There ARE “only” 24 hours in a day, AND we do have “enough” time. It’s as if we all think we are somehow the exception to the rule, and while everyone else should be able to find the time to do everything they want, need, and are expected to do, we can’t possibly make it work. If this does not pertain to you, then please stop reading this article, and get back to your life, already in progress. If,
however, you do find yourself feeling stressed by your lack of time, please try the following:
- NOTICE when you are having thoughts such as:
- “I’ll never finish….”
- There’s no time for….”
- If only I had more time….”
- If I could ever find the time, I’d….”
- Then PAUSE.
- Take 2 or 3 DEEP, CONSCIOUS BREATHS
- Ask yourself: WHAT IS MY PRIORITY IN THIS MOMENT?
This step will be easier if you make a short list for yourself, maybe after you finish reading this article, of your uppermost values, the things (somewhere between 4 and 6, perhaps) that are most important to you (think relationships, health, career, etc.). FYI, “values” represent issues of enduring importance. They are not the time-sensitive items that appear on your “to-do” list. KEEP THIS LIST IN A PLACE WHERE YOU WILL SEE IT.
- Now CHOOSE the task, from your to-do list, that is aligned with the priority that is most important right now.
- ENGAGE MINDFULLY in the task – bring your attention to it, redirecting your attention back to the task at hand whenever you become distracted – esp. by thoughts of “not having enough time” – until you have completed, or made sufficient progress towards completing the task.
Like all mindfulness-based strategies, the above is easier said than done, and can only really become useful with practice. As so many sages in the realm of mindfulness frequently remind us, the only moment over which we have any control is THIS moment. So I encourage you (as I remind myself many times each day) to commit to pausing at just those moments when you are either about to enter into a frenzy of activity, or, perhaps, to distract yourself from the stress with some mindless activity (eating, binge viewing, immersing in social media, to name just a few). In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” The key to mindful use of time is bringing our attention to this moment, instead of allowing our thoughts to steal it from us.