Balance & Beyond Podcast
#4: Beyond the Clock: Navigating Time in a Fast-Paced World
When you never have enough time...
In today's hustle-driven world, we often overlook the importance of intentionally slowing down to be completely present in the moment. In this eye-opening conversation, we explore the ancient wisdom of time, and how our hustle-driven culture has completely devalued one of these types of time to our detriment. Through our discussion, you'll discover the consequences of neglecting this powerful state of being and how living without it can hasten the path to burnout.
Listen in as we share practical strategies for activating and building this muscle, which will improve your productivity, boost creativity and enable you to connect with those you love on a deeper level.
It’s time to stop our obsession with the clock and embrace our humanness in an increasingly robotic world, allowing for a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Here's a glimpse of what awaits you in this episode:
- Discover the origins of our time-based culture where efficiency and output are valued above all else
- What stops us getting into flow more often, and how this is robbing us of deep fulfilment
- Why the rise of AI makes accessing both types of time crucial to your future success
- How to tell the difference between procrastination and flow
- How to rediscover your creativity and collapse time
Never miss an episode!
Sign up for hints, tips and insights relevant for your life
INTRO: Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance, where your career, relationships and health all thrive, and where you have the power to define success on your own terms. I honour the space you’ve created for yourself today, so take a breath, and let's dive right in…
Jo: Time. The great leveler. The thing that we can never get more of, and yet we spend our lives chasing it. Today, I want to share some wisdom from the ancient Greeks that we all need to grasp, and embed into our being.
The ancient Greeks actually had two words for time. One was “Kronos”, which may sound familiar, as the root of what we now call chronological. And they also had another word for time, which is called “Kairos.” This is the type of time that we have forgotten and completely devalued. So today I'm going to share with you a little bit about these two types of time, share why we've forgotten what should be our most important and, importantly, how can we now get into both of these types of time and have better balance? Because that's what this is all about.
Kronos, according to the ancient Greeks, was measured, ticking, quantitative time that is built around clocks. We spend a lot of our life talking about saving it, efficiency, being better organized, all with this type of time in mind. We live our lives by it. We spend our days watching the clock. This is how we are spending most of our time in today's world.
The other type of time Kairos is what the ancient Greeks used to call, “Deep time”, or maybe you've heard it as, “Flow time”, and this is where time actually collapses, and the world outside of what you're doing stops. Some people call this “Being in the zone.” When you're in Kairos time, you are in the present moment, and you are not at all worried about yesterday or tomorrow. It's literally the time when time stops.
And for many people, that might be a moment of joy with the kids, maybe it's a walk in nature, maybe it's those nights you occasionally have out with your girlfriends, where you sit down with a glass of bubbles and click your fingers, and suddenly four hours have gone by and you've completely lost track of time. What's really interesting is that when you lift your head up from being in Kairos time, whether you've been in it for 10 seconds or four hours, you always feel great. You feel fabulous! And it's what we need to feel whole, you must have both. Yes, we live by a society that is dictated by a clock. However, if you never get any Kairos time, you are always left wanting.
So what I find fascinating is not just to understand these two types of time, but in fact, what stops us getting into Kairos time then, if it's the time that we actually need? Well, to be honest, it's the belief that it's less important. We, as a society, have decided that Kronos time matters more. If we get into Kairos, we might waste Kronos. “Oh my gosh, we might waste time.” And when you're a woman who lives in my world, you're probably going to feel guilty for wasting time because you've got so much to do. And we can't possibly take any time for ourselves, we can't possibly get into flow, because we don't have time for that.
It’s this hustle driven culture we have, where it's always about better, faster, more and efficiency, where we've completely diminished Kairos time and considered it unproductive, weak, superfluous. “That's only for, I don't know, hippies, or that's only for artists.” “That's only for creative people who have time to get in the flow.” “I've got too much stuff to get done. I definitely don't have time for that.” But what's ironic, is that when we get into Kairos, that is actually where we find our creativity, it's where we find our fulfillment. And it's also where we deeply connect to others.
And as we move into this new era of AI, where Kronos is going to continue to collapse, where the time it takes to do something is much less. Now we might have to format a PowerPoint presentation, well soon we're just going to give an AI a prompt, and it's going to make it look beautiful. Now, you don't have to come up with a lot of things, you can just type a prompt in and out it comes. So, this quest for efficiency is going to continue.
