The hardest thing to deal with for so many of us these days is time. “I have no time!” has become a daily refrain that blocks out so much.
“I have no time!”, as I run out the door and miss my 10-minute morning meditation, yet again.
“I have no time!”, as I put off the letter I’ve been planning to write my dear friend for the upteenth time.
“I have no time!”, as I grab a 2,000 calorie muffin instead of a salad with salmon, that I can then stuff down as I work through lunch.
For myself, when I hear myself saying or thinking that I have no time, it’s a clear indicator that I’m stressed and focused on future fears instead of present reality, and what’s really important in this reality.
Steve Kamb, in Why ‘I don’t have time’ is a Big Fat Lie, suggests the following: replace “I don’t have time” with “it’s not a priority”.
Instead of “I don’t have time for breakfast, healthy or otherwise”, reframe it as “Having a healthy breakfast is not a priority for me”;
Instead of “I don’t have time to write my dear friend”, reframe as “Writing my dear friend isn’t a priority for me”;
Instead of “I don’t have time to meditate”, reframe as “Meditating for 10 minutes when I get up isn’t a priority for me”.
Reframing it this way makes it wincingly clear – at least to me – that either my priorities are skewed, or I need to take another look. Most of the time, I do have time to meditate for 10 minutes, setting myself up in a good way for the rest of the day; I have time to take 20 minutes to sit down and eat a healthy meal, nourishing my body; I have time to write a letter to someone I care about, nourishing my soul.
I do, in fact, have the time I need.
There are definitely days when most of us are short on time. For those days, and every day, here are 3 things you can use to make the best of the time you need.
- Decide what’s important to you today. I like to do this over my morning coffee, after I meditate. It doesn’t take long, and helps me set my focus for the day on something that brings me joy, or a sense of accomplishment. There are two kinds of things that are important – those things that feel urgent and those things we know are important. When something feels urgent, then it may be more emotional than real in importance. Take a moment to see which it is for you.
- Chose one thing that’s important to you, and focus on that one thing. Then once that thing is complete, chose another important thing. I promise you that if you get nothing else done that day, you’ll still feel great at the end of it.
- Focus on the biggest things you can accomplish in the time you have.
In The Big Rocks of Life, Steve Covey demonstrates why this is a good idea. Imagine you have an empty quart jar, and a bunch of stones ranging from largish to fine sand. First, add the sand to the jar, then the larger stones. You’ll find that you run out of room pretty quickly. Now dump the lot, and begin again by adding the biggest stones, then the smaller ones, ending with the sand. It’s great to actually do this to see for yourself that the second method is a lot more effective in containing all the stones than the first method.
It’s the same in life: if we focus first on those things most important to us – the “big” things – then all the rest will be taken care of. On the other hand, if we focus on the small things first, you’ll never even get to the big ones.
Three things I learned while my plane crashed
Quote of the Week
“The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in 5 words – I did not have time.” – Franklin Field
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my websitewww.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org