the most rational thing to do is to learn how to make use of the positive aspects while minimalizing the negative ones.
1. Cleanse the past.
If you remember only the good events and situations that happened in your past, they will give you the strength and faith when thinking about the future. If thinking about the past is connected with misery, pain, and fear – you must do something to neutralize these feelings.
The attack is the best form of defense. In this case, you have to focus on the positive, joyful memories. Write them down and come back to them every day – try to remember every detail, every feeling associated with the past situation that gave you so much happiness. Watch them in your mind like a great movie. Now, whenever this “dark side” of your past starts to overcome your thoughts, focus and go to these events that were happy. You will feel motivated and ready for action. If the past was not easy on you, and you don’t feel like there are many pleasant moments that you can come back to, you should better seek the help of a specialist, as bad past has a huge impact on your life.
- Forgive the wrongdoings. If somebody harmed you and you still come back to it, you are hurting yourself even more. If only possible, try to forgive that person, and it will get much easier.
- Try to renew old friendships. People go their separate ways and sometimes never meet again, even if they were once very close. A phone call or a message to an old friend won’t hurt, but it can bring a lot of joy to both sides. Also, tell those around you (friends, family) how much you appreciate them.
- Try to spend time with those, who have a positive approach to the past. People stuck in their past are sour, if you can’t help them, don’t let they have a toxic influence on you.
2. Become more Present Oriented
You may not be seeing how many great things go right past your nose when you constantly think about the past or the future. Do not join the rat race – success may be your main goal, but do not sacrifice your personal life to achieve it. Try to enjoy the moment more often. Do not let the mobile device own you, remember that you are the one, who owns them – there is nothing wrong with putting them aside for a while, it won’t hurt anybody (well, unless you are a doctor on the ER.)
- Dedicate some part of your day to yourself, turn off your mobile phone, hide your watch, and do some relaxing stuff. Perhaps try meditation or yoga, play an instrument, write a story, dance, sing, whatever it is that brings you joy, let yourself get lost in it.
- Find a hobby that requires some commitment
- When you spend time with another person, always engage in a conversation, be a good listener, ask questions – those are simple things but many people forget about them nowadays.
3. Future – Be Able To Notice What’s Standing in Front Of You.
If you focus too hard on the present, you will have problems with organizing your day. You should set small goals and establish bigger plans. Dedicate some time to think about the future and make a list of things you should complete in the next couple of days.
Example: If you work on a project or have a big task to complete, make a list of necessary actions, and focus on one at the time.
- What’s the purpose of your task/project?
- When will it be truly completed?
- When would you like to finish it?
- When should the particular steps/stages be completed?
- When will you start working on them, and when would you like to finish each stage?
In general, focusing on the feature usually means doing a lot of lists – they help a lot when it comes to action.
Those are just some general ideas but once you start working on them, you should see a difference between your old and new self. And once you realize how much more productive you feel, having your time under control, you will never go back to the old self!