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The Lies Busy People Tell Themselves

too busy

A new baby in January, making it four under the age of 8. A book published in June and a livelihood of traveling, giving lectures, and a working husband also traveling regularly. Even with a nanny and family pitching in to help, a busy, busy life. Laura Vanderkam was (and and I suspect still is) one hard working mom yet she was also an author on the subject of time management who decided to make a study of her own life by recording every half hour for a year in a time tracking log which incidentally took 3 minutes per day, a total of 3 hours for the year along with 232.75 hours exercising (slightly less than 5 hours per week), 327 hours of reading (mainly fashion and gossip magazines, could’ve been “War and Peace” as she pointed out but it wasn’t). In spite of 146 interrupted night’s sleep (newborn remember!), she managed just under 7 and half hours sleep along with 7.84 hours a week driving and 9.09 hours on housework and errands.

Vanderkam encourages giving time tracking a try: “A life is lived in hours. What we do with our lives is a function of how we spend those hours and we only get so many.”

In researching her time management books, Vanderkam found out that most professionals overestimate work hours, recalling our busiest weeks as typical, “partly because negative experiences stand out in the mind more than positive ones and partly because we all like to see ourselves as hard working.” Indeed, the Monthly Labor Review (June 2011) reported that people who estimated 75+ hour work weeks were off by an average of 25 hours (33%!). Vanderkam was no exception, overestimating her work week to 10 to 15 hours.

The take home for Vanderkam was changed narrative, an antidote to the message that “professional success requires harsh sacrifices at home.” After work and sleep, she still had 78.79 hours a week for other things, a “lot of space” in her words. She found that she was spending more time with her husband and children than she realized and that she had been telling herself “false stories” which presumably in and of itself created increased stress. Her time tracking allowed her to step back and be objective and with that came a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the blessings in her life. Yes, there were hectic moments, chaotic times, tension, strain, and anxiety. Yet there were also wonderful moments of peace, companionship, bonding, and time with friends and loved ones. 

In Vanderkam’s own words: “Life is full and life has space. There is no contradiction here.” 

Acknowledgement: This blog draws liberally from New York Times Sunday Review (p.1) article of the same name, May 15, 2016.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

In Memoriam: John Bradshaw: 1933 – May 8, 2016

john bradshaw

John Bradshaw’s writings powerfully impacted my life at a critical juncture. Searching for self-awareness, yearning for growth, personal, professional and spiritual, Bradshaw’s books helped me understand many things. Both “Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child” and “Healing the Shame that Binds You” gave words (inner child, dysfunctional family, assigned family roles) and thought structure that assisted me in unraveling behavior patterns that were persisting long after the original reasons for their existence had ceased. This heightened understanding gave me the mental and emotional tools to effectively deal with dysfunctional coping mechanisms and endless looping cycles that took me nowhere and occasionally even backwards.

I initially resisted much of Bradshaw; inner child sounded way too “New Age”-ish and “shame” was a word that repelled me. However, my desire to grow was great and while not everything Bradshaw wrote spoke to me and there was much that did not apply or fit my circumstances, there was also gold to be found, precious nuggets of wisdom and insight that were terrific stepping stones on my spiritual path. So I took what worked for me and thanked the universe for having sent this wisdom my way in my time of need.

Closing Quotes:

“To hold it (sadness) in is to freeze the pain within us. The therapeutic slogan is that grieving is the ‘healing feeling’.” – John Bradshaw: 1933 – May 8, 2016 

“Condemning others as bad or sinful is a way to feel righteous. Such a feeling is a powerful mood alteration and can become highly addictive. Arrogance is a way for a person to cover up shame. After years of arrogance, the arrogant person is so out of touch, she truly doesn’t know who she is. This is one of the greatest tragedies of shame cover-ups: not only does the person hide from others, she also hides from herself. I have never met an aggressive person who wasn’t a fearful person.” – John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

“Your beliefs create the kind of world we believe in. We project our feelings, thoughts and attitudes onto the world. I can create a different world by changing my belief about the world. Our inner state creates the outer and not vice versa.” – John Bradshaw: 1933 – May 8, 2016 

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

How is Your Directional Consistency?

long term consistency trumps short term intensity

Directional Consistency is picking a goal, a target, a task and sticking to it until it is done, completed, finished. Do you follow through? Do you finish what you start? Or do you waver, vacillate, procrastinate? Heck, do you even have a plan, a target for your life? We are what we consistently do; the secret of our future lies in our daily routine. We are what we repeatedly do; excellence is not an isolated act, but an ingrained habit.

Observe yourself, learn your patterns, write down your goals and possible paths to fulfilling those dreams, journal regularly. Become a positive, solution oriented expert on yourself, be your best cheerleader, become your own teacher. Coach yourself, mentor yourself, endeavor to create your best self daily. Begin anew, wiser, stronger, more resolute with every dawn. The Universe loves you, I support you, and you have greatness in you!

Closing Quotes:

“No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looketh back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

“Success is about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Success isn’t overnight; it’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

“Consistency is one of the hallmarks of my career. You knew what you were going to get out of E. Smith every game, every year.” – Emmitt Smith

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

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