Special thanks to my friend and colleague, Lisa Derby Oden, for sharing this article with us.  Lisa has been providing business development, marketing, and nonprofit consulting services to the horse industry since 1995 through her business Blue Ribbon Consulting. She has been involved with horses since she was a child and hasn’t outgrown them yet! Her BS in Animal Science and MS in Management combined with her lifelong experience in the industry  provide her with perspective and insight that is unique. Lisa owned a 25-horse facility for many years focused on eventing, and taught, trained and competed extensively. Lisa is author of “Growing Your Horse Business” and “Bang for Your Buck: Making $ense of Marketing for Your Horse Business,” writes for the trade publications, offers teleseminar series to build and grow your horse business and nonprofit, and has established a horse business and nonprofit audio library. She is honored to have received awards at the state and national level for her work in the horse industry.

It’s All a Matter of *Time*

By Lisa Derby Oden

*Time* management is always a *timeless* topic. I’d like to share a few personal thoughts about it before I get into concrete suggestions. When it comes to resource management, for my money, *time* is the most valuable resource that I have. When I have *time* I can create almost anything else – including additional money. And I think that’s why *time management* can be so difficult for so many. It slips away quicker than most of us are aware of, and though *time* is money, money seems to rule in our society.   Money is a renewable resource, whereas *time* isn’t. Once *time* has passed we can’t get it back.

In this day and age, we continually hear about overwhelm. This is when we feel de-energized at the least and paralyzed at the most because there are too many choices, too many obligations, too many ideas and too much information. What this comes down to is the lack of *time* to process the *abundance* that surrounds us. Think of that for a moment – overwhelm is *abundance* through another lens.

Overwhelm can advance to become burnout if it isn’t recognize and dealt with sooner rather than later. Did you notice what the leveler is here, in staving off *burnout?* *Time.* Poor *time* management can lead to overwhelm and burnout, and overwhelm and burnout can lead to poor *time* management.

So let’s set the stage for *time* management:

1)     Figure out what you’re dealing with. Is it poor *time* management, overwhelm or burnout?  What stage are you at: a) a little frazzled, b) stunned and uncertain, c) unable to find joy in the things that always made you happy before. If you answered A you are dealing with a *time* management issue; B means you’ve moved into overwhelm; and C means you’ve tipped into burnout. You’ll need to make some changes no matter what you’re dealing with, and not everyone is comfortable with change. Bear in mind that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

2)    Recognize that *abundance* surrounds you. Remember, too, that the sun burns if you get too much. Sometimes having it all means having less, so less is more! *Abundance* will still be there if you choose to have less. This IS a matter of choice. There is power in one simple two-letter word – NO. It can be pretty tough to say NO the first few times, but once you’ve been successful at saying it, you’ll discover that you are now shaping your *abundance* in a way that is meaningful to you.

3)    Get in touch with the *here and now.* Right here, right now you can start fresh. To get started, set a goal of having 5 minutes each day when you do nothing. That’s right, nothing. Concentrate on your breathing only. Yoga has a system of breathing for energizing, balancing and relaxing, and I have the breathing chart taped to my refrigerator and my computer. It works! http://www.yogawithjohn.com/pranayama/

4)    What matters most today? We all have responsibilities and obligations and we all have things that make life worth living. Usually these realms overlap. Even within our responsibilities and obligations there are things we can do to lighten the load. Once you’ve cleared your mind you’ll be able to focus on one responsibility at a time, prioritize them, and think about how you can lighten your load. At work and at home, delegation can be your friend, just like the word NO. For example, get your kids to pitch in more with house chores; teach them to make a healthy easy-to-prepare meal and then assign one night a week to them and let them do it. Appreciate the heck out of them, no matter how it turns out the first few times.

5)    Accept that life is full of fluctuations. Many times you’ll be going at 90 miles an hour and at other times you’ll travel in the slow lane. Value the moments when life feels like it’s on cruise control because that means you’ve achieved balance for the time being. You are, after all, a human being, and not a human doing, and balance allows us to really experience that to its fullest.

6)    Learn to let go. We can’t be all things to all people or we’ll end up being nothing to everybody including ourselves. Think about *time* management like it’s your clothes closet. At some point you decide it’s time to get rid of some of your clothes because it’s out of fashion, or it doesn’t fit any more, or you never really wore it much anyway. Your life is like that too, and you are in charge of what you keep and what you let go of. And just like your clothes closet, once you’ve let go of what’s no longer useful, you’ll feel the space and breathing room that you’ve created. You’ll also discover there is room for something new.  So you can once again open the door and welcome *abundance,* or wait awhile and revel in breathing.

Some people are natural networkers, natural riders, or natural artists. Though I work hard to be a good rider, am average at networking, and am a newbie to art, it turns out that I’m a natural organizer. Prioritizing all that I have to juggle comes easily, which allows me to be really productive and accomplish a lot. My friends remark frequently that they have no idea how I get so much done. I like to blend human being and human doing because that is what makes me feel the most energized. And I don’t feel that I have *time* management problems because my priorities and the choices I make are very clear to me. I do love down *time* too and grab my five minutes of doing nothing daily. It’s really amazing that when I feel pressured for *time* what five minutes can do to renew me. It’s like some of those riding principles – that what you need to do to resolve a riding problem is often just opposite of what it feels like you should do. So take a chance to try on these new ways of thinking and discover how you can appreciate and take advantage of all the abundance that surrounds you.

Lisa Derby Oden of Blue Ribbon Consulting with “Desi”

I’d love to hear from you about your *time* management challenges and successes, as well as other ideas that have worked for you. Feel free to contact me at: Lisa@blueribbonconsulting.com; or visit my website at www.blueribbonconsulting.com.

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