What if it was possible to make more time?
If I could have one super power that might be it: the ability to create more time.
I know it would be coveted power among our readers.
Many of you have written and told me that you want to make changes in your life, you want to spend time on things that matter, you want to build a platform, but it’s just so damn hard to find the time.
I hear you. And it’s true. Without regard to our wishes, time marches on.
Time is predictable like that. Time is always the same. One second always lasts one second.
Still, our experience of time varies greatly. Sometimes a minute feels like an hour and sometimes an hour passes in what feels like a minute.
Did you catch that?
Time is always the same. Our experience of time, though, can change.
With that in mind, here’s some extremely good news:
While we can’t control time, we can control our experience of time.
You see, we have far more control over our experience and interpretation of life then we realize. That includes our experience of time.
And so, in a sense, we can create time. We can create the experience of having more time.
24 hours of time…
Your alarm clock goes off. Your heart begins to race. You jump out of bed and the onslaught begins. Life is coming at you fast. You rush to get ready, shovel something into your mouth, and race out the door.
Your work day starts with a flood of emails and inbound requests. You respond to one. Then another. And another. The faster you process all that is coming at you the more that comes your way.
You limp home at the end of the day, try to get a few things done around your place, and wonder what the heck happened all day. It’s time for bed and your mind is still racing. You lay down bracing yourself for another battle tomorrow.
24 hours of time…
You awake naturally – no alarm clock sounds. You take a deep breath and smile gently. You casually get out of bed and spend 5 minutes in stillness, just noticing your breath. You grab a quick bite and stroll out the door.
Your work day starts with a review of the one or two important things that you want to get done today. You work on those tasks before responding to your email. It’s ten AM and you already feel accomplished. The rest of the day passes with a crisp cadence.
You return home feeling tired in a good way. You put your whole self into this day and it’s time to wind down. After some dinner, a little tidying up, and time spent with loved ones, it’s time for bed. You read for ten minutes, and fall fast asleep, surrendering yourself to the night.
You have the same 24 hours in both scenarios, and yet your experience of that time is vastly different.
Now, the events of each of these two days are similar but not the same. And therefore, it’s not a pure 1 to 1 comparison.
Still, both could easily be typical days for the same person.
If your interpretation of time is going to change, it helps to also make a few small behavioral changes to arrive at your desired perspective.
Here are some suggestions.
Take Time to Make Time
It is counterintuitive, but if you are going to make more time, the first step is to take a little bit of time.
1. Take time daily.
Even in the busiest of days, we can find five minutes.
Spend five minutes in silence. Focus on your breath during this five minutes – that’s it, nothing else.
At the end of your five minutes of breathing, name something you are grateful for and let yourself experience that gratitude.
This practice will have a profound impact on your experience of time. By slowing yourself down and expressing appreciation, time also will slow and feel more peaceful.
If you can spare more than five minutes, try repeating this practice at the end of the day. Also consider taking a few minutes to read inspirational material. I read scripture in the morning and a book at night.
2. Take time weekly.
It’s possible to be busy and yet not frantically fighting off life as it comes at you. Busy people who experience time at a smooth pace tend to create structures that allow them to identify and actively choose how they want to spend their time.
One structure that has worked for me and many others is a Weekly Review.
First, identify a few things that you’d like to prioritize with your time.
Then, take thirty minutes on a weekly basis and do the following:
- Assess how well your time matched your priorities
- Decide if you need to change your approach by allotting time differently
- Decide if you want to change your priorities for any reasons
- Calendar and plan your next week
I’ve written about an in-depth weekly review process here.
My friend Scott has written about a process that he learned from Tony Robbins here.
The Time is Now
Whatever methods you end up employing (or not employing) to make more time, remember that all we really have is this present moment.
Allow yourself to be present, and the rest will take care of itself.
Question: How do you experience time? Are you rushed? If so, why? What helps you slow time down?