Who remembers, back in the day, when we thought, “Oh my gosh”, I remember when I first got my BlackBerry, “I'm going to be so much faster, the Internet will save us so much time, and I won’t have to go through all those encyclopedias to find that information anymore. It's at the tip of my fingertips.” We all know that now having 20,000 things at our fingertips, just means we can get 20,000 more things done.
What is going to become crucial to your fulfillment and success in future, is going to be consciously activating and building your Kairos muscle. Getting into creativity, finding those ideas, finding the prompts, or asking the right questions of others, looking through other humans, finding the humanness in all of us. As we are going to, perhaps, move into a world that is a bit more robotic, a bit more stale, how do you find inspiration? It's going to be so crucial. Not to mention ensuring that you don't burn out.
Because, I have seen a trend, if you think about these two types of time, where women who are only ever living by Kronos, and never give themselves permission for any type of Kairos time, for any type of flow time burn out faster. And it's in the mistaken belief that they don't have time for Kairos. And yet the ancient Greeks, many of our great philosophers, saw both as equal.
As you start to think about, “Alright, well, let me get into some Kairos time.” The first thing that's going to come up, this is going to give you an idea of what blocks you have in your mindset. What limiting beliefs, as I call them, or “weeds in your garden”, are going to stop you doing this? The first thing that's going to come up is you're going to say, “I don't have time for this. I’ve got too much stuff to get done.” We say, “Hello guilt, hello shame, hello frustration”. And, ironically, if you ever give yourself permission for Kairos time, then you're going to feel guilty for getting into it. Because you think, “Oh, I spent too much time on that, I got lost.” But really all that's happening here, is that your muscle isn't built, and you're not placing equal footing on both of these types of time.
Now, I want to make a key distinction here. There is a difference between wasting Kronos, and getting into Kairos time. By that I mean, when you are feeling so overwhelmed by the ticking of the clock, and by how much you have to do, and all the things on your list. Very often, we will end up procrastinating. We will find solace in the solidarity of the scroll on whatever platform, whether you're playing Candy Crush, or whether you're scrolling socials. That is actually just an avoidance of Kronos. Because that is not deep, fulfilling, fill up your cup time, which is what Kairos is.
Usually, as we become older, Kairos has to be something that we intentionally step into. Because our lives are dictated by so much Kronos, we have to actually use our Kronos time to make space for the Kyros. So, booking in that massage, and not feeling guilty about it. Giving yourself time to go to bed early, and get lost in that book. Going out with friends, and not having a return time, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, or going out for that coffee. That is what matters. That is true Kairos time.
So, I wanna make sure you're aware of the distinction here, because some people will say things like, “Oh, I've got time when I get in the flow, when I'm scrolling.” No, that's called numbing your emotions. There is a very, very big difference. It's pretty rare that somebody comes off spending 20 minutes scrolling ,feeling better about themselves, or feeling like the cup is full. Usually, they just feel even more numb, and they feel frustrated and angry, because they haven't done what they needed to do.
Everything I do is about mindset and strategy. You always have to have both. You can't just have the mindset and go, “I'm gonna think positive”, and then never have any tools to back it up. And likewise, so many people have tools, and yet they don't have the right mindset, and so they're not going to land.
Perhaps the case for you is, maybe you've even forgotten how to actually get into Kairos in the first place. I have so many women I talk to who say, “Jo, I don't even exist in my life.” “I am an Uber Driver, I'm a Chef, I'm a laundromat person, I take care of everybody else, I work, I’m a Mrs., I'm a manager, I'm a daughter, I'm a friend, I look after everybody else. Yet, I’ve got no idea how to actually get in flow time.” “What does that look like?” And perhaps some of the activities that you used to do to get in flow, as a child or as a teenager, aren't available to you anymore, perhaps the body doesn't allow it. Or perhaps circumstances have changed. Maybe you don't now live on a farm, and that's what we used to do as a kid. But that doesn't mean that you can't do it.
And I will say that, when it comes to getting into Kairos time, it is actually way more about mindset than it is about strategy. Because as soon as you give yourself permission to get into Kairos, and you decide that it matters, you decide that it's important, even if you have to block it out of Kronos time, and not say it's a waste of time. Say “You know what? For my health, for my mental health, for my wellness, for my financial freedom, I have to do this. It matters.”
