The days are full; we have each moment accounted for, we are attempting to ‘make-up time’ and multi-task at every opportunity. Intellectually we all know that being in the moment has holistic benefits but it is challenging when you are dealing with clients, answering the phone, replying to Instagram messages, meeting a deadline, dealing with suppliers, building the email list, writing the blog, maintaining the home, the car, the organic garden, creating gourmet meals from scratch, working on that 90 day body transformation challenge, perfecting your relationship, being the best parent in the world and flossing! How on earth do we stay present and in the moment? It is our simplest and most profound choice in life, and it is to Be Where You Are. But why is it so hard?
I often hear, “I am so busy,” “Where did the day go?”, “I need to be quick, I am running behind time,” “I wish I weren’t here, I have so many other things to do” there is a constant focus on the next moment, or that the moments would be better if we are anywhere but where we are. For most of us, there is little understanding of the link between the moments of time and fulfillment. In reality, there is no fixed experience of time, a day on holiday always seems to move quicker than a day in the office. Time is a fluid, changeable experience yet we subscribe to “time sickness.” We feel as though there is never enough time to do everything we need to do and we compound the disappointment by feeling guilty, frustrated and anxious for not accomplishing what we set out to do.
I am not all Zen about this, and it has been a journey to discover and enrich my relationship with time. And there are still moments, where an overwhelming feeling creeps in, moments where I move into anxiousness, but they are short moments because my awareness has become a habit and I come back to my ‘now’ ever so quickly and feel peace even with all the noise around me.
Here are some tips that I use to maintain a state of awareness, release overwhelm and to help me find more space in my days
1. Go to Bed Earlier.
Yes. Sleep. I can feel you rolling your eyes! The late hours of the night when the home is quiet may seem like the ideal time to get things done, but depriving yourself of sleep inhibits brain function, a fast track to reducing productivity the following day. Jot down some reasons you might not get a good night’s sleep every night and then write three practical and simple changes you can make. Some examples could be no coffee, tea or alcohol five hours before you go to bed, making your bedroom completely dark, placing your devices in another room, going to sleep when the baby sleeps or doing a 5-minute meditation in bed.
2. Quit Multitasking.
While multitasking may feel like we are getting more done, the quality of our presence is lessened. It uses up more oxygenated glucose in the brain and makes us more tired. Over time it damages our neural networks, increases our stress levels and mistakes are more likely to happen when tasks are more demanding. Multitasking for me used to be a badge of honour, now I prioritise my day and let go of the things I could be doing and do what I need to.
3. Listen Fully.
How often is your brain elsewhere when someone else’s lips are moving? When you listen you avoid wasting time with confusion later. Practice being with the person wholeheartedly, stopping what you are doing and looking at them. And if that is not possible, ask them to speak about it at another time when you can be fully present.
4. Create a time Mantra.
When overwhelm and anxiety creeps in, I stop. I take three deep breathes and on the inhale I breathe in abundance and say to myself ‘The only real time is here and now,’ and on the exhale I breathe out lack and overwhelm. Write down some kind words for your mantra.
Seeing the day unfold in your mind’s eye helps you better prioritise, making you more productive. Before I get out of bed, I take a few moments and see my day in its entirety. I play out in my mind how I will have a shower, make breakfast, sort out the toddler, see clients, do my follow up emails, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, walk to the store, prepare dinner, drive to my appointment, complete my meditation, write, study and anything else my day will entail. I see absolutely everything in the day I need to and would like to do. There is no judgment attached it is merely, how I see my day.
Sitting in silence may seem like the last thing you need to do when you are busy, but you will have more time when you meditate because it makes you more productive. Meditation helps quiet our thoughts and relax our body. Another meditation benefit is that it teaches us nonreactivity, as we observe our experience in a nonjudgmental manner letting thoughts flow we can simply be present, allowing us to get in touch with who we are and what we want to prioritise better to make us happy.
7. Learn to Say No.
We all receive requests for demands on our time. Ask yourself if the request is in line with your priorities? Saying no can be uncomfortable; people will often be more understanding than you think.
Using our time well comes down to feeling content and fulfilled. Once you start practicing being where you are at the moment, you will experience greater clarity, productivity, and satisfaction. You will identify what is really important in your life and timelessness will be your gift. Remember to be kind to yourself; lasting change takes time, no pun intended!
Ocea Marie xx