Posted in Self development
Aaaaah! It's 8 p.m. and you're still answering emails... again. It seems as though every day is spent digging out of an avalanche of email, phone messages and urgent requests that don't leave any time for you-know-who (hint: YOU!) or the priorities that really matter. By the time Friday rolls around, it's easy to feel your week went careening out of control like some bad movie-of-the-week car chase.
On the job, in school, at home, we are increasingly imprisoned by the perception that time is a scarce and limited resource. We rush from one commitment or activity to another and believe that we haven't a minute to spare. We yearn for more time, yet we often feel anxious and guilty when idle.
The solution isn't in another date-planner system or another priority checklist. Until we change our relationship to time, our lives will continue to speed away from us -- at enormous cost to our health and to direct experience of ourselves and the world around us.
"There is no issue, no aspect of human life, that exceeds this in importance," says Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul. "The destruction of time is literally the destruction of life."
Gaining control over our time is nothing short of gaining control of our life. The good news is youdo have a choice. Reclaiming control over your time is a powerful act of self-mastery.
To help refill your time reservoir, try some or all of the following suggestions from Stephan Rechtschaffen, author of Timeshifting, and others.
Pause. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Han suggests a deep breath before answering the phone or other conscious pauses throughout the day.
Remember the airplane instructions. Put your own "oxygen mask" on first. To take care of others, you must care for yourself first.
Carve out idle time alone. Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that "nature requires us not only to be able to work well but also to idle well."
Schedule time every week that excludes any interruptions. Turn off your cell phone and your desk phone. Think of it as "tithing" your time.
Toss your schedule whenever you can. Even better, schedule spontaneous time and then surprise yourself.
Examine why you are busy. What emotions would you experience if you weren't so busy? What would you wish for? Are you running from your heart?
Play. Sing, wrestle, paint, hike -- whatever. It helps us step outside of ordinary time.
Create time retreats. Once a year or so, choose to do something for a week or more that allows you to just "be."
Spend time in nature. We can't help but slow down in nature's unhurried pace. Watching a soaring bird or examining a flower can seem to stretch a minute into an hour.
We can learn to experience time more purposefully and meaningfully -- so that it's not an enemy robbing us of the joy of life. We needn't be at time's mercy. When we change our awareness, we can actually experience the gifts of time.
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