Tips for Mastering Time
Are you feeling stressed about a seeming lack of time to do everything you need to get done? Have you experienced time seeming to speed up lately? If so, you’re not alone, as most people today are greatly challenged around time issues.
Would you like to make time your friend, rather than an enemy you have to beat? You can fill time with magic and meaning, rather than with stress. You can see time as a way to help you clarify your values and priorities, rather than as a taskmaster or an obstacle to overcome. I’ve found that I can learn a great deal about myself by studying my daily relationship to time–it’s become a spiritual practice for me.
Here’s some techniques I’ve learned for having a friendlier relationship with linear time (what the Greeks call Kronos time):
- Affirm to yourself: “I have all the time I need to do what I really need to do.” I’ve been practicing this regularly lately, and it’s amazing to experience how time expands!
- Take slow, deep breaths and feel time expand with each breath, as you enter spherical or sacred time–what the Greeks called Kairos time.
- Practice moving in different rhythms–walk around your home or office or down the street more slowly and deliberately. Or speed up your pace when you’re feeling distracted and need more focus or when you’re tired and need more energy.
- Study carefully how much time exactly each daily activity takes and make a note of the data. For example, note how long it actually takes you to get dressed and get out the door–not what you think it should take.
- Write down all the times you said, “I don’t have time for this” in the past week; then write down all the times you said, “I’ll make time for this.” Notice what types of activities these were and observe any patterns in this, as it will reveal your priorities and what you value.
- Create a time budget, like you would a financial budget, and allocate more time to your priorities–activities that support your deeper values–what’s closest to your heart and your higher purpose.
- Don’t respond to urgent activities that may demand your attention when they don’t relate to your goals or your service to the world.
- Practice the Power of Not Now: simplify your life and release some activities, as less can be more–more quality, more fulfillment.
- Allow time for the unexpected as flexibility is key to a less stressful life and good management of time.
- Surrender any inner resistance to the present moment and accept it fully as it is, without labeling or judging, as if you chose it.
- Give each thing you do your full attention and notice when you are not present –for that will bring you into the present.
- Be grateful for the lessons of your past in order to activate a new and empowered future self.
- Realize that you are creating your future by your thoughts and feelings in each moment.
Many of us have a scarcity consciousness around time—“There’s only 24 hours in the day,” I used to say. Is your sense of accomplishment based on how many things you can get done in a given day–or is it based on the quality of your experiences each day and how much you’ve grown spiritually or helped others in some way?
Do you find that you’re always trying to “beat the clock” to “save time”? But did you ever ask yourself what you are saving it for? People say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” But when you’re having a good time you don’t really worry about saving time, do you? And they say that “time heals all wounds” when enough of it has passed. So time is clearly a subjective, psychological experience.
I’ve found that time management is not about getting more things done or being busy. It’s about prioritizing what’s important–your higher purpose and what your heart values. Many people put off what’s most important to them in order to get all the other stuff out of the way first. Then they never have time for what’s really important–spending more time with family and friends, or with their spiritual practice or their contribution to the world.
Time management is essentially self-management and self-discipline. Unconscious habitual behavior actually consumes a great deal of your time, so becoming more aware of your patterns and noticing exactly how much time each activity takes can make a big difference.
From a more metaphysical perspective, time is actually an illusion produced by a succession of states of consciousness. Time seems to go faster or slower depending on your state of consciousness. If you are in a higher state of consciousness, vibrating at a higher frequency, you can become detached from events and see the “big picture” or you can “zoom in” on specific events. You can see the causes of events, think more clearly and accomplish more in less time, because you synthesize a lot of information.
The closer in consciousness you are to an event (the more involved you are with it), the less you see of it. The more detached you are from it, the more you see of its wholeness–past, present and future. This is the significance of the “witness or observer” consciousness.
When you are in higher consciousness, your vibration speeds up, energy is released and you process change more quickly. You’re more expansive and harmonious, and time moves with a calming rhythm and flow. Higher states of consciousness use subtler (lighter or quicker) energy to process experiences faster, thus handling physical change much quicker than lower states. Higher states “eat” time at a faster rate and so time seems to fly by and expand. Lower states of consciousness use denser and slower energies to process experiences more slowly, thus giving the experience of time passing slowly.
Accepting an experience, no matter how unpleasant, speeds the processing rate. Resisting an experience slows the processing rate. The higher your consciousness, the more expansive and inclusive of past and future. Resistance to the past creates detriment, while acceptance can empower the future. The greater your ability to include and learn from the past, the more optimal will be your potential future, as you harvest lessons from the past.
If you speed up your consciousness–thinking more clearly and synthetically, seeing the big picture, the larger context, you can make better choices and be more efficient.
You can follow your intuition and inner guidance about right timing–in order to not miss important opportunities. By studying synchronicity–an alignment of events in time–you can recognize an significant relationship.
It’s important for us to avoid living exclusively through memory and anticipation—desiring either the past or the future—and instead be more fully in the present. Notice that everything you see in the physical world is a result of past thoughts and actions and thus is an effect, not a cause. This is a very helpful perspective when you look at events and the state of the world today. It helps us remember to start creating more positive thoughts and feelings today to help create the world we want tomorrow.
Corinne McLaughlin is Executive Director of The Center for Visionary Leadership and co-author of The Practical Visionary and Spiritual Politics. She is a Fellow of The World Business Academy and the Findhorn Foundation, and a member of the Tranformational Leadership Council. For more information on her teleseminar with Gordon Davidson on Mastering Time, contact her at: corinn[email protected].