Creating Time to Breathe (for those who seek stillness)

I just want the world to stop, so I can get off and take a breath!

How many times have you said something like that to yourself, or heard it echoed from a friend or colleague?

Folks these days hunger for moments of peaceful stillness. And yet it feels elusive. Even on vacation. Even when your kids are asleep and you have time to yourself. Even in yoga class. 

Email beckons. The dirty dishes beckon. Finding your life's passion beckons (this is a big source of stress these days as self-actualization is bought and sold and advertised). Staying on top of current events, learning new technologies, calling mom . . . . . aaaaaggggh! 

There is a way to create time to take those deep nourishing breaths.

Society places plenty of obstacles in the way of those moments of peace (oppressive policies, unobtainable ideals, relentless advertising, increasing complexity . . . the list goes on and on), but they aren't unattainable.

Your peace requires taking a gentle look at the choices you are making in your life. Your choices are how you spend the currency that is time. I've created a list of ideas and tips to support your in re-envisioning how you can spend your time. 

  1. The tasks of life will never be complete. Read it again, and breathe. When you die you will still have a to-do list. Truly knowing that in your gut allows you to let go of the idea that you have to complete the list before you can do what you love, what is fun, what is nourishing. What would be the first thing you let go?
  2. 70% is passing. (This is a tough one for overachievers to accept.) How much time do you spend in pursuit of perfection? Do your beds need hospital corners? Does your document need to be perfect before you hand it over to your manager?  Which of your self-imposed standards have room for a little give?
  3. Holistic time management at its essence is self-management. The better you know your self, the better you can manage your time. Take note of when you are most energized, and do the most difficult work of the day during that time (as possible). Follow your energy patterns. 
  4. Prioritize what you care about. The notion that our willpower is finite is being challenged by science, but we do know that a lack of will contains significant information. You will do what you care about and enjoy. What are you prioritizing that is meaningless to you and doesn't actually need to be done -- at least as a first order priority?
  5. Sleep and downtime are essential components of holistic time management. Effective time management is not hyper-productivity; it allows time for your body to recharge, so you can work most effectively and efficiently on what is most important day in and day out. Hyper-productivity is a short-term hack that doesn't cut it in the long-run. Hyper-productivity may be ruining your yoga class for you. 

Creating time to breathe deeply requires a fresh look at time. Drop me a line if you would like to talk more about this topic. The peace that comes with stillness is yours for the taking. 

Be well.