I Need Counseling But Don't Have Time


By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything that is needed, wanted, or demanded?  Time seems to slip by unnoticed like a thief in the night who has taken all of your prized possessions with little satisfaction left over.  Minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days then years just disappear with hardly a remembrance of a fulfilled passion or dream.  The sadness looms over you and knowing that some direction, guidance, wisdom and counsel is absolutely essential just adds to the frustration of a ticking clock.

So when the stillness of the early morning hours finds you pondering random thoughts over and over, you finally give in and get up searching for answers.  Googling results in numerous blogs, all with helpful tips, but nothing really satisfies.  Praying brings some peace but nothing really changes.  Even if a friend was awake the conversation would result in a competition over how busy one person was over the other.  So what to do?

Organize time.  “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” has an amazing (admittedly unattainable) daily calendar with hour by hour mapping of time.  While your workday is most likely already on a calendar intermixed with demands of your family’s schedule, scheduling time for “your” activities should also be evident.  This should include days of intentional rest, time for exercise, time for friends and even time set aside for a fun activity.  If it is on the calendar it is likely to be done.

Prioritize time.  Steven Covey has a wonderful time matrix (see picture) separating daily tasks into priorities.  The beauty of this matrix is the more you focus on “Important, non-urgent” matters, the less will be forced into “Important, urgent”.   The exhaustion from constantly dealing with “Important, urgent” matters drains all of your creative energy because so much of it is needed just to overcome the challenge of the crisis at hand.

Identify wasted time.  Once life has been organized in time blocks and prioritized by importance, then huge time wasters will rise to the surface.  Time wasters of TV watching, busy work, and internet surfing are more obvious.  But the worst time wasters are yet to surface.  Time wasters of wishing things could be different, fantasying about winning the lottery, obsessing over the last comment your boss made, or replaying the argument with your husband are all wasted moments of opportunity.

Recognize productive time.  Gather all of the wasted time into an imaginary block of time and put it towards an “Important, non-urgent” issue.  Counseling and coaching both best belong in this category as they work towards goals.  Too often, however, people wait until in crisis mode because their marriage is falling apart or because of unemployment.  While counseling and coaching can be helpful during these times, this is crisis time and not the most productive time to be getting advice.

Most likely, there is time for counseling but things need to be reorganized and prioritized in order to get there.  Don’t wait; you won’t be disappointed with the results and maybe a few extra hours of sleep will actually happen for a change.

 

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