How to create more time and space in your life

By John Brant | 29th October 2015
A photograph of a mature couple laughing, as they joke with garden equipment outside.

If any of the following strike a chord with you, then this may be the article for you:

  • there is not enough time in the day to get everything done
  • it´s hard to say no to people
  • you have regular feelings of overwhelm or exhaustion
  • you regularly wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things

In this article we aim to increase your awareness about what could be causing these issues and offer some insights into how to resolve them. We finish with a short exercise to help you deal with the typical root cause of some of these problems.

If you want more time and space in your life, the first thing to understand is that you don´t really want more time and space in your life! This might sound a bit strange, but think of it like this: we say (consciously) that we want more time and space in our life but beneath this (unconsciously) we may not.

The importance of the unconscious mind

Although we think our conscious mind is in charge, over 90% of our mental capacity is from the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind includes all the things that we have learned to do that we no longer have to think consciously about (things like walking, talking or driving a car). Although our conscious mind thinks it is in charge, if there is incongruence at the unconscious level it is what is in the unconscious mind that will override.

Having a lack of time, lack of energy, worrying too much or not being efficient are not really the problem. These are the symptoms that you are conscious of. Getting a better planner or changing your job only deals with the symptoms – normally it won’t be long until the underlying problems reoccur. The first step to finding a more permanent solution is to understand what is going on inside of you at the unconscious level, which is the root cause of these type of issues.

So why might our unconscious mind want us to remain busy, overwhelmed and worried even though consciously we don’t like it? It is because when we are busy, overwhelmed and worried we keep out of our consciousness any more difficult emotional states. We are actually protecting ourselves from our own deeper emotional pain. Some of these difficult emotions might include guilt, boredom, shame, embarrassment or fear (click on this link to read our recent article on how to overcome fear………)

To ensure these difficult emotions remain in our unconscious we can even disown them. We can also belittle them, blame others for them, distract ourselves or hide from them. The type of behaviors we might see include

  • belittling ourselves/our emotions and trying to please others (eg our boss, partner, children or parents)
  • hiding ourselves away or seeking validation by becoming part of a group or crowd
  • make efforts to change the world (for example because we believe that it is unsafe or unjust)

Each of the above methods have a direct impact on the space and time we have in our life as with these behaviors we give control over our lives to others and/or get stuck in fighting with things that won’t end up changing our emotional states.

If you have followed me so far, there is only a small step to seeing that the most effective way to find more time and space in your life is to find a way to be aware of any emotions we have disowned so we can change the patterns of behavior that don’t serve us. There is a similar logic which confirms that identifying unconscious disempowering beliefs about ourselves will help us to find more time and space in our lives too.

Exercise

To help you to identify your disempowering unconscious beliefs and emotions we have a short exercise for you. Consider the person you find it hardest to say “no” to. It may be your boss, your partner or someone else close to you. Search your memory for a situation in the past where you have felt uncomfortable (eg guilty) saying “no” to this person and so you said “yes”. Go through the following process, writing your answer to each of the following questions:

  1. What did saying “yes” do for me (positive and negative – keep repeating this question until you eventually get to the deeper, unconscious emotional impact and so you will need to ask yourself the question a number of times)?
  2. What would saying “no” do for me (positive and negative – again keep repeating the question until you get to the deeper, unconscious emotional impact)?
  3. What stopped me from saying “no” (take your time on this one and be as honest as you can with yourself)?
  4. What would I have to believe about myself to say “yes” (eg “I have no choice”, “I am unworthy”)?
  5. What would I have to believe about myself to say “no” (eg “I am in charge of my life”, “I am important”)?
  6. What positive resources do I need to make it easy for me to say “no” in future (eg awareness, courage, self-worth etc)

Now come up with a symbol that contains all of the resources you need (for example if the resource you need is love and courage, then your symbol may be a heart). Any symbol that is chosen by you and personal to you will do. Now find somewhere where you will not be interrupted or distracted and close your eyes. Imagine a picture of yourself in your mind’s eye. Now imagine the symbol of the resources you need. In your mind’s eye allow yourself to be given this symbol, examine it, become curious about it and allow yourself to accept it. Finally allow the symbol to merge with yourself in your mind’s eye in whatever way seems appropriate. When you and the symbol have fully integrated you can open your eyes. Don’t worry if you find it hard to visualize – all that is required is to get a sense of the process happening.

The way forward

If having enough time and space in your life is an issue for you, keep alert to any time when you feel discomfort (e.g. guilty) and feel the need to say “yes”. Then when you get a moment carry out the above short exercise. If you approach it with a sense of curiosity then it won’t be long until time and space arise naturally in your life because you will have dealt with the underlying issue.

Best of luck in keeping aware and alert!

Headshot of John Brant - Retreat Founder at La Crisalida Retreats
John Brant

John is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. He leads our life makeover programme as well as overseeing the retreats.

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