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Managing Our Time: The Art of Carving

May 4, 2015

Today was one of those days where I journeyed from task to task simply attempting to keep my head above water. Does that sound familiar? For those of us choosing to live audaciously and from the heart, balancing the juggling act that comes with wearing numerous hats, while pursuing a path uniquely our own, represents a daunting and sometimes overwhelming mission.

The life of those taking the path less traveled in pursuit of uncovering meaningful work that still allows us to pay the bills is undoubtedly more complicated than those who choose to fall in line following a more traditional track. Right, wrong or indifferent, that simply comes with the territory for people unwilling to be boxed in by our cultural norms.

On days like today, it’s easy to get trapped by the “I don’t have enough time” mindset when lamenting over the fact that it’s Monday (blog day), and I haven’t found the time to write. But there in lies the problem. The minute we start to look at time as something we “find” versus something we “carve” is the beginning of our letting life rule us instead of our recognizing the power to take control of our own lives. Will life happen, throwing unexpected curve balls that we have to deal with? Of course it will. This is where adaptability becomes critical (check out my April 30th blog: The Gift of Adversity, Be Adaptable ).

While much of life is out of our control, there is one very important element where we have the opportunity to choose. How we spend our time. Energy is finite and none of us are superman or superwoman no matter how many of us believe otherwise. With page proofs for my 90,000 word manuscript due a week from today, deadlines for an upcoming keynote, loose ends to tie up before my Denver departure early Wednesday morning, dadda duties and numerous unexpected requests today, it’s been a grind to say the least. Combine this with my part time gig and a shortened workday as I go into full time dadda mode when my daughter is released from school with gymnastics, a birthday party, homework, dinner, swim lessons, followed by our bedtime routine and it’s safe to say that it’s going to be a mad dash from 3:30 to lights out.

So how on earth will I find the time to blog today? I won’t find the time. Just like exercise (I squeezed out forty five minutes on the elliptical followed by a quick upper body blast and core workout at noon as this has long been a necessity for me to stay productive) I have to create the window of time. So, here I sit at my daughter’s gymnastics class, working on my blog and taking mini breaks to watch her acrobatic feats. Did I miss a few tumbles? Yes. But that’s not why I come to her gymnastics class each Monday. It’s to witness her smile radiating throughout the gym that keeps me from venturing with the moms to the next door coffee shop. Her smiles have been plentiful today.

Punching the clock may happen by finding the time to show up to work. But it’s not until we master the art of creating the time necessary to do the work that we value that shit begins to happen. We don’t find the time to write a book, we carve out the time. Sometimes we have to be militant with ourselves (exercise, diet, writing the next best novel), and other times we simply have to get creative with windows of time that we can carve. Is it easy? No, it never is. Many times throughout the day I’ve found myself closing my eyes and taking one deep breath in attempt to remain intentional and keep the anxiety of overwhelm at bay.

The key to our time dilemma? Live purposefully, making time for that which matters. Stop finding and start carving.

Michael W. Leach,

PS: I’m still overwhelmed as hell.

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