If I take nothing else from September, it will stand as a useful example of time non-management and clear evidence to rebuff one of our favourite limiting beliefs that at some point in the future we’ll have more time.
Summer was acceptably chaotic. The school holidays started the end of June and by the 4th July I had started the first of The Abundant Coach programmes with twelve energetic, up-for-it coaches who wanted to build their coaching business.
There were two trips over to London to find emotional freedom, a jaunt to Dublin, parents and sister to be looked after on their trip to Tipperary, holidays in Mayo and a crazy friend plus children to stay.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off way more than I could chew. As Frank did. But I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.
So September was going to be a breeze.
September is a lovable month. We stand in sunshine and make plans for the remainder of the year. It’s the annual second stab we get at goal-setting and powerful intentions while the sun on our backs makes us strong and hopeful for the future.
And the children are back at school.
That we love our children is not in question. That we can relish the first day of the summer holidays knowing we have weeks to let them run free and sleep late is undisputed.
And that when September approaches and we can kit them out and pack them back off to school is a delight that never diminishes, for this mother anyway.
It isn’t easy combining motherhood and work. It gets harder when you’re working for yourself and doing that from home – and I accept that if you’re a mother who works for someone else and has to commute twice a day you undoubtedly feel it’s even harder for you. Let’s not fall out over this one. Motherhood’s a challenge for lots of us.
So September arrived and with it a new school and new regime. Now, when school finishes for the day, the children get out on the sports field or into the music rooms, swimming pool or debating hall, then it’s tea and study before they are picked up and taken home at 8.15pm. For an only child living in a rural area it’s got a lot to recommend it. For a mother wanting to focus on building her business empire it’s a very sexy prospect indeed.
I got through the summer juggling balls with gusto and without recourse to pills or alcohol. I had a vision you see. Soon September was coming and then life would be unrecognisable. The house would be a haven of tidy calm. The animals would be fed, groomed and content. My office would be a place of bustling organisation. I’d be in the gym on rainy days and out walking the lanes on the sunny ones. I’d have a swimming rota, I’d visit the sick, have weekly coffee mornings and finish my e-book. I’d find my north star, re-focus my business and wash the car.
After all, when one has twelve uninterrupted hours each day or sixty each week, there is no excuse for anything less ambitious than having, doing and being anything you want.
I now however have certifiable scientific evidence that stuff expands to fit the time available. Do you know what I mean when I talk about stuff? I mean everything that is unintentional. I wouldn’t have begrudged planting up herbs for the kitchen windows, sweaty hours in the gym or daily sorties discovering where in South Tipp one finds the best cafe ambiance.
I wouldn’t even have minded digging out clothes for Africa or decluttering the pig shed. There would have been a sense of achievement if I’d planned that and been able to tick it off my list.
I don’t for one moment mean that every hour has to be allocated, that life has to be one endless stream of things to do. I just wish I’d done more of the things that were important instead of being so intoxicated by the vision of 60 hours that I knew today didn’t matter so much, there was always tomorrow.
I’ve worked hard in September, much too hard and the paradox is that doing this yields fewer results. It’s like putting all your effort into planting too many seeds in too small a patch of ground meaning none of them got the nurturing they needed to grow strong, nor did you have time to sit back and just enjoy them.
It’s been a useful lesson though. In October I’m planting a colourful variety though small number of seeds. I’m focussing my attention on them. And giving myself permission to take time off and have fun too.