Emotional time management and your circumstances

Emotional time management and your circumstances

Can we choose how we want to feel and live according to those wishes? What triggers your emotions, and is the situation really the main driver of your emotions? If you plan your time according to how you want to feel, what can it add to your life?

Are your reasons logical or emotional?

Why do people decide to change their job? Their reasons can be both logical and emotional. 

Most people will list out practical reasons why they want a new job; more money, more opportunities, a better commute. People hope that with the new position, it will come with an anticipated set of positive emotions in the long term, in particular they want to feel happy and fulfilled. If you want to change jobs for a logical or practical reason, like those listed above, it’s a good idea to listen to your emotional drivers as well. If you don’t, you risk changing to a position that makes you feel unsatisfied.

This is also relevant to other areas of life, we want to feel loved, happy and successful.

How did you feel today?

We’re all so busy nowadays that we don’t take time to think about our feelings. That changes when we experience some major crisis, health issues, relationship problems, money problems or quarantine. These moments can give us an opportunity to think about how we’re feeling. What were your main emotions today? Mainly positive or mainly negative?

What is the most powerful way to live your life?

Imagine swapping the way you do things and planning your day differently, instead of:

  • I will do these things → I will feel this

You plan as such:

  • I want to feel this → I will do these things

Research suggests that 40% of people’s happiness and well-being is a result of intentional activity, i.e. a deliberate decision to do activities that make them happy. The other 60% was down to things outside our control and genetic factors.  What does this mean for us? We can’t determine everything that happens in our life, but we can effect the emotions we feel through our intentional actions

This is emotional time management, deciding how you want to feel and planning how you’ll get there.

A car accident

In my early twenties I was run down by a drunk driver and had to spend two months in hospital. Two months lying in a shared hospital room as other patients came and went. One of the first ladies I shared a room with behaved in a very ugly way to their staff. I decided I’d be different, I’d be sure to be kind to the people who were trying to do their best to help me. 

I was careful to stay in a good mood, smile at them and do what I was asked. It was very satisfying to have the physiotherapy nurse say that she always looked forward to exercising with me. I was very proud of myself.

That was a long time ago, but in hindsight, I’ve realised I was doing emotional time management. Circumstances were pretty terrible, the girl stuck in a hospital bed for two months. I was able to split time into several phases, early morning, morning, lunch, visiting time, evening routines and sleep. I kept myself entertained. I wanted to feel as good as possible so I planned my time.

Where to start with emotional time management?

Every change requires some self-awareness and self-reflection. You can start by plotting an emotional time axis. Draw a line representing your day, and split the line into the regular phases of your day (e.g getting up, time before work, work, time after work). Write the emotions that you recall. 

Next think about what emotions you’d like to feel. It’s about what emotions you’d like to feel most of the time. Write these down on a new axis.

There will always be bad days, but the target is to have as many good days as possible.

Start slowly, choose the emotion that you want to feel most of the time and decide what activities will bring that about. Design the relevant routines that will enable this. 

Remember logic makes you think, emotions make you act. Use your brain, but listen to your heart. What do you need to do to feel how you want to feel?