630-484-2336 ben@bedo.org

Yes, I’ll admit it.  I’m late with this newsletter.  (Tragically late, in fact.  Unless you didn’t notice, then I’m right on time.)  But I’ve got a really good reason.  Not only that, but I’ve made an amazing discovery in the process on how to stretch time.  And it’s all because I was really busy not doing my taxes.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Taxes taught me how to stretch time.


Let me explain. We all know every year it’s the same thing. April comes around and we put all our exciting and motivating success and fulfillment building projects aside so we can focus our energy on the tedious task of not doing our taxes.  And it’s never an easy process isn’t it?

Sure, every year after it’s all over, I say to myself a resolute promise that “Next year, I will be more prepared. I will set up my Quicken files so that tax time is a snap. And not only that, but every month, I’ll get up to date with all my receipts and reconcile all my statements and be up to date with all my finances. This way it’s not all piled up, hanging over my head, just waiting for me not to do it.

However, no matter how solemn I swear, every year it’s the same thing. And every month throughout the year, I spend a considerable amount of time not doing a few hours here and a few hours there. And of course, when April comes around, I know I can look forward to many nights and weekends spent not working on my taxes. What’s so staggering is how much time and energy is spent in the process. Time and energy that I could apply elsewhere.

What makes it even more exciting is that no matter how much I not do it, I know that tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, those taxes are still there, waiting to be done, which means that I’ll spend even more time not doing them.

When I look at all the time I spend not doing my taxes or marketing or whatever else is going on, the day seems to last forever. And if it’s on a deadline, that’s even better. Why then, the day will last just about forever.

And here’s where we learn how to actually stretch time.

The formula is quite simple:  If I want to stretch time, then I turn my attention to something that I should do. The more “urgent” it is, the more pressing it needs to be done, the better. If I play it right, and spend my energy not doing it, I can make the day feel like 32 or even something like 43 hours long. (Heck, there have been some days when I could swear it was close to 52 hours long.) The extra bonus is how much more tired I am after those days. And why not? I mean, I just somehow managed to cram 43 hours into a 24-hour period.  That takes some talent, and energy. And if I really not apply myself, I just may have the same task to not do the next day. Why, I could make the whole week feel like a month.  In truth, it took me a weekend to catch up on receipts and expenses, and then only about 4 hours to actually fill out the forms, and yet, I think I did a pretty spectacular job of stretching that out for at least a good three months. No easy feat and perhaps, I humbly admit, should only be left to the professionals. (By the way, the irony is not lost on me that not doing my taxes ended up being quite taxing.)

However, if I want to condense time, then all I need to do is shift my focus to something that connects with my values or fulfillment. When I’m immersed in an activity that I’m engaged and enthusiastic about, when I’m working on an exciting project, or when I’m connecting with my clients, then the day just shoots by, sometimes feeling like 18 or even only 12 hours long.  Shucks, there have been some days when I was so connected and alive that I could swear it lasted only 4 hours long.


And I realize, it’s not just not doing taxes that creates this phenomena. It’s all the other things on my “to do” list that I can not do. Cleaning the house, paying bills, working out, marketing my coaching—I’ve got a wealth of opportunities to stretch my day and if I play it right, I could make the week feel like an entire month, or longer… just by simply not doing what needs to be done.  Talk about living forever.

Of course, if I’m not careful, I could start doing something that I truly love, and ruin it all. Case in point, while usually it takes me about two or three hours to create a BITS newsletter like this, I have masterfully managed to make this one last a good two weeks, all by not doing it. However, now that I’m connected and engaged and “in the flow” the day is ripping by and this newsletter is just cranking out. In no time the day will have completely passed and I’ll be heading off to bed, and all I’ll have to show for it are a bunch of accomplishments.


So what about you?

What is it that you’re not doing? And how well are you not doing it? 

How well are you stretching your time, or condensing it?

Go ahead. Pick two things to practice with: something that you love to do–that connects directly to your values and aliveness–, and something that you really should do, (even better, something that can trigger your fears and anxieties). Now, set the timer. Spend a whole hour focusing on the thing that you should do. Notice how much time and energy is spent not doing it. See? You’re a pro. It’s actually pretty easy when you put your mind to it.

After that, set the timer again and turn your attention to that thing that you absolutely love–playing with your spouse or dog, surfing the internet, listening to great music, spending time with your friends. Notice how quickly that hour goes by now.

Which one do you prefer?


You can even apply this to your coaching.

Notice how there are some sessions that seem like they will last forever. “Dear Lord, won’t this call even end? How much time do we have left? What? We’ve only been talking for five minutes? It feels like two hours.” Congratulations, by focusing on how hard it is, and not connecting with your client or your values you have successfully stretched time. Then there are those clients where you feel like you’re “in the zone” and you’re completing your time and it’s as though you just got started.  Well done, you’ve condensed time.


So now that you’re becoming a master of time, it’s up to you to use this power properly. Are you going to rip through your life, quickly, full of fulfillment and ease? Or are you going to really drag it out and make your day last? (Or you could really go the extra mile and NOT make this choice.)

It’s up to you. Do you want feel like your day lasted a lifetime, or that your lifetime lasted a day?