Time and I are generally not the best of friends. It usually goes that I try to make time go the way I want it to, including stretching it to the max. This shows up as me not scheduling a buffer between appointments, forgetting to calculate driving time and multi-tasking ALL THE TIME.
I’m left feeling rushed, stressed, apologetic and robbed of what could be “precious moments”. Self-care time? Not a chance, although, I have been practicing at fitting this in and am getting much better! Always thinking of the next thing to tick off the to-do list leaves me living in the future, instead of in the now. When I’m thinking of the future, I can’t be present in the moment and enjoy what’s happening right now.
Can you relate? Do you find yourself rushing through your day in a chaotic flurry? Wishing that you could sit down with a cup of tea and watch the view instead?
If you can’t take time, you can’t have time.
This quote is posted on my office whiteboard to remind me:
- We all get the same amount of hours in a day
- Time is made-up, it’s a creation, and I can choose how to interact with it
- If I don’t take time to focus on what’s important to me, self-care and family, I most definitely won’t get that time handed to me on a silver platter
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Thanks to Michael Altshuler for this quote.
I’m going to share some practices around time that I have been taking on and have shifted how I create my day, and ultimately my life. I do say practicing, as it’s been trial and error. Some of them I will practice for a few days at a time, and then let them go for a while.
1. Plan tomorrow before you go to bed. Write down your top priorities for the next day before you end your current day. You can colour code or list them in order of importance. Even if your morning went off the rails or you get distracted throughout the day, ‘cause let’s face it, it happens (facebook!) you can get back on track and make sure you are taking care of the most important items.
2. Drive the speed limit. For most people, this will entail adding in extra time in order to get places. The extra time allows for a calmer mind during the drive instead of laser focus on driving carefully while speeding in order to get to your destination on time, even amidst unforeseen circumstances like construction or Sunday drivers. Plus it is the law, so a bonus practice here!
3. Show up early. Everywhere you go, show up 15 – 30 minutes early. Settle in and relax. Extra points for not pulling out your phone and indulging on social media as this makes time fly and takes your mind away from being present.
4. Eliminate energy-sucking activities. Look at your schedule: what can you take out? Consider removing activities that don’t light you up, delegate where you can and consolidate trips to reduce drive times where possible.
5. Schedule Me Time. With the new found free time, schedule in something that you feel expands your time: play time with your kids, a walk in nature, meditation. Whatever it is for you. If you don’t schedule it, chances are it won’t happen.
6. Do one thing at a time. Being present is the secret to expanding time. Can you think of a time when you were immersed in an enjoyable activity when you noticed the time and were surprised by how quickly it passed? This is the sweet spot, my friends.
Practicing these and noticing what is different has been a really rich, eye-opening experience for me. I find myself feeling calmer, more focused and therefore more productive. I wouldn’t have thought this to be possible without multi-tasking! I’m more present when playing with my daughter and am more focused and efficient at work. It’s a work in progress and the results have motivated me to keep practicing.
Consistently noticing how I’m being with time and adjusting as necessary is my access to the slower, more intentional and fulfilling life that I desire.
Add your time-expanding tips in the comments!