Perhaps you know someone who is often thinking or saying “if only I had more time I would do….[yoga, meditation, relax, insert your chosen word]”. If you can relate, then this short article will give some tips for getting you (or your friend) back into the flow and creating more time for the things you love.
As a life coach at La Crisalida, I sometimes work with clients who feel overwhelmed, out of control and over-tired. They feel that someone or something has taken control of their time and want the control back. I have found that in practice there are usually two underlying reasons why we can seem to lose a sense of control of our time.
The first is linked to a sense of confusion and/or internal conflict. This can happen easily when we are not clear on our own priorities because we give away responsibility for our decisions and actions to others (e.g. an institution, a group or an individual). If this sounds a little like you, then make a list of areas of your life where you are influenced strongly by others. Be as honest as you can and include all examples you can think of and all necessary angles (e.g. spiritually, academically, socially, health, work, financially or with your family). Consider where you may have injected the values of the institution, group or individual into your own, which can lead to an inner conflict. This awareness alone can start the transformation process of getting back in charge of your time.
The second reason we can feel disempowered with how we are spending our time is a sense of guilt because of obligations to others. Having guilt playing in your life can drain your time and energy and lead you to feeling unfulfilled. Try the following useful exercise for dissolving your guilt and taking the driving seat back in your life.
- Identify where in your life you have been doing things because otherwise you would feel guilty (again include everything – e.g. looking after your child, or paying the mortgage).
- Realise and confirm that the real reason you are feeling guilty is that you have been ignoring your own needs and desires (this step may require some meditation to authenticate!).
- Apologise to yourself and make a decision to forgive yourself for ignoring your own needs and desires.
- Realise and confirm that ignoring your own needs and desires is a disservice to the person you feel obligated too (again, meditate on this if necessary).
- Finally, affirm that in future you will make decisions in the best interests of everyone, including yourself.
Changing your feelings about time
There are also some simple things to note about time which, once understood, can help you implement quick changes:
- Time is a construct of the mind. If there is no mind, there is no past or future (only the now!). The future or the past are all in the imagined future or remembered past.
- “There isn’t enough time” is just a belief. In reality, everybody has the same amount of time – people just chose to do different things with their time.
- For the above reasons, time can never be the problem. Seeing time as a problem means you are really acting like a victim of time. Empowerment comes from seeing and understanding why you are making the choices you are.
- The “quality” of your time determines the quality of your life. It’s not the amount of time you have that’s important in determining a fulfilling life, it’s the quality of how you spend your time. If you’re not fulfilled – you’re either going to have too much time (due to boredom) or too little time (e.g. due to fear of missing out on things that might be better).
The good news is that it really is as simple as changing your attitude (using the above pointers) that can make a huge difference to how you feel.
Final questions for mastering your time
Finally, if you’re looking for more insights into why you’ve been making the choices you have, I include below some questions designed to help develop your awareness. Perhaps grab a peppermint tea, find somewhere relaxing and take as much time as you need with these questions:
- Why do you want to create more time in your life? Getting clear on your why can be transformative. Don’t just accept your first answer, explore all reasons and ask yourself supplementary questions – why do I want that? Sometimes the underlying reason or reasons can be surprising so be honest with yourself.
- Who do you currently feel owns your time (e.g. husband, children, boss, parents etc)?
- How exactly have you been acting like a “victim” (powerless), or not been taking responsibility for your time?
- Are there any obvious time “wasting” activities you engage in (include direct and indirect which can have a knock on effect with how you use your time e.g. alcohol, social media, game playing)? Why exactly do you engage in them?
- What would be the benefits to you of owning more of your own time? Include direct, secondary and even tertiary benefits for the purpose of this exercise.
- How can you let go of the temptation to do too much? What are your real priorities in life?
- What could you do differently to fill more of your time with fulfilling activities?
Best of luck in getting time back on your side! We love to hear how you get on with implementing our blog articles into your life so if you feel any of our articles are of help you can drop us a comment directly under this article.
We have lots more articles on our blog page from a life coaching perspective – click on the category “Life Makeover” for more from our life makeover retreats here in Spain.