The single biggest mistake people make with time management is assuming that all time is equal and managing it as such.
True, everyone has the same number of hours in a day and every day contains the same number of hours. But, not every hour or every day is the same.
If you think I am about to share some new time management trick or technique that will revolutionize how you manage your day, you’re wrong. True, I am drawn to productivity hacks and appreciate ways to get more done in a day. But that’s not the focus of this post.
Instead, I want to go old school. By old, I am not advocating the return to a paper-based DayRunner or Franklin Planner — remember, I’m not promoting time management techniques.
I mean going way back, all the way back to ancient Greece and examining their philosophical understanding of time. You see, the Greeks were very precise with language and had an understanding of time that offers tremendous benefit when you embrace it.
What the Greeks knew about time
Most of us have only one perception of time. And that’s a problem!
We experience time chronologically, sequentially. One minute or moment at a time. Minutes pass like the grains of sand trickling through an hourglass. Gradually, minutes become hours that accumulate into days, weeks, months, years, and on it goes.
The Greeks labeled that as χρόνος (chronos) time; the orderly progression, or passage, of time. If you embrace a chronos understanding of time, then it is easy to perceive all time equally.
That sameness is what allows you to establish routines. Then, there are people who take routines to the extreme. Think Sheldon Cooper from TV’s The Big Bang Theory who is so routinized that he has his wardrobe, meals, and entertainment meticulously mapped to the days of the week. After all, if all time is the same, why waste time and burn mental calories on such trivial matters?
Chronos is how most of us understand time and its passing. When someone asks you, “What time is it?,” most likely you answer with some unit of chronological measurement.
But, it’s the other Greek word for time that unlocks the true secret of making the most of your time. Kαιρός (kairos) refers to “an opportune time”. A moment of unique timing or special opportunity.
You’ve probably heard people reference a time when the stars aligned or a door (or window) opened for them. That is kαιρός time.
If you’re familiar with the New Testament (recall it was originally written in Greek) you have seen kairos translated as “the appointed time”, “due season”, or harvest. It is a special time, a time of unique opportunity.
Whereas chronos time passes gradually and incrementally like the ticks of a second hand. Kairos arrives suddenly. Unexpectedly, sometimes even inconveniently.
In some kairos moments, it may even seem that chronos time is suspended or stopped altogether. You see life happening in slow motion or freeze frame.
When a kairos moment arrives and a door, or window, of opportunity opens…it is time to act, to move. To seize the moment is the only appropriate response to kairos time. Click To Tweet
You can’t schedule, or reschedule, a kairos moment. When it arrives, the only appropriate response is to act. Now.
Don’t look for the next convenient opening in your schedule and ask, “Can you come back on the third Tuesday of next month, I’ll gladly fit you in then?” It doesn’t work like that.
What to do when your time comes
If you’re a parent or happen to be pregnant now, you have a vivid contrast of chronos and kairos time. The nine months of pregnancy is like chronos time and how we experience it. Day after day passes, week after week. Gradually and incrementally. Sometimes faster than others and sometimes slower. But then…
Suddenly, it is time.
All the weeks of preparation and planning led you to this moment. The kairos moment appeared and now is the time. You act and you act quickly. You seize the moment.
The next time someone asks you, “What time is it?” Let that be a reminder that not all time is the same. While you cannot schedule a kairos moment, you can certainly prepare for one.
How? Here are a few ways to begin.
- Recognize kairos moments exist. Awareness creates opportunity.
- Avail yourself to their arrival.
- Prepare to act. And when a kairos moment comes,
- Seize it!
Is now your time?
If as you are reading this, you suddenly discover that you are in a kairos moment and things have magically come into alignment in your life, then you need to take action. NOW.
Do not hesitate or delay. Now is your time and the time to respond is now. Take an action step.
Seize the moment, don’t let this one pass you by.
If your kairos moment has something to do with you stepping into the higher purpose for your life or leadership and you aren’t quite sure what next step to take, but feel connected to what I’ve shared here and in other places, then we need to talk. Take action now. Complete this form as the next step on your journey.
Who knows? Maybe our paths crossing now, in this season; you reading this post at this exact moment indicates that we should be working together to help you seize the moment and move into your destiny. If so, that’s awesome and I’d be honored to play a part. If this post helps you take some other step forward, I’d love to celebrate that with you.The ultimate time management hack? When a kairos moment arrives, pounce on it!Click To Tweet
You will be glad you did and the world will be better because you did.