Time is Using You

Use Time Instead

by
Kathryn Maloney M.A. ABS

A consulting advisor to leaders, founders and teams, Kathryn weaves systems change vision and initiatives into strategy, priorities, and operating from outcomes. From her wheelhouse, she taps into how you communicate, relate, operate, work, lead, and group think; infuses presence, power, and self-awareness onto broad, prioritised organisation strategy; and designs tangible change for your more coherent, modern, and future-forward system.

more about Kathryn
, Brooklyn, NY

Time is only as useful, productive, and strategic as you make it. You cannot complain about lack of time and use it unwisely simultaneously. You are the designers and consumers of time in all the moments.

  • To lead the future with unending demands of your time, it is only you who can ensure that you design the moments to be fitting, worthwhile, and valuable.

  • To think you can do that using 1989 ways denies you the opportunity to provide relief from the relentlessness with which you project your woes and the assuredness from which you lodge complaints.

Misappropriation of time is certainly epidemic. Yet, time is one of the multifaceted tools and dimensional understandings you want to bring to the forefront of change and changing. You have agency to elevate your game.

Some Evidence of Your Time Bleeds, Waste, and Hype
  • You are convinced that time is consumed by how busy you are.

  • The workday bleeds to 12 + hours/day.

  • Client and internal Meetings sprawl all over the workday, and then “work” gets done in off hours.

  • Relatively little boundary exists on workday/evening.

  • 1:1 and ad hoc meetings consume upwards of 7-14+ hours/week.

  • You plan for the plan for the plan.

  • You build consensus whether it be for a lunch order, setting a meeting time, or coordinating a presidential visit.

  • You do all the above using an exhaustive process in Slack or Teams.

  • You task as an operating design.

  • You open up devices upon awakening.

  • You check devices before tucking in.

  • All matters are a fire drill.

  • Lots of back channeling and avoiding speaking words run in the field.

  • Assumptions rule the system.

  • Confrontation is non-existent.

  • Meandering without getting to the point is a basis of communication.

  • Delegating is your big swing away from the agony of consensus.

  • Team strategy and individual workflow prioritisation are confounded.

  • Establishing intent, meaning, and outcome desired for requests is not habituated.

Time is a Strategic Tool

Time is an architecture by which you focus, receive insights, create, think, accomplish, and deliver. When you don’t curate intentional discipline about how you use and get used by time, you inevitably lose. That daily loss manifests into exponential capacity crunches, depreciating value, wasteful expenditure of energy, and systemic disillusionment. 

Time Costs Money

You are all service providers within your organizations, to your stakeholders and clients, across teams, and often against key and important global and societal change. Time has a cost even if you don’t actually direct bill for that time. Understanding the value of time against strategic priorities, tasks, asks, meetings, relationship building, and in service of good, deep thinking is masterful. 

What this means is you pay attention and pattern shift to animate alternative strategies on how you use your own and allow others to use your time. You build rhythms and design workflow rigor. You unpack and relearn the meaning and intent of boundary setting. You stop telling people how much time you do not have. You quit playing calendar tetris. You explicitly reshape group norms. You attend the metaphorical (or literal) class on healthy dialog, expressing, and articulation. You learn to understand and do this dimensional dance in multifaceted ways within the whole of your operating model. You craft vision and strategy collaboratively and fractally.

Time is a Prioritisation Mechanism

Prioritisation is about outcomes. Progressive and future-focused organizations and the people leading them must learn to be, think and operate from impact and vectors.

  • What you focus on is what you create.

  • How you use time is directly proportional to what you produce as individuals and teams.

  • Delivering without frenzy, chaos, and mishap is a correlation to good prioritisation.

  • Prioritisation is a phenomenon of the strategic tool of time.

Quantum and Chronos Time

Flow time and calendar time are not the same math. You do want to begin to learn the differences between these two spaces, so you become better able to leverage time, its different faces, and uses.

As a method to parse apart how they each work, start by asking yourself —

  1. When is your receiving insights time?

  2. When is your tasking time?

  3. When is your collaborative doing time?

  4. When is your writing time?

  5. When is your personal (role-related) doing time?

Shore up some bleeds on how you consume time by beginning to comprehend that you must stop thinking about time as if it is a single generator for same types of outcomes. Next ask yourself where you are quite busy consuming precious time with deflection, distraction, and unnecessary, self-generated noise.

This stuff is low hanging fruit.

  • Notice how much complaining goes on and what are the patterns.

  • Where is the sea of projecting happening, onto who and what?

  • What devices and imaginary schedules and deadlines are controlling you?

  • Is that task you have to do truly a fire drill (as in might a client be wholly failed by this single action, will food from a starving child be withheld, or does inaction create a bankruptcy risk if it is not done right this moment)?

  • Where do you regularly not ask for clarity and instead live and complain through the unwise practice of assumption that a thing needs doing in that way and in that immediate timeframe?

  • What fantastical stories do you tell yourselves about that state of time and how mean time is to you?

  • How are you all hot potatoeing accountabilities as your way of working?

  • Why are you feeling like you have to do more when others set a boundary?

  • Do you leverage time zones as the wave they offer?

Time is a Superstructure Ripe for Reimagining

Wrap your arms around its vastness and strategic capabilities. Actively destabilize your current imaginings and expectations on how time works. Adjust to contemplate all that is on offer with reorganising your relationship to and with how you dance and operate in the phenomenon of time.

Realise that you continue, unconsciously or consciously, to use a Monday to Friday construct, 8-6pm, and per an antiquated time card tracker. Neither is true. Each is a mental model you likely must dismantle so you can build time anew. 

Knowing is an emergent property triggered by well crafted inquiry and questioning — and disciplined prioritisation. Grasp that knowledge work takes your many brains and multiple intelligences. Each of which uses time in their own way and frequently on their own timing. These too demand intentional time curation.

Herein lies good work.

The Common Denominator is You

The common denominator is you when it comes to your storyline and frustrations around and about time. A system solve will always be reliant on the individuals reckoning with their imagined shackles.

Take time into your own hands. Begin to mold it strategically as a means to pull you back into your power rather than you ceding control to a whole host of animate and inanimate objects. Move out of the role of victim. Move into the role of magician.

The mechanics of time and how it works can take you places and open up spaces you are under leveraging strategically. Get on doing at least one shaping of time anew thing each week to reclaim how time can operate in your favor — and as a key and important tool for your evolutionary future.

You’ve got this. x

by Kathryn Maloney M.A. ABS
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