When you start to give yourself permission, it will naturally come in and fill the space. Especially when you don't laden it with guilt and shame. And why would your brain or your body want to get into this beautiful flow time, if at the same time, it's like, “Oh, lose track of time.” “But you've wasted time.” “Lose track of time, get in the flow.” “But you're doing it all wrong.” “Just get lost and relax!” “But do you know how much you have to do?!” These voices are brutal. And if you don't control them, they will starve you of this beautiful opportunity you have to fill yourself up.
So, I'm going to ask you today, “What new beliefs do you actually need?” Or, another way of saying this is, “What different mindset do you need, about Kairos time, to allow you to get just a little bit of it into your day?” Heck, even just start putting it in once a week. And my preference is that you don't go straight to, perhaps the easy things, like “I’ll book in a massage” or “I’ll book in a mannie peddie.” They are, I call them, kind of “pink washing self care.”
Now, I love a good massage, do not get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, there is beauty in finding Kairos in the every day. Even if you have to time box a little bit. Can you grab your cup of tea and go and sit outside and look at a tree of some description, or some form of nature and simply get lost in it? Is there a hobby that you love? Do you play an instrument? Do you just love listening to a beautiful piece of music? Do you like playing a sport? Do you like playing games? What is something you can do, where you get lost in it?
I know one of the things I took up a few years ago was getting back into playing netball. And I play it with an awesome group of mums, who are mostly local, and the netball court is a place where time can stand still. Although, I must say, at the end of four quarters playing center, like I did recently, the body was screaming to me going “Enough, enough, enough”, and I was very, very aware of every minute that passed. However, generally, that's a beautiful blend, everything in life is balanced.
Everything is about saying, “Well, okay, I'm going to get lost in this time. I'm just going to be completely in the moment.” And sport is great for that, because you're only ever looking for the next pass, or the next kick, or the next goal, or you are just living moment to moment, and that is what Kairos is. There's no worry about yesterday, or the shot that you just missed, or what's going to come, or what happens on the next one, you are only dealing with what is right in front of you.
Ultimately, if you think about it, that's what meditation is. Your meditation is simply focusing on the now. Whether it's your breath, whether it's somebody's words, that's getting you into Kairos time, and it actually changes your brain in so many ways. So, as you go about your day today, I really encourage you to ask yourself “What mindset do I have about Kairos time?” Even simply listening to this podcast is going to make you say, “Hmm, I don't have time for that.” Well, there is your first clue about your mindset about it.
And if the ancient Greeks thought it one of the most crucial things that we balance our time, how can you take their wisdom and say “If I want to stop burning out, if I want more time for me, if I want to be fulfilled, if I want to be content, if I want to find this peace, what if I start valuing my Kairos time just as highly as I do my Kronos?” If you can make a plan, if you have to, to get lost in time so that you can actually be more efficient for the time that you do have.
And this is where going and staring at a tree for 10 minutes helps your brain decompress. And so for the remainder of the 50 minutes, you're actually going to be more productive, not less. You've got to stop this belief that it's all about the clock, it's all about making more time, it's all about being more efficient, because that is categorically not the case. I know, and you probably know this too, those days when you take some time out, when you feed yourself, when you nourish your body, you are much better. And I tell you what: a woman who is running on fumes and working on the couch at 11.30 at night, is not in Kairos time and she is likely not effective, and she is not productive.
So, that's your challenge for this week, for today, for whenever you're listening to this. What can you do to create some new beliefs, and gift yourself just a little bit of Kairos time? You're going to find that it makes the world of difference.
OUTRO: Thank you for joining us today on the Balance and Beyond Podcast. We're so glad you carved out this time for yourself. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend who might need to hear this today. And if you're feeling extra generous, leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice would mean the world. If you’re keen to dive deeper into our world, visit us at www.balanceinstitute.com to discover more about the toolkit that has helped thousands of women avoid burnout and create a life of balance, and beyond. Thanks again for tuning in, and we'll see you next time on the Balance & Beyond Podcast.
Want more episodes?
Visit our podcast library for more episodes that will help you discover the world of balance, and beyond