EP 11 // Time is Manufactured in the Mind

Ep 10

We hear about time management all the time. Everyone tells us how important it is to manage our time; however people neglect to teach us how to manage our time effectively. Productivity is closely related to how we treat our time. There are ways we can improve our relationship with time to get the best outcomes from it.  

Everyone gets the same amount of time in a day but, everyone experiences that amount of time differently. Akua explains that because time is a mental construct, everyone should be treating their time uniquely to their thoughts and feelings. She shares various ways to get clear on how to spend your time most beneficially. It is time to ask yourself how you spend your time now and how you could better spend your time going forward. 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Time Management

  • Cultivating self-awareness around time
  • Questions to ask yourself relating to time 
  • The relationship between productivity and time 
  • How to talk about time in a valuable way 

Take Akua’s quiz about time and productivity by clicking here!

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Time is very much manufactured in the mind." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Our relationship with time has a direct correlation to our results." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "No one teaches us how to make the most of our time." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Time is a product of the mind." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

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Here’s the transcript for episode 11 about Time Perception

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Unknown Speaker 0:07 Welcome to the open door Unknown Speaker 0:08 podcast. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:09 My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time, and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that, think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the open door conversations podcast. Speaker 2 1:28 This is going to be a really, really, really good episode. Akua Nyame-Mensah 1:33 My aim is to challenge and hopefully shift some of your perceptions and your attitude towards productivity and performance. I'm going to be talking all about how you Yes, you ambitious and high achieving leader can start to redefine your relationship with time, thereby reducing overwhelm firefighting and the potential for burnout. So let's talk about this right. And this is actually where I spend the majority of my time in my coaching practice, really talking about productivity, and performance, which in my opinion, is directly correlated to your relationship with time. So I don't know how many of you out there have watched this TV show The Cube, I believe it's a British TV show, I think it's also in the US right now. And there is one particular activity that they have the contestant do, where they're trying to count out a certain number of seconds. And a lot of times they have a really hard time with it, they either over count or under count because they're under pressure. And in my opinion, that's a really great illustration of our relationship with time and our relationship with this construct really of time. Because at the end of the day, how you feel towards something is going to impact how you show up. And so productivity and performance is really all about how you feel towards what you're doing. And so all of us have a different understanding of time, even though each and every single one of us has an equal amount of time, technically, right. So the 24 hours within a day, we each will experience it and use it in different ways, right, and depending on the situation you're in. So when the cube, you're under pressure, it's going to look really, really, really differently. So if you want to try this activity for yourself, literally just hit pause, find a timer, but turn off the alarm, close your eyes, and try to count out like 30 seconds or 60 seconds and see how far or how close you are to the final time, right? So count out those 30 seconds or 60 seconds in your head and your head, and then check to see the timer that you set to see how close or how far you were to actually hitting it right, because some of us are going to experience it as a shorter period of time. And others really might experience it as a longer period of time. Right? And so really just recognising that time is very different for each and every single one of us, I think is a very, very important thing for all of us to recognise. And so why is this important? Why do so many of my clients want to have a better relationship with time want to have a better relationship with productivity really want to perform at a higher level. This is so important to so many of us because of this idea or concept of time management and time management is all about the way you manage your time. Right. And this is important because this determines your ability to focus and prioritise your most important task. It's important because it helps you mitigate distractions and delays right. It also allows you to deliver on key milestones and deadlines in your business or in your career. And most importantly, this is something I think we sometimes also Forget, but time management allows you to ensure you're taking care of your personal health and your well being as well. Right? So really just recognising that this concept of time management, right, that has to do with performance and has to do with productivity is really going to allow us to do so many different things. But here's the thing. And this is something that I've recognised and I love to talk about. But here's the thing, no one teaches us how to make the most of our time, no one does, right. A lot of times we learn, you know, how to engage with our time how to deal with our time, how to use our time from the people around us, or the environments that we're in. So really just recognising that there is a lot of work that all of us can do, even I can do, right, as someone who spent a lot of time thinking about this, researching this being trained in this, and learning a little bit more about the things that really impact how we show up. So no one teaches us how to make the most of our time. So it's really up to each and every single one of us to learn how to really engage with our time and use our time to the best of our ability. So when it comes to time, I would just love to to encourage you to reflect on some of these questions. Okay, so the first question I have here is really around, what are some of the stories that you tell yourself around time, right? What are some of the beliefs that you have