Managing your time with help from NLP May 1, 2007Posted by Vincent in Uncategorized.
I have worked with many people on outcomes relating to creating improvements in the way they manage their time. Success in the short term has been pretty widespread; success over the mid to long term however has been a different story. Sure, there are some people who, armed with a number of real-world, pragmatic tools, techniques are willing and able to put a strategy into place. For many who want to improve, the gains drain away pretty quickly.
That was until I started using timeline methodology, an NLP tool. It now seems blindingly obvious to me; before I just managed the blinding bit!
NLP thinking around time management suggests people adopt one of two ways of passing time; either in-time, or through-time. When someone is ‘In time’, they are associated into the experience, absorbed even; this is the state to be in to enjoy the moment. Being in time is to be less likely to be aware of time passing, less likely to plan or stick to a plan and can become side-tracked very easily.
Examples of in-time behaviour include a young person on an X-Box 360 for hours without having any sense of the amount of elapsed time, someone happily following link after link, or google search return one after another; this kind of ‘internet entrapment’ can account for many an hour. Or a child at a zoo, patiently watching a male Gorilla, waiting for it to thump its’ chest. The child, recreating this ‘absorbsion in subsequent enclosures would quickly exhaust the time available and have many experiences from a few things covered.
In time-ers often consider the future to be in a line ahead of them and the past in a line directly behind them, thus they are standing actually on their past/future timeline, hence being known as in-time.
Being ‘through time’ is to be disassociated with the experience; having it laid-out in front of you (for want of a better image). Being through-time is to be conscious of time passing, to be aware of the interaction of events, time to attend a meeting approaching for instance. It is also to be able to plan, and work to a plan, and to multi-task.
In the example of the child at the zoo, a through-time approach would be to be at the Lion enclosure planning where to go next, this being repeated at the reptile house, aviary, hippo enclosure etc, etc, so that by the end of the visit, very little has been experienced in comparison to what’s been co-ordinated.
I read up on this in “the NLP workbook” (Joseph O’ Connor) – as good a book as I’ve ever seen – and realised that those people who habitually adopt in-time behaviours (remember it is a choice not a genetic given!) respond poorly to ‘traditional’ time-management training because these are generally through-time heavy and written by through time thinkers. What I’ve done now is to encourage people to recognise the activities that are inappropriately in-time and to do radical things like use lots of alarms and alerts, to drag them back from being absorbed in something.