The Paradox of Time: creating your own sense of urgency abroad

I’ll admit it, time is my friend. I’m a procrastinator. Tidying the house? Tomorrow. Writing my blog? Day after. Finalising my brochure? Tomorrow night. But if I’m too tired, the day after is ok too.

The other day I was at a Master Class by Inspire Brunei and I realised I’m missing a sense of urgency in my life. Our anticipated moving date is about 2 years away. I’ve finished my coaching degree, the deadlines of which kept me on my toes for months.

Getting my kids to school in the morning, that is about as urgent as it gets.

Dreams, Projects and Deadlines

Still, I have dreams and projects. A dream to set up an online program for expats in addition to my coaching work. A dream to help other change their lives. A project to capture our life in China in a photo album.

Back home there were always deadlines in my jobs. In China there was never enough time to get everything done that I wanted, working, studying, exploring all in addition to becoming a Mum.

But now that my life has found a rhythm here in Brunei, time seems to fill itself. Coffee dates, volunteering at the school, ferrying the kids to their after school programs, the days fly by effortlessly. If I’m not careful, there is little time left for what I love doing: coaching and training.

The Paradox of Time

One of my friends warned me when I moved here: life in the tropics moves at a slower pace. Now I know what she means.

I call it the Paradox of Time. The more time you have, the less you get done. The busier you are and the less time you seem to have, the more you get done.
And before you know it, you’re moving again and you did not do what you dreamt of before coming.

Creating Urgency

For my own action plan, I am using the following principles to create my sense of urgency.

Focus: instead of making a wish list of everything I’d love to get done some day, I am trying to focus on what parts of my Life Vision I really want to get done now. Because I also want to spend time with my children, I can’t do everything I want. And sitting behind the computer all day is not exactly what I want either.

Creating deadlines: the purpose of exams in a way- there is a deadline that makes you sit down and study. Deadlines that are too far away do not work (hello inner procrastinator!), so I will break them up into “smaller” deadlines- what I want to get done this week, month, et cetera.

Plan: yes, planning is key. Put appointments with yourself in your agenda. Tomorrow after school drop off until 10.30 AM I will work on my marketing materials. Friday’s will be my blog writing days. Tools like your Google Agenda or a Bullet Journal will help, or a dedicated tool such as the Passion Planner or the Dutch Purpuz

Accountability and support: one of the reasons why coaching works so well is because it creates accountability. By saying out loud what you want to achieve to another person, you create accountability. Also try and find people who have similar goals to you. For example, a friend who finds doing an online study alone can get lonely, initiated Study Together sessions to engage with other students, to have someone to enjoy breaks with and to support each other.

This article by Adam Sicinsky has a lot of great tips: Achieve More by Choosing To Live With a Sense of Urgency. 

What about you?

Which dreams and projects did you have in mind before moving abroad? Finding a job, doing online study, writing a book, raising funds for your favourite good cause, getting in shape? Start creating your own sense of urgency, even if it is just baby steps– spending 15 minutes looking for job adverts or 15 minutes exercising is 300 minutes a month. Celebrate your little successes to motivate yourself. Because before you know, you’ll be packing moving boxes again.

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