10/18/2013 06:21 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2013

Become a Time Alchemist

When I first got promoted to president of the Handel Group (a whopping three months ago) I had some serious issues with time. All of a sudden I was working two jobs (my new and my old), facing an enormous learning curve, having hours of training calls per week, all while trying to keep the other areas of life going well. It was a struggle. I would end each day feeling dissatisfied that I hadn't gotten even close to completing my "to-do" list. My email inbox was ballooning out of control. I felt antsy, stressed, and frustrated.

I won't claim to have perfected this yet, but I learned a lot about time very quickly and I think you'll benefit from hearing it. One of the most important lessons I learned was taught to me by Lauren Zander, co-founder of the Handel Group, who introduced me to the concept of "the alchemy of time." Sounds intriguing, right?

Before I learned about the "alchemy of time," I spent many of my days feeling dissatisfied with what I had scheduled. Some mornings, I would look at my planned day, and all the meetings I had scheduled, and groan. I just wanted a free hour to catch my breath. The meetings would come anyway, as they always do, and I would "survive" them. I'd think to myself: "If I can only get through this afternoon, then I can have a break!" Before I knew it, the day was over and I realized that I hadn't really enjoyed it at all. That's not very inspiring.

As soon as I clearly saw that I was spending my days suffering like this, I knew it was time to change! It is an utter waste of my life's energy to spend my time suffering through my days. It was time to become an alchemist of time.

Just as an alchemist transforms "normal" metals into gold, an alchemist of time transforms normal occurrences into golden opportunities. Whether it's a meeting with a board of directors, a conversation with an unruly employee, or an hour spent with financial projections, an alchemist finds the opportunity to make a difference, to create a touch of magic, to deeply connect with someone, to learn something. An alchemist sees the possibility for gold in everything they do. There is never a "wasted" hour, or a feeling of lack.

I'm already feeling quite a bit more magical, and I've only been practicing this context for a few months. In addition, once I decided to become an alchemist, my enjoyment of my days skyrocketed. I no longer tried to cram in as much as I possibly could, but instead thoroughly savored the things that I did put in. I stopped categorizing my events as "fun" and "not fun," and treated all of them equally as opportunities for gold. I started to see that sometimes the most "gold" could be found in events that I had previously categorized as "a drag." It just goes to show how little I really knew about what was possible.

Three months into my new role, I am loving my job and the days spent in it, and I wouldn't be there if I hadn't decided to be an alchemist.

Where could you be mining for gold in your day? Try it out and see how much more satisfying your days can be. Let us know what works.


See the possibility for gold in everything you do. We'll show you how to become an alchemist of time at our Mastering Time 4-Week Teleseries.

For more by Samantha Sutton, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.