Time is so capricious. Slow. Fast. Elusive – all depending upon the circumstances of the moment. Some days I feel as if there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that is needed. These are the days I scramble around completing tasks amidst a slightly frantic pace, not fully present with what I am doing, finishing one task while mentally preparing for the next on the endless list.
Yes, there is a bit of an adrenaline rush that comes from crossing things off the list (see previous post about “in getting things done heaven”), but I have found ways to tweak this frenetic, multitasking pace, actually rendering me more productive while simultaneously seemingly slowing down time.
What we are talking about when we examine it is really ourperception of time. We obviously cannot change actual time, butour experience of time passing can be considerably influenced by the following practices:
- Single-task instead of multi-task. I know. This one is hard to swallow. As a recovering multi-tasker, I am here to tell you that it works. Research shows that we are more efficient when we attend to one thing at a time. Test it out. You may be surprised.
- Be present. As best you can, bring your full awareness to each chore, noticing your sense of touch, smell, hearing. When your mind wanders back to the to-do list, gently redirect your attention back to the task at hand.
- Meditate first thing in the morning. If only for 5 minutes, this stillness and quiet sets the tone, pace and perspective for the day.
- Breathe fully. Periodically throughout the day, pause and take a few full, deep, deliberate breaths. Notice the energy this creates.
- Get enough sleep. This is not always completely under our control, but set up the conditions as best you can to get at least 7 hours a night. When we are tired and sluggish, we are not nearly as present and productive.
- Recognize and reduce “time suckers,” such as Facebook, TV, and emailing. Be deliberate in the amount of time you spend with your electronics. Set a timer if needed.
- Delegate. Chores are good for kids. Let go of the need to have it done just as you would do it. Good enough is great sometimes.
- Savor the moment. This may be a stretch if we are talking about dirty diapers or other unpleasant tasks but is still possible. Try not to take moments for granted.
One caveat:don’t try all 8 at once or you will end up right back where you started – feeling as if there is not enough time in the day. Instead,choose one of these Mindfulness practices each day and take note of just how malleable our perception of time can be.