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« Overcome Procrastination with Checklists | Main | Where is your time going? »

Time Freedom: The Black Cloud Hunt

The concept of “time freedom” is far preferable to that of “time management”. I define it as being the freedom to have a productive and useful life, the freedom to have fun and enjoy oneself, the freedom to be fulfilled and above all the freedom to be oneself.

As a first step towards time freedom, I suggest you use one of the tools I describe in “Do It Tomorrow” - the Current Initiative. This is a project which you do some work on first thing every day before starting on any other work. Why not make going on a “Black Cloud Hunt” into your Current Initiative for the next few weeks?

“Black Clouds” are all the things that are hovering over you in the shape of unresolved tasks and issues that you haven’t got round to facing up to yet. Get rid of these black clouds and you will experience a new sense of freedom and energy.

As an example, a while ago I became aware that I was beginning to feel restricted and tense. My sense of the abundance of time had vanished and in its place was an oppressive sense that time was in short supply. I could feel that a black cloud had taken up residence over my head!

Once I decided to examine what it was exactly that was making up this black cloud, I realised immediately that I had been putting off the preparations for a series of seminars that I was due to be giving a few weeks later. So I made preparing for these seminars the first thing I did every day in accordance with the Current Initiative method.

In fact it only took me two days to be completely up to date with the preparations, and I found my sense of freedom had to a large extent come back. But I also realised that there were several other black clouds, smaller ones, which were still keeping me from experiencing full freedom. So I started to tackle each black cloud one by one.

The interesting thing is that the more one does this, the less tolerant one is of anything that gets in the way of your freedom. Once you start on a “black cloud” hunt, don’t stop until you have weeded every last one out of your life.

Reader Comments (3)

Wow! That sounds like powerful stuff and oh so true! Get the black clouds quick before the turn into a thunderstorm.
April 19, 2007 at 11:46 | Unregistered CommenterNicky Perryman
Hi Mark,

I'm surprised there aren't a stack of posts on this idea. Black clouds are something I have around and there are just so draining after a while, and often they are important things that are just painful to confront. You other ideas on using checklists to address these, and doing them first in the day, are both excellent, and I think the main thind is just to keep thinking about them and then just make a start, even the tiiest thing, which unsticks it.

The biggest gains are that you feel a lot better once you start on even the first step, and a huge lot better once it's cleared. I certainly had never realised how much they hold you back, and how guilty they make you feel. Mine have been things like sorting out health checks where there is a sense of wanting to avoid it. Happy to say this is now addressed and is another of those background black clouds blown over the horizon.

Keep up the good work Mark. I really like the post a day format,

April 27, 2007 at 13:05 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan
One definition of "bother": to bewilder; confuse. This perhaps suggests vagueness is the issue and maybe that's a pre-verbal response?

Writing is one way of surfacing that. Just let your hand write in response. It might come out as freely-written words here and there or even just a doodle or a picture.

A somatic approach might work too:

Some philosophy about it:
November 28, 2017 at 19:27 | Unregistered Commentermichael

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