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How to Make Friends with Father Time

How to Make Friends with Father Time

Do you have trouble managing your time?

We’re all given the same 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and approximately 672-744 hours in a month (give or take a couple of hours, depending on the length of the month). Depending on how you look at those numbers, it might seem as if there is a lot of time available to you or perhaps it may seem as if there is a very small amount of time for you to use.

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While you can’t physically change the amount of time in a day, week or month, the good news is that you can change your approach and attitude towards time.

Learning how to better manage your time is as simple as learning to view time as a friend, not a foe.  

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Follow the below tips to improve your relationship with good ol’ Papa Time to make the most of your time and get more things done.

How to Make Friends with Father Time

1. Put time into your relationship.

It takes time to grow any relationship, even with Father Time himself! Devote time to research new time management skills and techniques. You’ll also need a healthy dose of patience as you improve your relationship to time. Take it slow as you grow into your new role.

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2. Take a break and spend some time apart.

It might seem silly for me to tell you to take some time away from time, but it can be helpful take a break from your time management efforts. Learning how to better manage your time is one thing; become so preoccupied with the task that you forget or fail to do your work is another. Time management shouldn’t overwhelm, nor should it overcome your life. Review your schedule, learn new tips and tricks to better manage your calendar, but don’t let it become the only thing you do over the course of a day, week, or a month.

3. Be there for the good times… and the bad.

Are you a fair weather friend when it comes to time? Do you only celebrate your schedule or calendar when you have all the time you asked for or a whopping amount of free time? Life isn’t always about smooth moments; it’s also about the bumpy moments and how you make the most out of those bumpy moments. Be creative, resourceful and ask for help in your time of need. Be grateful for the time you do have available at your disposal, no matter how little time it may seem is available. One thing’s for certain, that time won’t be around tomorrow!

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4. Don’t point fingers.

It’s not healthy to put the blame on time for all the things you know you should have done in a timely fashion, be it running errands, finishing a report or picking up supplies for a party. Pointing fingers and insisting on whose fault it was only takes up the valuable time that you have available to you. It’s fine to be frustrated and annoyed, but let the moment pass and move on.

5. Remember that time will always be there for you.

As I mentioned earlier, Father Time gives you 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and approximately 700 hours in a month. That’s quite a reliable friend on whom you can count! Why not strive to make the most out of your friend’s generosity? If something in your life doesn’t happen when you want it to happen (no matter how much you try to make it happen) give it time, take a break or take a moment to rest and relax. You can pick up with your work soon enough.

After reading this article, will you start improving your relationship with Father Time right away?

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Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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