Stepping Back From Time Crunch

stopwatchFor much of my adult life, I have been wrestling with Time. I tried working harder, stretching myself to do more, and multi-tasking my butt off to try to get ahead. But I just never seemed to make any headway.

It took a long time, but I finally realized pushing harder doesn’t work. What was needed, was a shift.

So, I altered my point of view from seeing myself jumping on the hamster wheel and feeling like I’m constantly chasing the clock to thinking of time as spacious.

I suspect that we as a society can wear “busy” like a badge of honor. If we are busy, we get strokes to our ego. We look important, competent, like a good person. And that can feel really good! But, it is a double-edged sword. Being busy means we are probably not taking time for self-care, we may not being doing our best job on any one thing, plus it really ramps up our blood pressure and stress hormones.

So I stopped buying into the attitude that “busy” is the norm.

I shifted my perspective from “I’m busy” to “I have all the time in the world.” It’s amazing how pivoting my point of view changed everything. Even if I’m in a situation where it could feel like the clock is “against” me, it’s like time stands still.

The parameters I put in place to live this out include some tools.

When time gets tight, I do things like take a deep breath and pause before I move forward on anything. This allows my frontal lobe to engage more so I’m more present and better able to respond from my best self.

Then, I make a list. Somehow, capturing what needs to be done on paper puts everything into perspective and I’m able to make a plan.

And, here’s a biggie, I also just say no to more things and have less on my schedule. I try to remember that my time is precious and I can’t get it back.

I realized that what I do should be important, even if it’s doing what looks like nothing. This allows for space and time to create, and it respects me and my real needs or the needs of those I love. I’m not just rushing on, ignoring my truth. This feels real and respectful and is a joyful place to be living from.

The bottom line is, when an opportunity presents itself, I ask myself if this moves forward what is important. Sometimes going out with friends is the perfect thing to do, and at other times, I’ve realized I need to say no. Feeling like I don’t have to agree to do everything is incredibly freeing.

Part of this scheduling less is tied to not feeling bad about saying no. I’m taking care of myself, and when I do that, my life is richer, more peaceful, and more enjoyable.

It took me some time to really integrate this, and there are times when I rush, but overall, the tempo of my life is much more peaceful.

So what comes up when you ask yourself, what more could I do with my one precious life? What if I wasn’t filling my schedule with an endless list of tasks and to-dos? What if I focused on what was really important in my life?

Here’s to more joy and less stress! Enjoy!

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