It’s important to value time and to understand what it is doing for you – not just when you’re taking a break, but in every moment. The way you structure your activities will either give you a sense of energy, achievement, success and fulfilment, or will make you feel stressed, out of control and exhausted.

Time is a gift and it is our responsibility to ‘own and drive’ it. This means taking responsibility for what we want to feel (unhurried, calm and relaxed, or rushed, anxious and stressed?) and understanding the consequences of each of our activities.

Our perception of time changes according to our circumstances. Any woman in the throes of labour will tell you that 1 minute is a very long time. Consider how a 15-minute block of time feels when you’re in the following situations:

  • On a freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with no music and no passengers.
  • Running late for an appointment or meeting.
  • In a slow-moving queue at the bank, post office or supermarket.
  • Waiting for someone who is running late for an appointment with you.
  • Sipping cocktails on a relaxing holiday.
  • Deeply immersed in reading a book, watching a film or doing your favourite hobby.

Do you need more time?

Are you experiencing a ‘time famine’ – the feeling that you’ll never have enough time, no matter how fast you’re running? Does this sound familiar to you?

Leslie Perlow of Harvard Business School in the US is a specialist in organisational behaviour. Her research indicates that feeling as though we’re experiencing a time famine has very real consequences, from increased stress to diminished satisfaction with our lives.
But unfortunately, we’re often too busy taking action to really think through the importance of what we’re doing.

The good news is that we can also create a situation where we feel ‘time affluent’, with all the time we need entirely within our reach. All it takes is the willingness to structure our time around doing the things that really matter and letting go of the idea that our level of busyness somehow defines our level of importance.

Let’s change our thinking and embrace planning to focus on the activities that truly make a difference, so we can create the kind of freedom we long for in our lives.

You can download free screensavers for motivation and receive a free printable vision board here.

(Extract taken from The Life Plan, by Shannah Kennedy. Head over to to order your copy or get in touch with Shannah here to find out about executive coaching options.)