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Do you acknowledge the invisible lines that exist in our calendar in-between tasks, appointments and events? These could be preparing for bed, talking to your partner or kids, thinking through lunch for the week, and checking email. I didn’t think so. When we can unlock the power in these gaps, we will increase both our productivity and our delight. I used to repeatedly start my day in soon to be shattered bliss as if what was written down in my calendar would absolutely come to pass. Conversations with coaching clients awoke in me a lifelong practice: Transition time.
Make the Route Visible
Being realistic and prepared requires we consistently insert transition time into our schedules. It is invisible until you stop wondering why you never get through your daily to-dos and accept that intentional gaps really do matter. If the journey is the destination, then transition time makes the route clearly visible.
Are you convinced yet that transition time is a large and significant part of each of our days? Face it – these invisible lines could even be HALF of our waking hours. It is like the oil that greases the wheel – without using this time effectively, we feel that we are being ‘cheated’, that we are just not organized enough, or worse, that life is too complicated to really enjoy and I had just better lower my expectations.
Guidelines to Befriending Transition Time
As someone continually deepening my transition time practice, here are my best guidelines to achieve your goals and minimize your frustration:
1. Before each day starts, either at night or first thing in the morning, visualize yourself going from one line item to the next. How long will it really take you to pack a snack, fill your water bottle and get to your destination, including parking and stopping at the bathroom because you hydrated on the way?
2. Schedule time between each appointment/meeting. No 9-10 and 10-11 drama. Think about what you might need or want to do in between each line – water, food, bathroom, reflection, debrief? Transitions are moments of recharge, not distractions to our “important” goals.
3. When life swings you by the surprise transition tail – be compassionate and breathe deeply before entering a gathering that has already started. Your energy is palpable and the important thing is that you have arrived. Smile and walk calmly to a seat, leaving the closest one open for whoever may arrive after you!
4. Keep your aspirations high. Being clear-eyed about transition time will focus your energy rather than dissipate it with apologies and self-berating thoughts.
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” Lao-tzu
Begin today to notice and affirm that the in-between matters, remembering that transition time is each day’s glue if we use it correctly.