around time? Okay, and really just start to reflect on that and think about what's coming up? Do you believe that there's not enough of it? There's too much of it, right? So when do you feel like you have a lot of time? When do you feel like you don't have a lot of time? And ideally, where would you like to be spending the majority of your time? Okay, so these are all questions that I always love to ask my clients and I think are really important questions for all of us to build our awareness around, right. So as I talk about, you know, time, I'm definitely going to be incorporating my three step process of helping leaders cultivate their self awareness, really think about how they want to engage, and then ultimately set some expectations, right, but you can't really brainstorm ways to engage or ways to show up, you can't really suck at set sorry, expectations, without having an understanding of really where you are. And without having an understanding or increasing or cultivating your awareness around where you are right now, and potentially where you want to go. So really just starting off with, what is my relationship with time? What are the things I'm telling myself around my time? What am I allowing myself to do? What am I not allowing myself to do? And when is it throughout the day or throughout the week or throughout the month? When I feel like I have a lot of time, right? When I feel like I'm getting things done? And when do I feel like I don't have as much time and maybe I'm trying to beat the clock or I'm rushing? Or I'm hustling, right? When does that happen for you? And I'm really curious, if you're open to sharing, please feel free to hit me up in my LinkedIn, DMS or my Instagram, DMS, I'd really love to know when do you feel like you have a lot of time? When do you feel like you don't have a lot of time. And the reason why I ask these questions, and I think it's important to build your awareness around this is it's because our relationship with time has a direct correlation to our results. So how we feel about it, how we feel about what we're doing is really going to determine whether or not we perform right whether or not we're going to feel productive. So taking the time to cultivate our self awareness around it is super key. So our relationship with time has a direct correlation to our results. So what language do you use when you're talking around time, right? And recognising that your beliefs around time will have an impact on how you show up. So my hope is that by the end of this conversation, you create a new language around time, right? So rather than thinking that or feeling that or sharing that, or communicating that it's fleeting, there's not enough, maybe you have some new words to describe time, because how you talk about it, once again, will have an impact on how you feel about it, and how you show up. And so it's really important right to recognise that when we feel there isn't enough, we might be creating resistance in some of our processes resistance and how we're showing up. And ultimately, we may not get the results that we want, right. Ultimately, we may not perform at the level that we've thought we would and we may not feel as productive even though we've gotten everything that we've wanted to get done, even though we've checked everything off that list, right? We still might not feel good about it and therefore feel like we haven't performed or feel like we haven't been productive. So really being able to check in that way I think is super important when we're talking about time management and we're talking about whether or not we are on the right track. So what is time Time. And I think that this is a really interesting thing for us to recognise, is that time is very much manufactured in the mind, right. So earlier on, I gave you that example of the activity of trying to count to that 30 seconds or that one minute and really recognising that for some of us, it's going to be really hard, depending on the type of day, we've had, depending on what we're doing. And maybe even depending on the food that we've eaten, right, all those things can have an impact on whether or not we're actually able to count within that, that 30 seconds or that that 60 seconds to hit that time. So really just recognising that time for us as human beings is actually quite complex. It's eight different storylines, actually, in our heads in our brains, that's giving us this sensation of time. And so it's a combination of our past, our future, and our present. So really just recognising that we are constantly interpreting memories and stories that have already happened. We are also imagining things that could happen in terms of possibilities, insights and assumptions. And then there's also this present. So you listening to me right now this is in the present. And that is the point between the past and the future, right, that's really the only thing that we're engaging with right now. And so I think it's super, super interesting to recognise that time is very much something that's constructed. And it's, it's so easy for that concept of time to be impacted. Okay, so there are various things that will impact our concept of time. And so it's not really an exact science, right. And that's why I think it's so important for all of us really to check in, and to see whether or not we're feeling a certain way. So to check in to make sure that we are mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, if that's something that's important to you, on the right track, and that we really are focused on things that are lighting us up and motivating us. And recognising that things may be that don't, because the things that don't necessarily light us up might be really hard for us to do. And doing them actually might make it seem like time is going really slowly. And that we don't feel as productive. And we don't feel like we are performing. If you want to have an idea of where you might be in terms of that productivity sort of level, I will leave a link to my productivity focused quiz that will give you an idea of where you might be in terms of your productivity style as a leader. And we'll give you some really great resources that you can use right away. And some really great tips that you can use right away to really help you shift your relationship with yourself and ultimately your relationship with time so that you can really perform and feel productive. So I will leave that in the show notes. But really just recognising that there are so many things that impact your time. And some of the things that could potentially pack your you know that it could impact your time is what you're putting into your body, right. So the food that you eat, the things that you're