Time, or lack of, is one of the most common things people talk to me about when I am covering stress management and wellbeing. Commonly people mention too much to do in too little time. They struggle with work life balance as well as time spent with others and time spent on their own.
Our experience with time is however a tangible relationship. Think about when you are waiting for important news, or if you are bored – time can seem to go so slowly. Or when you are really engaged in what you are doing, or perhaps running late – time seems to disappear.
I remember years ago I had a bit of an AHA moment in the middle of a busy day. I was doing half an hour of interval training on a treadmill and I can remember feeling like I had so much to do that day. As I was running I felt hurried. And then the AHA moment hit me, in fact I am amazed I didn’t fly off the back of the treadmill as that moment definitely got me off of the proverbial treadmill of life that many find themselves on.
What dawned on me in that moment is that half and hour is half an hour. Whilst that sounds obvious think about it a bit more….
The actual physical impact of that time on my day was exactly the same irrelevant of how I felt in it, it was half an hour. So whether I felt hurried in it or relaxed it would not affect the physical time impact on the day.
However…the way I felt in that half an hour would massively impact me and what I did throughout the entire day. I think that much of the stress we have regarding time is more to do with our relationship with it than it is with anything else. Feeling hurried isn’t effective. Learning to be the stillness at the eye of any storm is a far more effective and productive way of living. If you ever watch footage of the emergency team receiving a red call patient you will notice that the ambulance crew and the A&E team work seamlessly together in a calm state as the patient is handed over from the ambulance team to the A&E team. These situations, like all emergency services, are about as intense a life or death moment as we can get and yet they do not react in a hurried, hustled way. If they did they would not be as effective. Without realising it we often hurry and hustle our way through days and in doing so reduce our effectiveness whilst increasing our stress levels.
Now before you think you haven’t got time to slow down because you have so much to do…
It is not about being all leisurely, wasting time, or not acting at speed. It is about being more present, calm and alert. Think Jedi knight rather than headless chicken.
Whilst there are many other factors that can help us to use time more efficiently the relationship we have with time is one of the most important ones. One of the saddest things about our relationship with time is that when we end up in a treadmill way of living life we are literally letting it pass us by. What a waste.
Maybe it is worth your time to check in and notice the relationship you have with time in life – are you letting it mindlessly pass by? And how about your relationship with time throughout the day – do you feel hurried and hustled? Is that how you want to live?
Whilst there is so much more to look at in how we manage time I hope this has given you food for thought. Since my AHA moment on the treadmill woke me up to the treadmill of living, my life has never been the same since. Thank God.
If time is an issue for you then if you can give me 7 hours of it I can give you back your life….