This article provides a few quick tips on how to win yourself some spare time, if you are always insisting that you are too busy to take time out.
TIP 1 – A LITTLE IS BETTER THAN NONE AT ALL
If you find yourself with no time out, then ask yourself if that’s really true. Sometimes there are odd minutes when we can stop, but we just don’t see them. For example, if you are driving somewhere, try stopping in a layby for just a minute or two. As you leave work, try stopping on the way home to sit on a bench and watch the world for a few minutes. Tell yourself that ‘a little time is better than none at all’.
TIP 2 – BRACKET YOUR APPOINTMENTS
We tend to arrive just in time, and leave when we have to. Try bracketing your appointments. This means giving yourself time, both beforehand and afterwards, to just be, in an easy way. Give yourself air between pieces of your diary. If you have been going from item to item without gap, then you are exhausting yourself with your lack of space.
TIP 3 – BOOK APPOINTMENTS WITH YOURSELF
The reason you give way so often to other people’s priorities, is that you have an inbuilt social system which tries to fit in with others. Therefore, the things that others require take priority. Learn to book appointments with yourself, and actually put them in your diary. Then tell others ‘I’m sorry, I have an appointment that day.’ You don’t have to tell them it’s with yourself. If they ask you may choose to, but you have already established the status of that time, so it should be easier to protect it.
TIP 4 – LEARN TO ‘JUST WATCH’
We humans like to get involved. We find it extremely hard to watch everything happening without intervening, or offering a view. This puts our minds under considerable pressure. Teach yourself to ‘just watch’. If you want to learn meditation, then do – this is an ideal training. Once you have mastered the art of ‘just watching’, you will find you are able to relax, even at work. It will make you a better listener.
TIP 5 – SLOW ALL YOUR ACTIONS DOWN
In modern society, we unintentionally train ourselves to do everything as fast as physically possible. We type as fast as our hands will allow. We reply to messages as soon as possible. We drive as though we were on a permanent time test. Try doing the opposite. Remember how children do things at a natural pace, without a sense of hurry. Remember how stories sound better when the reader takes time to bring out the words and the nuances. Life is a story you tell yourself, so tell it slowly, and give yourself time to hear it.
So there you are. A few tips for reclaiming your time. In summary, they amount to:
Take a little time where you find it
Create space before and after appointments
Use your diary – book appointments with yourself
Sometimes, stop intervening, and practice ‘just watching’ the world go by
Find a comfortable pace – life is not a competition