drinking, can really change how you're able to show up and can make it difficult or more easy for you to potentially perform. Another thing that can change your perception of time can be right how you're feeling, right. So that can be all around your stress levels, whether or not you're burned out if you have an illness. And that will impact your ability to once again judge time accurately and also impact your decision making. Alright, last but not least, another thing that can impact your concept of time is whether or not you're anxious, right? Whether or not you're feeling fear. And once again, that is going to change, you know the rate at which you're going to be able to make decisions. And it's also going to change the rate at which you're able to think of potential solutions and engage with time as well. Right? If you don't feel really good about something, if you don't feel comfortable about something, it's gonna be really hard for you to try to approach it. And so really recognising that all those different things can once again change your perception of time. So back to that, that example I gave of the cube, that TV show, right? That pressure that you get from being on a TV show makes it super difficult for you to count out, right those 30 seconds or those 90 seconds and that's the same thing that we see in our day to day lives as well. Okay, so what else is really impacting our perception of time, all right, and and that can also be related to this mindset that we have, right? So the things we put into our Body, how we're feeling whether or not we're anxious or fearful, all of those can have an impact on our mindset, right? And so really recognising that not feeling like there is enough time is incredibly natural. And that's probably the way the the majority of us humans and the majority of us leaders, those of us who are highly ambitious, we're doing a lot of things, we've achieved a lot of things. That's probably the primary way in which we're showing up and the primary way in which we are thinking about time, potentially. So what are some of the things that are coming up for us sometimes when we're feeling like we don't have enough time, right. And so this is why once again, building our awareness is so really important. So the first thing that comes up for many of us, is maybe saying to ourselves that, hey, I get more things done, when I feel like I have less time. And for a lot of us we feel like having less time motivates us, right? So we think that this is potentially the only way that we can get things done right. So we might have some evidence to that we maybe see other people do that maybe our parents did that, or it seemed to work for us in college. So we really have been socialised to think this way to think that oh, with less time, I'm going to be able to do this better, or potentially, or I'll get it done when I have less time. And so it's really the dominant or mainstream way of engaging in thinking about time, right, this idea that if I have less of it, I'm more likely to to get it done. And we do this for tasks that tend to be less enjoyable. And maybe we aren't excited to do them internally, right. So these are things we have to do. I think a really great example of that potentially might be things like taxes. So the fact that it has to be done, we leave it to the last minute, but we know it has to be done. And we don't want to be penalised. And that's the reason why potentially we'll try and get it done. So really recognising once again, that's a completely natural thing. It's probably the dominant mainstream way of thinking about time and engaging with time. But do we have to get to that point in order to get things done? No, we don't. The second thing that really comes up around time, when we're thinking about our mindset towards time, is that as human beings, we are terrible, terrible at figuring out how long things will take. And so the first step is really recognising that we need to all give ourselves a break, because we are so bad at estimating how long things will take. So many of us will, you know, downplay things or be really optimistic, and really just recognising that that is not always for the best. So making sure that you are creating time and space to get things done for yourself. And maybe even giving yourself that additional buffer really, really can be super, super, super helpful. So what are some of the ways that we can get over this approach to time, right? This socialised approach to time where we feel like we need to give ourselves less time or we wait to the last minute, or we are terrible actually at, you know, planning for how long things will take the first thing I think that we all need to keep in mind. And I think all of us can get better at and I know this is something that I also can get better at is making sure that we leverage boundaries, right. And this typically comes up when we're talking about our personal priorities. We're talking about our families, we're talking about our health, we're talking about things that we need to make sure that we do so that we can show up and have a good relationship with time so we can perform, and we can feel productive. And that's really making sure that we are defending our personal priorities with boundaries. So really getting clear on the things that are important to us, and making sure that we do not make excuses and that we do not downplay the importance of these personal priorities in our lives. So having those boundaries, I think, is a really good starting point. Another thing that you can do is get really good at reframing and shifting how you talk about your priorities, to really start to recognise that some of these things once again, that we do in our personal lives, allow us to show up as effective leaders, right, allow us to be inspiring and allow us to really speak really well and be able to, you know, influence and have those Win Win conversations with potential investors and be able to connect and resonate with potential clients. So really recognising that the first step is making sure that we do have a personal life. And we are able to take care of our physical, mental, emotional, and once again spiritual health, and not allowing our work to take that over right? So that we can feel good, right? And be able to show up to get things done. Okay? Another thing that we can also do is make sure that we are saving time and our schedules, and saving time within our calendars to do some very important things, right. And so those can be important things in our personal life, and also important things within our professional life. So the most important sort of responsibilities maybe that you have, as a leader, make sure you're scheduling those first and make sure that