I think time is an illusion.
The more we fill our lives with time-saving devices the more rushed we are. While the possibilities of information technology are potentially endless, they also put us under more pressure than ever to get more done, in less time.
At some points we may feel there is never enough time to do what we need to do and time passes too quickly. At other times, we don't know what to do with all our time and we feel uncomfortable because we're not busy.
Feeling like we don't have enough time, leads to a sense of time urgency or time famine (according to Leslie Perlow, Harvard Business School). We conduct our lives by the clock which increases our stress load and ultimately leads to illness.
We transfer this sense of time urgency to our co-workers and our kids.
How many times have you found yourself saying in the morning while rushing to get the kids to school and get to work, "Hurry up, there's no time to play or go outside."
We send a clear message that there's a shortage of time. This is now catching up with kids, who are themselves feeling stressed at a young age.
Before a major life overhaul a few years ago, I was more prone to time urgency. Always running faster to get everything done. Sometimes my body cried out for rest, but my brain chose not to listen.
The faster I drove myself the more mistakes I made. The more I reacted to things. I was less productive and less happy.
Today things couldn't be more different.
I make time for things I never believed I had the time to do before.
I'm re-defining success because of it.
When we say 'I don't have time' we're taking away from our opportunity to live a life full of possibility, purpose and well being.
It's not about having time. It's about making time.
Let's stop feeling like we never have enough time.
Let's start making time for what matters.
Here are four simple ways to reclaim your time.
1. Make it a priority.
Sometimes I'm asked how I find the time to meditate and sit in silence for an hour every day. My answer is simple: it's important, so I make the time. Our rational brains create all sorts of reasons not to make time for things. These excuses, keep us from doing great work and leading much fuller lives. We can do whatever we choose to do with our time. Really. It's our choice.
2. Be more in the present.
When we are pressed for time, being in the present gives us more time by giving us back the fullness of each moment that we have. Meditation allows me to transcend the illusion of time and time urgency. It improves my awareness and concentration allowing me to choose where I put my attention, as opposed to having my attention pulled in a thousand different directions.
3. Don't over commit yourself.
There's only so much we can do in a day. It's better to do one thing really well, then multiple things really badly. Take a serious look at how many obligations and commitments you have and decide if you absolutely have to do them all. The chances are, by eliminating some of them, you will be more productive.
4. Simplify your life.
My husband and I used to own a much larger home which required a significant amount of time and money to maintain. We eliminated a huge chunk of time stress, by selling our home, most of our possessions and simplifying our lives. This may not be an option for everybody, but there are lots of ways to simplify life. Maybe you don't need to have the TV on so much of the time. Maybe you don't need to drive your car as much. Maybe you don't need to spend quite so much time on Facebook. Maybe you don't need so much money.
Every time I catch myself thinking (or saying) I don't have time, I bring awareness to it. In almost every case, I see it's just an excuse.
In the end, I'd rather look back on my life and say "I can't believe I did that!", as opposed to "I wish I did that...".
Let's make time and make a change.
(Image Copyright: liseykina/Shutterstock)