In our daily lives, where every minute is meticulously planned for maximum personal and professional productivity, telling you to take some time out to save time sounds weird. But that is our tip of the day – read the book Magical Timing at work: the art of finding time for yourself to finally do more than just being up to your eyeballs in it.

Who has never said “twenty-four hours in a day are not enough”? Who? You? Well, you’re lucky! Our relationship to time varies depending on our capacity to comprehend and manage it. The same goes for pain. Everybody’s reaction to the same situation is different, with the male gender often coming off worse when women accuse men of being less equipped to deal with discomfort. 

Not having enough time or desperately scrabbling to find some, whether we’ve got a lot of it and manage it badly or very little of it and feel overwhelmed, raises the question: how do we cope with our frenetic daily lives where results and optimisation count 24/7? How can we adopt “slow” lifestyles without losing momentum and feeling overwhelmed? This is one of the issues discussed in Diane Ballonad’s book Magical Timing.

Diane Ballonad Rolland, a woman who knows what she’s talking about

Magical Timing is the third book by Ballonad, an organisation and time management consultant and coach who specialises in achieving a good work-life balance. Ballonad loves writing and first became known on the web with her blog  zen-et-organisée.com (still available although there have been no new posts since May 2019)

What is her book about? The author herself is best placed to tell us!

I haven’t got time, I’m snowed under, I don’t know which way to turn, I’m tired, I’m too stressed, I can’t relax, I’m rushed off my feet all day. 

How many times a week do you say or hear one of those sentences?

At a time when more and more of us have the impression that everything happens too fast, Ballonad offers a new way to understand time in a laid-back and non-guilt inducing way. Become aware of your relationship to time and improve it.

Learn the art of taking a break, try waking up earlier or finding other suitable moments to make some time for yourself, give your loved ones your full attention.

And thanks to the notebook method, you can apply your new resolutions straightaway.

It is time to change the way you live each day! The book is divided into two parts – the first makes you aware of your relationship to time, and the second puts what you’ve learnt into practice.

Pages of notes.

Fifty key points to take back control of your time.

A practical notebook to help you take action.

Sounds a bit dubious when put like that, but the method presented in the book works remarkably well.

It starts with a detailed analysis, with no taboos or artifices, and then gives some pointers in the form of simple techniques and challenges that make changing our bad habits seem less daunting.

A dual approach that works to perfection! 

The first part of the book deftly puts the finger on exactly where it hurts. Good time management is within everyone’s reach but you need to really want to do it and be prepared to look closely at the way you live and function (not necessarily in great depth although this may be the case for some people). The first part of the book is about being aware. Even though today’s world requires us to be productive and efficient at work, it’s up to us how we use the rest of our time. Unfortunately, reading this book will not make our obligations disappear. You’ll still be rushed off your feet with stuff that needs doing yesterday, as they say, you won’t suddenly be freed of your parental responsibilities and the latest time for collecting your offspring from the nursery, and you’ll still be fifteen minutes late to your Pilates lesson every week. However, we are all capable of prioritising, reviewing, adjusting and cutting down on certain activities that waste precious time (you’re probably sensing the barely concealed reference to screen time and other superfluous activities where seconds quickly become hours). 

Reading the first part of book gave us a vague impression of already knowing the things that the author discussed, but it’s worth being reminded that there is a big gap between real life and the life you’d like. After throwing us into state of panic, the second part reassuringly provides concrete solutions to real-life situations and time management issues. 

It looks at the importance of sleep, time management at work and sets us challenges to test our own motivation to change things as well as the quality of the suggested methods. This second half is a packed (but digestible) read full of practical, common-sense advice, and fascinating tips. 

If we want to avoid burnout, enjoy daily chores that up to now we’ve considered a necessary evil, take back control (even just a little bit) of parts of our life that have become unmanageable, rediscover the pleasure of doing nothing for a few hours and re-examine our priorities, we need to make sure we ask the right questions and this book certainly does that in spades.

In short, it’s the perfect summer reading companion!