you're scheduling them within times in which you feel good, right? So earlier on, I asked when, during the day, or when, during the week, or when during the month, do you feel like you have a lot of time, that's probably where usage schedule some of the most important responsibilities that you have as a leader. Okay. So what are some other ways that we can also think about making sure that we are creating a budget, maybe we can call that a time budget, or we are making sure we are planning properly for the things that we're getting done. So a huge thing that we can make sure that we can do is making sure that we are giving ourselves extra space and grace when we're trying to get things done. So for example, if you're putting together a plan for something you're getting done, maybe giving yourself a few extra days, right, so just a bit of a buffer, right, or maybe getting some insight from other people or other teams or other experts to make sure once again, that you're giving yourself enough time to get things done. And I think a key thing here also, when we're talking about sort of what happens to us as leaders, is also recognising that you may not be the best person for that task. So I had a call today actually with one of my clients, and we were talking through something that he felt he had to do. And he felt he had to be the one to learn it before trying to find someone to support him. And I understood this so well, because this is something that I also felt when I was working on my team, and building out my team and really trying to build out a business in this way. I felt like I needed to have a certain level of expertise. And that particular role before bringing someone on. And what I quickly realised was that that's not actually a really great way to scale. And so you can be incredibly smart around or about who you're hiring and bringing in the right people and asking the right questions without having to be the expert. And so when I was having this conversation with my client, he quickly realised that he was losing a lot of time, a lot of energy and also financial resources, trying to focus on something that he would never be good at. And that he could leverage his team, right. So people he already had hired to support him and making a decision and bringing on someone who could actually support him in this specific marketing activity, that is actually quite difficult to do. Right. So we actually talked through some of the numbers, right, he talked a little bit about how much money potentially could be brought in, if he had this individual. And then he thought a little bit about the time he was wasting and the value of his time, right, that was being wasted by trying to do this or trying to sort of research it without having an expert, right. And then last but not least, we then thought about what was the actual cost of bringing on this expert. And he saw that, hey, the cost of bringing on this expert isn't that much more and the upside is so much higher. And that once again, he wouldn't feel like he was wasting his time, right, his time would be used for those high value, you know, tasks and responsibilities that only he could do, right, those decisions that he could only make, and that this is something he could delegate to an expert who could do a lot better job at it. So really just recognising that another thing that you can do is keep in mind that you as a leader, right, that one hour of your time might be better spent elsewhere. And that bringing on potential experts or making sure that you have the right team that's trained can actually get you a lot further and allow you to feel a lot more comfortable, right? And then ultimately feel a lot more productive and that you're performing. Right. So it's also about surrounding yourself with some of the right people as well. So just in some are just to sort of summarise what I've shared today in terms of talking about time management, really just recognising that this relationship that you have with time will change day to day will actually even change hour to hour. So really becoming aware of how you're showing up throughout the day can help you think about when you should schedule specific things and also help you think about what you might need to do in order to show up a little bit more consistently, right? But none of us are robots, right? All of us are going to look different day to day. But I do think it's a really interesting thing for you to reflect on. So ultimately, right time is a product of the mind, right? So take care of yourself, take care of your mental health, take care of your physical health, and it's going to be a lot easier for you to show up and be productive and really perform. Okay, another thing really to keep in mind is that we compare ourselves to others, right. And we have learned, right, we have been socialised to believe that time, in quotes is against us, right? And it's not right time, honestly, is this really interesting concept that involves the past and the present in the future? And that there's many parts of our brain that are involved in helping us have this concept of time. So really continue to build your awareness around whether or not you're really behind whether or not you really aren't performing? Or are you setting expectations for yourself that are a bit unrealistic, right. So what are some of the things that you can tell yourself to really unlearn some of these beliefs around time? And my hope is, when I asked some of those questions earlier on that maybe you jotted down some things that came to mind, or you wrote down some of the things that maybe came to your mind when you thought about time, right? How can you reframe that? Is there something else that you can maybe take on or believe that might serve you really moving forward? All right, and the last thing that I just wanted to share just a close up this conversation is really recognising that we can unlearn a lot of these stories and perspectives that we have around time, if we are intentional. So really start with building your awareness around this. And once again, feel free to reach out on social media and let me know some of the things that you're learning through listening through this conversation and really start to to engage with this concept of time and see what comes up. Alright, so thank you so much for taking the time to listen. As always, I really would love to hear from you. What are you taking from this conversation? What can we add to this conversation? What should I talk about next? Feel free to reach out and let me know. Thank you again for taking the time to listen, stay safe and say thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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