And 3 ways you can proactively design your time to make it serve you.
Do you ever feel like you’re chasing your tail? Like there’s people you want to make time for, conversations you want to have, even time you want to spend on your own, things that never seem to surface to the top of your to-do list? Is it fair to say there is often something more urgent that takes priority? Or you simply feel that there isn’t enough time for everything - that you are not ‘in control' of your time?
I’m curious about our relationship with time. I feel like - being a child of the 80’s - I’m living through a moment in history where our relationship with time is changing beyond all measure of anything that has been before. And in that transition I’m watching with great fascination our way of being with time. Because I’ve decided I want to be a curator in my relationship with time - as much as I can be I am going to be in charge. And for me that looks like making sure I honour the things that are important to me and literally ‘make time’ for them.
Here’s the back story:
In the past few short decades the world has changed a lot, in a multitude of ways. Through these changes life has become a great deal faster and more ‘connected’. There is now more information, more possibility, more choice than EVER before. We are literally inundated with more stuff than we could ever buy, more games than we could ever play, and more destinations than it’s humanly possible to visit. All at the touch of a few buttons. Fundamentally there is so much more to fit into to our lives than ever before. There are now innumerable ways to spend our time and to ‘be busy’.
And busy we are. Life feels like it has sped up. The more there is to do, the more we try to do, the busier we get, and the faster we go. You’ll know you’ve been bitten by this busy-bug because from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep, you’ll feel like you’re chasing your tail. You’ll probably say things like “there’s never enough time” or “where does the time go?” or some other saying that indicates you are living in a time scarce perspective, or you feel out of control when it comes to directing the use of your time.
But here’s the truth: Time is not scarce. Time is as abundant now as it ever has been and as it ever will be. To the best of my knowledge the earth rotates around the sun once every 24 hours, now, just as it always has. Meaning we have the same day-length - the same time - we have always had. And simply by the act of us speaking about time in this scant way, makes time-scarcity our reality. So we have the same amount of time that we have always had, but more stuff than ever before with which to fill that time, and the effect of this is that time feels scarce and fleeting. Time feels like a runaway train that we are chasing, shouting “slow down”.
And, actually I wonder if it is easy to buy into this concept of time-scarcity - easier than the alternative anyway. Because the alternative is a less trodden path. And requires us to stop talking and thinking passively about time - as if we have no part in the use of time. I’m not suggesting we can stop time passing, but simply the way we use time has an effect on how we feel about time.
So I’d love to invite you to see time from a different perspective; a different vantage point. I’d love you to let go of your half empty glass, and pick up the glass next to it - the one that’s half full.
Imagine if we saw time as a gift. We note the 24 hours laid out before our feet and took a moment to simply express gratitude. Not to focus on time’s lack, or insufficiency, but to gaze at it’s abundance and possibility. If you’ve ever been about to part ways with a loved one you’ll know the power of a few minutes. You’ve probably experienced a moment where you’d wished more than anything for an evening, or a moment with someone. Where you’d have given anything for a simple 24 hours. Time is an extraordinary gift. And it is also an empty container ready to be filled with whatever you desire. The universe, god, or whatever you believe, has given us this amazing gift of time - probably and hopefully much more than 24 hours - on a planet and at a time in history where there is the most extraordinary number of possibilities and opportunities.
And our role in this is to learn the skill of of filling that time in a way that fills our hearts, and makes us fizz with excitement and fun. It is our role to use our time wisely and to make choices and prioritise as if our lives depended on it. And make no mistake - they do.
In recent times we’ve got caught up unintentionally with lots of stuff that isn’t that important, and found ourselves in a spiral of busyness and time scarcity, and in the process we’ve lost sight of what matters and what’s important. We’ve forgotten our time is a precious, brilliant gift.
If you’ve been living from a place of scarcity, and filling your world full of things you don’t really care about up until now, what I want to say to you is all of this is okay. In the grand scheme of human beings and life on earth this is not even as important as a blip. So don’t go beating yourself up or judging yourself for not being more….whatever… And, at the same time, what you do, and the life you live, matters. It matters to you, to those around you, your friends, family, kids, parents, dog. And it matters to your society, your country. And if you believe in the butterfly effect, as I do, it also matters to strangers on the opposite side of the planet both now and in the yet unwritten future.
If this is a moment of realisation for you, what’s great about this is from this moment forward you can make any number of changes in the way you live your life and spend your time. It doesn’t require government legislation or the changing direction of a juggernaut corporation. It’s as simple as taking a moment, and asking yourself - What’s really important to me? And how do I really want to spend my precious time on this earth? You already have all the licence and agency you need to make conscious choices and do things differently. And here’s some help to get you started:
1. How you chose to see time is important - try this on: Time is abundant. There is enough time, more than enough time, for exactly what you want and need. Your perspective here matters a lot. If you approach time as abundant, and speak of it as abundant, and notice all the ways it IS abundant (and trust me it is) it will become your reality. And what a nicer place to come from in our lives - abundance over scarcity. Moreover, in your gleeful abundance consider the emotional state you’d most like to experience with time? Perhaps calm, relaxation, or even joy? If your relative state to scarcity was stress, what will you choose instead?
2. You have choice. You have so much more choice in almost every situation than you think you do. Be as mindful as you can - question hard your assumptions about where you make up you have no choice -and choose wisely the ingredients that you chose to fill your container of life with. Choice is everywhere, in every moment. Sometime’s it is easier to giveaway our choice, or pretend we have none. It’s time to take ownership and Live. In. Choice.
3. Prioritise. Prioritise. Prioritise. In every decision we make we are inherently making something more important than something else - One thing gets moved to the front of the queue, something else becomes second or third in line; One thing becomes more valuable, and so you have by default made something less valuable. So prioritise as if your life depends on it. Allow all the glorious, life-affirming, fun, joyful, wholesome things in your world to float to the surface. And question with every fibre of your being what you make up is urgent.
And finally, enjoy. You are THE curator of your life, and therefore you are THE curator of your time. We’ve been given the unimaginably brilliant gift of existing on a planet and at a time in history where there is the most extraordinary number of possibilities and opportunities. The least we can do is enjoy.