Do you ever feel like there just isn’t enough time?
Or have this guilty feeling, like you are somehow wasting away what time you have?
Cue the music . . .
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
“Time” by Pink Floyd
Or ever felt like Hootie?
“Time why you punish me
Like a wave bashing into the shore
You wash away my dreams
Time why you walk away
Like a friend with somewhere to go
You left me crying
Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow running free
'Cause tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in time”.
“Time” by Hootie & the Blowfish
Seriously though, one of the common concerns/struggles that clients often share is how to manage their time.
Either they always feel like they are running out of it or it feels like different interests and demands compete for their time. They just can’t seem to figure out how to do it “all”.
Between full time jobs, relationships, chores, family events, hobbies and passions: add in a part time job, side gig or a desire for full-time self employment and it can often feel like it’s all just too much to handle (and too much to ask for!)
The good news is time is an illusion (heh heh). I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “thanks Jen for the trite spiritual statement but how does that help me when I have all these things I want to do and have to do?”
I shall answer: have you ever noticed how time feels relative? It can go by very fast when we are doing something we love and it can drag on when we are doing something that bores us. It can haunt us when are dreading something or slip through our fingers when we are saying a goodbye or see you next time.
Time being relative and an illusion is actually a really good thing because it means that there is more to life than what is going on at the surface. Time isn’t what it seems and what we make it seem at the same time.
The fears we have around time are actually evidence of an energy leak that’s been created from listening to the voices of fear and self doubt, instead of listening to the voice of our True Self.
When we start to recognize what is actually fear and also that there’s a place within us which guides us along our path, it gets easier to let go of control of time.
We begin to accept that timing isn’t up to us and it doesn’t have to be. We start to examine and release more of our beliefs about time and practice building trust in what our true path is and the steps that are laid out in front of us.
We can learn how to discern between what feels right to us and what is just the illusion of time creating a distraction.
We can start to learn what it feels like to be in the flow, or what some people say “being in the right place, at the right time” or “it will happen in the right time.”
Ok enough of the spiritual-philosophical level- let’s get to the practical and concrete so we can integrate it with some of the above spiritual truths.
How do we find balance between the demands of life and our passions?
How do we make room for a new entrepreneurial path or career while we are still attached to other present day obligations?
How do we stop using Time as an excuse or a distraction and instead look deeper at what is really going on, what we are choosing and what we are accepting as our status quo?
Let Go of All Or Nothing Thinking
It doesn’t have to be either/or. We are allowed to be multi-passionate beings with many interests and a slew of needs and desires. That’s what being human is all about. First and foremost, acknowledge that you have a lot of needs and desires and that it’s okay!
One Small Step It
Give a little to each. We forget that small steps add up to something. Have you ever heard of Kaizen? It’s the idea that continuously implementing tiny changes over time will lead to really big changes.
Instead of fighting with time, try giving your attention to several things that are important to you with smaller amounts of time. Maybe you can’t spend 4 hours working on developing your online business, but you can spend an hour 3x a week.
Maybe you don’t have the ability to take off from work for a vacation right now but you can take a half day and do something luxurious for yourself.
Releasing the Need for Instant Gratification
There is a very common illusion in this world and technology has contributed to it: the instant gratification factor. What looks like it takes an instant or what is an overnight success often takes people years and years to get to.
We can never get the full picture about someone else’s life and what steps it took them to get to where they are going unless they tell us. This is why it’s so important to keep talking about this stuff!
Stay in the Moment
Be mindful and in the moment when you are doing one thing. Trying to do many things at once without mindfulness will most certainly lead to that “chicken running with it’s head cut off” feeling.
Maybe you have several demands in a day: try to give your full attention to that 10 minute phone call and that when it’s time to get off and make lunch, really be present with the food and what it looks like, feels like and smells like. Then when you head into your car, instead of worry about the rest of your day, stay present. Take in the sounds, the surroundings, the way it feels to sit in your seat.
Examine What Your Reasons Are For Needing to Get It All Done NOW
This is often what holds us back from moving forward. Because of the perfectionism or all or nothing thinking that our mind likes to propel us in, we often think that if we can’t get “it” done now then we might as well not do it all.
I would be curious here. Is this really an emergency? Is there a reason that you are feeling impatient? Are you looking for instant gratification instead of a realistic timeline for what it is that you want?
Lower Your Expectations
This may seem contradictory to some of the earlier statements which suggested acknowledging all of your needs and sharing your attention. The key is, to do the above with curiosity, experimentation and surrender instead of the expectation that something has to get done which leads to driving or forcing yourself to take it all on.
It also means looking at any superhuman tendencies you are expecting of yourself. This is where perfectionism, imposter syndrome and proving yourself mode come in, consistently raising the bar and telling us we aren’t good enough . . . yet . . . but if we just do this next thing . . .
Yeah right! I call malarkey! When we constantly have parts of ourselves raising the bar will always feel less than if we listen to them. Which means we will constantly take on more than we can handle or beat ourselves up when we can’t do it all. Try choosing reasonable and realistic expectations for yourself instead and see what happens!
Trying out some of the above will have you feeling better. You might even find yourself getting exactly what the Rolling Stones were singing about!
“Timeeee is on my side, yes it is”