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I Need More Time!

Are you stressing about time? Maybe there's a different way to look at it.

It was one of those days. I was rushing, rushing, rushing. I went from pilates class to the shower to the office, then to the first meeting, then the second, then to a conference call, and so on until it was late afternoon. Rush, rush, rush. I kept saying I wish I had more time. I wanted time to relax, to talk with people, to be mindful, calm, and collected, and to relax. (Oh, I said that already.)

Then I remembered a book I had read recently. The author talked about how we control time, and that time doesn't control us. He meant that however we spend our time, well, that's our choice. So if I look at my morning that way, in terms of my choices, then I chose to go to pilates and wanted to spend my time that way. So true. I did want that. And I wanted each one of the meetings and the conference call. I wanted to be involved in every activity that I was doing; I chose to spend my time that way. So why am I complaining? Why am I putting my arm across my forehead so dramatically, shaking my head, and blaming time for my feeling so pushed? It’s not time’s fault. Am I really thinking that somewhere there is a Wizard of Time purposefully restricting hours and minutes from me, secretly smiling at my distress, and giving others lots more hours and minutes so that they can be relaxed and calm?

Fredrik Ohlander/Unsplash
Source: Fredrik Ohlander/Unsplash

Blaming time is saying, "There's never enough time," and "I need more time," and "I don't have enough time to..." Think about it: If you are writing a book, you may complain about not being able to go to the beach or out with friends, but you are choosing to spend your time on the book. Imagine you are doing your taxes. You may not want to be doing that, but you are choosing to do it, and for good reason.

Imagine you are late to an appointment because you chose to finish watching Good Morning America before leaving your house. Now you are rushing and worried, and panicked. But you chose to spend your time the way you did. Chill: It was your preference. You spent your time the way you really wanted to. Let it go and be mindful of your choices. Like when you hit the snooze button three times and then have to go out into the cold with wet hair because you don't have enough time to dry it. The truth is (ugh) that you chose to spend the time a different way.

Changing your view of time, looking at it in terms of the choices you make or made, and how you view those choices can change the way you go through your day. When you see yourself as helpless in face of all the chores and commitments you have, that has a burdensome feel to it. You may be seeing yourself as a victim of demands and expectations—your own or those of others. The truth is, though, at some level the way you are spending time is your choice.

There's a silver lining here: If you're frequently upset about not having enough time, maybe you aren't being mindful about your choices. Are you spending your days the way you want to? That may mean being at a job you don't enjoy just to pay your bills. That's a choice. You might wish you had a different job, one you enjoyed more, but still choosing to work is a choice. You want to spend time doing your job so that you can pay your bills. Leaving work early (repeatedly), packing up 30 minutes ahead of time and watching the clock, spending the day wishing it were time to go home, creates stress and tells your boss you don't really care about your job. Being unemployed is not the way you want to spend time. So think about what your priorities are about time.

Think about the other ways that you choose to spend your time but then fight against it, perhaps sending the message that you don't really want to be doing something. Maybe in some situations it fits, but it often doesn't and your view may add to the stress you feel.

When you stop pushing against time, and stop complaining as if the problem is time and not your choices, you'll be more relaxed and less stressed.

Okay, so I have plenty of time, I'm doing what I choose to do, and I've chosen to be this busy ...