How to Bring Balance to Your Relationship with Time

relationship with time clock

We can feel driven by our clocks, calendars, and the expectations of others. Even more so by the expectations we have of ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but when I get caught up in this full on “doing” mode, I find that I miss out on the little special moments of my days. When the day comes to an end I may have a long list of wins, but did I really live? Was I fully present with and enjoying what was before me?

There are times when driving ourselves feels good or necessary, but it shouldn’t be our only way of being.

I love achieving goals, but I also crave feeling peaceful and being in touch with magical moments that show up each day.

The following ideas can support you in bringing more balance to how you use time and a sense of grace to your days.

Focus On Your Priorities: It’s easy to get distracted by working hard on the wrong things. Get clear about your values and most meaningful goals. These are what you should be focusing on. If you are spending time on something that is not working, try something else. It’s important to be intentional about how you use your valuable time and life energy.

Watch Out for Time Wasters: For me, it can be checking email or Facebook and then letting something I see sidetrack me. Time wasters can be things you just fall into, people who don’t respect your time, or choices you make influenced by underlying fears and other things that want to keep you stuck. If you find yourself spending too much time off track, return your focus to your intended goal.

Do Little Things with Great Love: Stay present to whatever you are doing. Even mundane activities can bring joy when you focus on their meditative quality. Every moment and every task has it’s own beauty. When you slow down enough to appreciate them your work can be more fulfilling.

Develop the Art of Puttering: Every once in awhile, especially if I have been too caught up in getting things done, I set aside a day for puttering. Puttering is the art of flowing gracefully from one thing to another as they come up naturally. I follow my whims. And, I usually get more things done than I do on those days when I am pushing. At the end of the day I feel at peace and grateful for how much I accomplished without even trying.

Don’t Make It Hard: If I had a dime for every time I told myself something was going to be hard I would be rich. Most of the time the things I was resisting turned out to not be hard at all. I spent more time in the uncomfortable resistance than it took to actually get the thing done. Beware of thoughts or words that make things seem difficult or challenging and if you are really courageous, eliminate the word “hard” from your vocabulary completely.

Give Yourself a Break: Lately, my favorite break is Squirrel Time. I step away from my work to sit on the porch and feed squirrels. They amuse me, warm my heart, and connect me with nature. Other breaks might include going for a walk, stretching, having a snack, dancing, or reading. Science says that our minds and bodies are more efficient when we give them regular breaks. I know they work for me.

Feed Your Engine: You will be more efficient in how you use your time when your mind and body are able to operate at their fullest potential. This means that eating healthy, taking breaks, exercise, and all those common sense things you know you should do will help you be more effective in the long run.

Having a healthy relationship with time is all about balance. You can push yourself at times, but not all the time. It is important to allow space in your days to observe special moments and let your work flow with natural focus instead of forcing things. When you do, you will limit stress, feel more peace within, and still get things done. And that, is a good thing.

Related posts:

Slow Down to Get More Done

Simple Abundance

Choosing What Not To Do

Too Busy? It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Schedule

stressed woman holding clock

One of the common concerns that my clients talk about is not having enough time.  They are working very hard and feeling very, very busy.  We often discover that they are operating in a time warp that is not based in reality.

Here is a process that will help you evaluate your relationship with time and begin to use it wisely:

1. Start by exploring and writing down what you value most in life.  Common core values include things like family, success, happiness, service, inner peace, religious beliefs, or love.  (Contact me if you would like a free list of sample values to work with.)

2. Make a list of all of the things that you spend time on or that call for your attention. (Appointments, meetings, things you do for your children, work, connecting with others, playing on Facebook, watching TV, organizations you belong to, housework, and more)  When it feels complete, take a moment to look over your list.  How does it make you feel?

3. Now, for the fun part.  Cross off everything on the list.  Everything! (Do it in a way that you can still see what was written beneath.) You do not “have to” do any of these things. Take a moment to absorb this.   It’s a clean sweep.  There is nothing left on your schedule or to do list.

4. Set an intention for creating a stress-free schedule that will serve you and your life.

5. Create a new list that only includes things that are in alignment with your values and supports the life you want to create.   Be careful not to add everything back.  This is your priority list.  Everything else is an option to plug in only if it feels meaningful, is in alignment, and you have plenty of time.  There is one exception.  If you have not included time for yourself on the list, please add it now.

6. Double check the list for illusions like the ones below:

  • Keeping you and your children busy with multiple after school activities may seem in alignment with your family values, but could really be limiting your special times together.
  • Spending a lot of time working on a website or marketing in social media may seem like a necessary use of your time, but it could be preventing you from getting out and connecting with potential clients.

7. Review your new list.  It should be much, much shorter than the original and feel in alignment with who you are and what you want.  It should feel more peaceful and leave space for spontaneity and magic.

8. Plug your new list into your schedule.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Don’t forget to leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.