Time is defined as the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
As we age our concept of time changes and things feel as though they are moving pretty quickly. I often joke and say, I was 12 years old only a couple of weeks ago, well it’s been 15 years since then and it’s wild for me to reflect and think about how long ago that actually was.
I remember being young and wanting time to go by quickly because I wanted to grow up and be an adult. I smile as I write this because adulting although fun and I’m enjoying life, if I could go back and tell my younger self I would say take your time, because you have the rest of your life to be a ‘grown up’.
I listened to a podcast with Naval a few years ago where he was talking about time, a standout was:
Be more conscious of what’s a waste of your time
I couldn’t agree more with this one; I’m sure if I asked you to consider the things in your life that are / have been a waste of your time you’d be able to list a thing or two. Personally speaking, the things that immediately jumped to my mind were (and still are at times) my attempts to mind read and aimlessly scrolling through social media. It’s only until I took a 10 month hiatus from social media did I realise how much time I was wasting on it. During that period I gained so much “free time” and was able to fill it with things I wanted to pursue but never had ”enough time” to do so previously. I’m definitely a frequent user of social media nowadays but use it more purposefully and have some rules in place to help me remain boundaried.
Keith Rabois said:
Be very careful with how you allocate your time.
This is super important and the only way you can be careful is if you know what you allocate your time to and whether that thing is serving you.
I’d like you to pause for a moment and think about the thing you spend the most time doing in your day to day life.
At the moment I spend the most time working (I’m just grateful that I work in a field I’m passionate about). With that said, I’d prefer if work did not consume the majority of my time, however at this stage it remains the case. In my ideal life, endeavors such as personal projects, charity work, travelling, spending time with loved ones and doing all the things that are good for my mental health and wellbeing would be how I choose to spend my time.
On a final note, we often hear, ‘time is the most precious resource we have’ but I have to disagree and say, it’s actually our attention.
Attention is about being aware of what it is we spend our time doing. At the end of the day, time is going to pass if we like it or not but we can gain the most from our day by being aware of what we are attending to, as well as taking the time to be present to it.
I always aim to encourage people to examine their experience and questioning is one of the best ways to do that. I believe we can only be in a position to change if we are aware that change needs to happen, and how would we know that unless we think about what our current experience is. Questions you can ask yourself to help you examine how you spend your time are:
- What do I spend most of my time doing?
- What does my typical day look like? Get more specific and ask yourself what does my morning, afternoon and evening look like?
- If I hand a magic wand what would I do less or more of?
- Is there something I can do to create more space in my day / life?
- Am I doing something that feels as though I have to do it but it is not necessary?
- Are there moments in my day where I can sit and just be?
- What am I rushing to do?
- Why do I have to do that thing right now, what will happen if I don’t?
I don’t know if I can speak for everyone but I sense that we as a society are always on the go, want information instantly, may find it tricky to delay gratification, want to be the first to receive or share news and forever trying to keep up with the latest trend.
I definitely do the above and have to catch myself from time to time. I’m also guilty for thinking about what’s next, because I’m always attempting clear my to-do lists and submit before any kind of deadlines is due. Once I’m given a task, I want to complete it immediately and won’t rest till I do, especially anything related to my studies or projects I’m working on.
I could call it efficient working but at the same time, I fall into robotic mode and that is when my perception of time flies because when I’m in that space I hardly pay attention to anything else.
So how have I tried to ‘slow down time?’
BE PRESENT TO IT.
That’s the overarching answer.
- When you wake up, avoid going straight on your phone and acknowledge that you’ve actually woken up, whether that is by taking a few deep breaths, stretching or simply pausing and noticing how you feel that morning.
- Give yourself an extra 10mins or so before beginning your day. That way you can slow down and take your time to get your day started. Starting my day relaxed makes all the difference vs a morning when I’m rushing around.
- Have a morning routine, for the past 18 months mine has been: practicing Spanish, meditating and journaling, choose what works for you.
- Pay attention to nature and get some fresh air, this could look like opening your window, going out in your garden, talking a stroll , observing your surroundings and noticing what nature is doing.
- Turning off notifications on all unnecessary apps (for me that’s social media).
- Dedicating a time to reply to certain messages – I often feel a sense of urgency to reply to messages and I don’t like that, so now I reply when I feel able to and not because I have to. An example is that I only reply to voice notes when I’m doing something else e.g. chores, walking etc.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought. Time goes by whether we like it or not and is out of our control, but what we can control is how we feel and think about time and practical steps we can take to maximise the time we have 🙂