“Time doesn’t care about losers George!” “Time goes fast, use it well.” My grandmother still echoes in my head. My teachers at school and my parents also used to yell at me about my daydreaming. Since my earliest memories I only had to close my eyes to see and experience strange beings and new worlds, abstract forms, music and whatever the I wanted. I love(d) spending time in that world and disappeared into that safe home base. I sure hope it never disappears because it has been and still is the source of everything Ive achieved in my work and life. My night dreams process my past, but my daydreams shape my future.
It wasn’t a real problem when I was very young to disappear in my own inner world. But in primary school it became more difficult. Suddenly there were tasks that had to be completed in time. That got worse in high school, college and later in my careers. Other people’s calendars, scheduled appointments and deadlines became increasingly important. The clock was an essential tool. But for me, the 7-dimensional universe of my fantasy was more important. Time and space played no role there. That caused irritation and regular conflict. My environment got angry with me about my carelessness with their clock. And I became frustrated because I couldn’t deal with the time limitations in their world.
To stay true to my own fantasies and make them come true in the real world, I learned to time my actions. Like a cat hunts for mice, I hunted for the right moment to mould the outer world after what I had imagined in my inner world. The more I focused on chances, the more “windows of opportunity” occurred.
Chronos, Kairos, Aion in projects, programs and your life
Over time I learned that I was not the only one struggling with this. The Greeks coined words to describe the three types of time that I talked about: chronos, Kairos, Aion. I knew Aion well. It is infinite time in the world of ideas. Chronos is clock-time that advanced in a linear, measured way. And Kairos represents time measured in moments (of opportunity) rather than time measured in minutes.
Much of our day, projects and often also day programs and conferences are controlled by chronos. I have worked as a host in programs that looked like this: 2pm Opening, 2.03pm: Movie, 2.07pm Explanation of the program, 2.09pm, etc. While this works fine as a starting point, I always negotiate slack. I want the audience to forget about time. Or, in other words, transport them to Aion. I suggest that we can plan in minutes, but when we execute we must time on moments. Or even better, let’s just say we’ll do the opening, the movie, explanation of the program, etc. from 2pm to 2.15pm. We’ll plan 5 minutes of nothing to have a buffer. And so on.
That allows the program to breath. If and when a topic becomes “hot” in a keynote, you can seize that moment (kairos). And take some time to elaborate by interacting with the audience, interview the speaker or add some depth. Without exception, this type of programming results in high energy and exciting days. Audiences start to get into the groove. They feel they are liberated from the conflict between chronos, Aion and Kairos. When these three timelines work together it causes a deeper satisfaction and often transformation and growth.
Three steps: from time management to energy management
However, we mostly think in terms of or-or instead of and-and. So we try to figure out which timeline is best although we know that there all present at the same time. So many time management systems emphasize one timeline: chronos. You set goals with a deadline, create action lists and place them in your agenda.
That works well, especially if you start with time management. But if you limit yourself to chronos in the long term, time management will be diminished to micro-managing minutes.
But you can work with all timelines at the same time. Move through time and space to the desired outcome using Aion (effect in my IDEAL Cycle). By doing that you will install awareness of the desired end result. Once you have a clear feeling and picture of the outcome, you can make some to-do list to start working. The awareness of the outcome will you when there’s a “window of opportunity” (kairos). It will allow you to let go of what you’ve planned, seize the moment or create moments while you’re working on the project.
- Aion. Turn reactive goals into creative goals. Don’t use what you need, must or can do as a starting point. Start feeling an visualizing the reality you love to be in first. Select an area (for example, relationship, work, personal growth, hobby). Then move to Aion time and allow yourself to imagine that future reality. Treat this vision as a memory and fully imagine the product, the process, the situation, the skill or whatever you want to achieve.
- Chronos. Look at your current situation and the differences with where you want to end up. Make a list of actions and schedule them.
- Kairos. In 1. you connected to your future. You can feel and see the reality you want to create. That installs a form of conscience or intuition. The moment you do something that does not help you achieve your goals, you will sense it. Or, you will intuitively notice when an opportunity occurs. Respond to what you feel and deviate from your schedule. Evaluate your actions, adjust and move on.
Integrating all three timelines keeps the momentum going and keeps your energy levels high.