How To Conquer The Time Paradox, And Eliminate Your To-Do Pressures

bigstock-picture-of-businesswoman-creat-38552725By Laura Leigh Clarke
If you’re a go-getter, you likely have a to-do list as long as your arm.

You take on more than most people, simply because you’ve become good at juggling and “managing” yourself and as a result, you have to just keep going for fear of letting a plate drop.

You probably have goals with little rewards attached to them that you work towards all the time too:

“When I get this piece of work done, I’ll be able to relax a bit”, you tell yourself.

“When I get the kids back to school I’ll start going to the gym”, you say.

“When I get this guest blog post handed in then I’ll feel better”.

You’re Not Alone In This!

And on the surface it seems logical to focus on getting tasks completed, so you can take them off your list of things to do. If you get enough tasks done then of course you’re make overall progress. It makes perfect sense.

Doesn’t it?

But what if I told you that there is a better way.

What if there was a bit of mental gymnastics you could to do that would change everything: the way you feel, the way you perceive your day to day stuff, and the speed at which you achieved what you really wanted in your life?

Interested? Well, keep reading.

Your Focus Is Creating More “Stuff” To Do

What you probably don’t realise is that focusing on short-term goals only creates more short-term goals.

You probably have heard that what we focus on is what we create.

But by focusing on “getting stuff done”, you’re inadvertently creating more stuff to “get done”.

Real success lies in being able to have your big goal (your ultimate result) in mind and be on a joyful journey to fulfilling that bigger picture goal.

This means that instead of being focussed on the immediate minutia you need to put some focus on the big picture.

“But if I’m dreaming of the big picture, I can’t focus of the immediate results”, you might say.

Herein Lies The Paradox of Time

Real success lies in being able to simultaneously hold two seemingly contradictory concepts in mind at the same time.

What we’re talking about is being able to see (and create) the big picture and the future, whilst remaining in the present moment and attending to the immediate tasks.

I recall hearing how the measure of someone’s responsibility is laid out in time scales. Those with more responsibility and power see farther than those they lead. This is what makes them leaders.

Take a simple example of people working in a company: the owners of a successful company are planning 12-18 months down the line, with a vision of where they want to be in 5 years or more. The managers plan for the next three to twelve months. The supervisors plan the next week or two, whilst those doing the work plan and work the day-to-day tasks.

By contrast, most of us live our lives dealing with the next few days, weeks and months. Great leaders and visionaries like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi had visions for their respective nations that spanned way beyond their life time even.

And their legacy, and the effect they had on those nations, reflects this.

Hold in mind the long-term vision, whilst operating completely in the present moment, and you can’t help but become a powerful force for good. ReTweet This

The Power Of The Present Moment

So you need to think in long time scales to be more effective. Yet the ONLY power you have is in the present moment. We dilute our effectiveness as soon as we come out of the moment. We worry about the past, we project about the future.

This is the paradox.

You need to be perfectly poised in the moment, and pull back your awareness and energy from everything else. Then you need to use the long-term pictures to direct and guide that power, and pull it into your reality.

In essence, if you want real success and a sense of accomplishment in your activities, then learn to hold in mind the big picture at the same time as the day-to-day tasks.

How Your Attitude Towards Time Dictates What You Are Able To Affect

If you want to lead and contribute on a larger scale, then have a vision for outcomes that lasts longer than the next few months. Stretch yourself to imagine what you’d like to be building over the next ten, twenty years.

If you decide you want to leave a legacy, start creating a concept for your life and work that isn’t about you anymore, and envision the effects over the span of several hundred years.

Keep this enormous time scale in mind and heart, whilst remaining in the present moment, and you can’t help but become a powerful influence for the good of the planet.

Ok So HOW Do You Actually Do This When You Have To Get Stuff Done?

Well, this isn’t a two line answer.

There is a process. A system.

There is a way of structuring what you do, and picking the right projects for you given your natural style and personality. When you get this clear, it frees you up to do more of what you love and create the headspace to hold in mind that big vision whilst being in the moment.

But it starts with some ground-work.

I’m going to talk about this ground-work in an exclusive, one-off online webinar training for the Goodlife ZEN Community on:

Wednesday 11th Dec, at 12 noon (New York), 5pm (London).

You will learn precisely:

How To Get Unstuck (and Increase Your Income) with Confidence and Grace.

Register here.

I look forward to seeing you there, where we can talk about this in much more detail, and I can outline the important points 🙂

In the meantime, please share your ideas and questions in the comments below.

{ 0 trackbacks }


  1. Jack Grabon says:

    Great post, Laura. It’s easy to plug away at a to-do list and forget about why we’re doing those things. This is a great reminder for keeping an eye on the big picture while being in the moment. It seems like most schools of thought either focus on one or the other.
    Jack Grabon´s last blog post ..Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

  2. Robert says:

    Hi Laura, that’s really fantastic and I never looked at it that way: “Real success lies in being able to have your big goal (your ultimate result) in mind and be on a joyful journey to fulfilling that bigger picture goal.” and from the of of view of the LOA it makes completely sense. The more you focus on those little every day tasks, the more of them you will create and the more of the really important things to do you will miss.
    Robert´s last blog post ..A Simple Way To Get Rid Of Your Worries, Doubts And Fears And To Replace Them With Joy And Happiness

  3. Jordie says:

    I constantly fall victim to the “once I achieve X, I will then achieve Y” curse. Most of the time I don’t achieve X, and when I do I don’t get close to achieving Y. It can get frustrating, but I only have myself to blame. I’m working on it though and getting a little better each day. Breaking the big tasks down into multiple little ones, and accomplishing a little bit of each as the day goes on. If I have one thing I want to finish by the end of the day, I will break it down to accomplish a portion of it every few hours. I can’t sit still long enough to finish one big task, but the 5-10 minutes it takes me to finish the little portion is no problem. By the end of the day I have everything I want done, in the time frame I need it done. But I still never finish up with task Y and I’m working on that.

  4. Jordan says:

    Great points! It’s so easy to get stuck in the future, and forget about the now. Thanks for sharing.

  5. ročne ure says:

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge