Many of my clients express a desire to manage their time better. To stop "wasting" time on social media, procrastination or in front of various screens. They want to use their time for meaningful, energy-replenishing, serotonin-inducing activities that fill them back up or fan the spark within.
It's an interesting exercise to begin to notice how you hold onto the story of not having enough time. When you utilise your time more effectively via awareness, organisation and intention - space suddenly opens up in your schedule.
Here are 3 techniques that have helped me claim ownership of my time and created choices in how I spend it:
1. AWARENESS - GETTING OFF AUTOPILOT
When you live on "auto-pilot" you are not really conscious of your thoughts, feelings, desires, motivations and intentions day to day. You just go through the motions without even being present for your life. When you are on auto-pilot you can pretend everything's fine. You can ignore the call for change coming from within. You can 'land the plane' with your eyes closed.
By switching off auto-pilot you take control of the trajectory of your life and realise 'I am in charge of how I spend my time'.
For me that was very confronting as I had been living for over a decade in the stranglehold of choicelessness. When we realise the truth of being in charge fear arises because we now have to take 100% responsibility for whether we fly or crash.
If we can pause to take a good look at what activities are actually consuming the minutes of our life we might get a harsh reality check. For many, work, screen time and sleep possibly take over the majority of each day. It's so easy to be distracted by the sheer volume of things competing for your attention and before you know it a quick scroll through Instagram ends up as half an hour that could have been utilised for your (or your family’s) physical, mental or spiritual benefit.
Many of us have to work - whether that's in the home or out (or very often - both) so it's about making the in-between moments purposeful and passionate. And that might be very purposefully having a passionate nap so that you can replenish your own energy levels!
2. ORGANISATION - GET THE WEEK YOU WANT!
I've just got back into the routine of planning my week on a Sunday night. On an A4 sheet of paper I create the following table:
I list the priorities for the week under each heading and then transfer each activity into my diary - locking them into a date and time. By getting them on paper and into my diary I am committing to them. I find pockets of time around my husband's schedule for exercise and me-time and I get up around 5:15am every day for pranayama (breathing) practices, meditation and yoga asana practice. Those are non-negotiable.
This is about taking responsibility for what you say you want.
As Vitality Coach Nikki Fogden-Moore says:
'Plan the week you want or you'll get the one you're given'.
When I remind myself of this I take full responsibility.
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"The greater our awareness of our intentions, the greater our freedom to choose."
When you have no awareness of the intentions of your actions (why you are spending your time the way you are) you have no choice. Your intentions either contribute to your suffering or to your happiness.
When your days are made up of activities that are filled with intention and your highest motivation you can surely only be leading a purposeful life.
START SMALL - MAKE CHANGES TO MAKE TIME
If time management is high on your agenda you might like to try the following?
1) Take a good look at your week to bring awareness around how you are actually spending your time. What space can you create to fill with an activity that lights you up or with stillness that connects you within?
2) Bring attention to the intention and motivation behind your daily activities. You might ask why you are spending your time this way. What is the purpose? What will the impact be? Is this what you want?
3) Try planning your week ahead of time. You mightn't like the format I've shared - come up with your own headings based on activities you have to do and those you like to do! Lock them into your diary and before you know it you’ll be doing the things you want to be spending your time doing!
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