I feel it often and hear it a lot from my students and clients: the desire for more time. Do you catch yourself saying things like “I wish I had more time”, “There’s not enough time to get it all done”, “If only I had more time I would do such-n-such” and “I wish the day was longer”? In class the other day, my teacher said, “Do you ever have one of those days where it feels like time expands? Like there is plenty of time to get it all l done, no need to rush?” My honest answer: rarely.
Time is our most precious, non-renewable resource. Why don’t we treat it like one? One of the first steps in creating and maintaining balance in our lives is getting a grip on time. Think of a busy day. Maybe it was today. How many of the thoughts and activities did you engage in that truly brought you joy and added value to your life and to the lives of those around you?
It is said that 80% of the results we achieve in our lives come from only 20% of the activities that occupy our time (R. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari). Of all the hundreds of activities that take up our most precious commodity only 20% affect the quality of our life and those around us. For example think of how much time you spend watching TV, checking and rechecking emails, engaging in gossip or in doing activities you do not enjoy? Is it more than 20%? This is the time that you could be spending to renew and nourish your mind, body and Spirit.
Want to shift your relationship with your most precious resource? Try this.
- Begin to establish a daily routine. Even a small one helps. Your body has a rhythm and it relies on that movement to be consistent. The hurried frenzy pace of our usual day-to-day is not what nature intended. Start with a simple action like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day! Try sleeping between the hours of 10PM and 6AM.
- Don’t let others steal your time. Learn to say no. Taking on too much, especially too many of the “should do’s” on your list, rather than doing the things that bring joy, is not contributing to creating balance in your life. Most importantly, saying no to the things that don’t serve you will give you the power and the time to say yes to the big things that bring joy.
- Stop responding. The phone, texting, email and social media are there for your convenience and pleasure. The need to respond immediately to every alert you receive is a distraction and a time drain. Create specific times that you will check email and engage in social media and set limits on the amount of time you spend responding. The saying, I just got sucked in. Do you know it? Use these technologies to your advantage and don’t let them be a time suck.
- Simplify your life and your schedule. Make time for the simple things. Take a nap, go for a walk, have a long lunch, call a friend you have not connected with and have a conversation that is not rushed, eat at your table, linger in a book store, whatever seems like a gift of time to you. Do it.
When you begin to value your time and view it as the precious gift that it is, those around you will realize your time is valuable and slowly your relationship with your most precious commodity will come into balance.