When I look around me nowadays, it seems our most precious and valuable commodity is not money… but actually time. I can often hear people saying things like, “I don’t have enough time,” “I’m so busy,” “I’m exhausted” or “I’ve got too much work to do.” It’s as if in our fast-paced world of today, these phrases seem to have become our modern-day mantra of sorts. But the big problem is, the more we keep saying it to ourselves and to each other, the more of a reality it becomes to us.
But is it truly our reality?
Now I admit most people have way too many obligations today. Things like family, work, health concerns, childcare, financial stressors, etc., are all enough to make your head spin and quite frankly, I don’t know how most people do it. But watching so many friends, family members and colleagues running every day from one obligation to another makes me wonder if this is how life is really supposed to be? Because even when we could have a moment or period of time to just relax and be with our families, friends or just with ourselves, we seem to have an impulse to fill it with another activity right away, and so the vicious cycle continues.
But what if we could create more time in our lives? What if there was a balance somewhere?
Somewhere between us waking up at 6 am, getting to work, working all day, getting back home and then managing all the other life tasks, what if instead we reprioritized our lives to reflect what is most important? Things like family, friendship, time to relax and enjoy life, travel, hobbies, taking care of our health and most importantly, taking care of ourselves.
Now I know you might be thinking, “Yeah right! Take care of myself? I can barely take care of everything I have to do each day!” But instead of thinking it’s all or nothing or that we have to change everything, what if we started to take small steps in the direction of creating time in our lives and making it more of a priority? What if we set the intention and made the decision that we, as human beings, and our lives are the most important? That having time with family and loved ones and experiencing the things we enjoy are the priority. That the life we have been given was never meant to be spent only working and keeping constantly busy.
But, it all comes back to our priorities. It may sound like I’m describing a fantasy world or that I’m living in la-la land, but I promise, I’m not. I, myself, made the difficult, but all-too-necessary decision 5 years ago to leave my life in Los Angeles and quit my job as director of a mental health agency. I was completely burned out and on the verge of panic attacks watching my life passing me by as I spent most of my day in an office, stuck behind a desk, with very little time for anything that I really wanted to do. On my time off, I was either sitting in traffic, or waiting in line somewhere, feeling frustrated and hating the life I was living. I new then, I had to reprioritize my life or my mind, body and spirit was going to suffer dearly. Now I know it’s not possible for everyone to quit their jobs (although sometimes this is necessary), but it’s entirely possible to begin making small changes to have more time in our lives and to make ourselves a priority again, but like I did 5 years ago, it has to start with us making it a priority in the first place.
How to Start Creating More Time In Your Life
So maybe you’re thinking now, “Ok, I want more time in my life, but how the heck do I start? Here’s a few suggestions to start using in your day-to-day life:
1. Stop and think about why you feel you don’t have any time and if it’s truly the reality.
- Are the activities in your life at this moment truly essential? Are there moments or spaces of time during the day being spent on things that are time-suckers? Things like watching TV, being on the Internet, or going from one scheduled activity to another for you or your family that aren’t essential.
2. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time,” try changing your mantra to, “I might not have time at this moment, but I will make time.”
- The power of our thoughts is incredible. Whatever we think and believe becomes our reality. So even if it seems impossible at this moment to make more time in your life, start by creating the possibility in your mind. By doing this, you may be surprised to start finding solutions to creating more time that weren’t available when it seemed impossible.
3. Give yourself permission to start saying “no” to people and activities as necessary.
- This may bring up feelings of guilt or fear of how the other person will react, but that’s ok. Acknowledge the feelings and then remind yourself of your overall goal of having more time to enjoy the things that are truly important.
4. When you choose to participate in an activity, ask yourself, is this really necessary in my life or my family’s life right now?
- If it’s truly not, think about what your options are. You could either set a boundary by saying “no” or not going to the event, take a break from the activity, begin to problem-solve possible solutions to reduce the activity from your schedule, or discontinue the activity all together.
5. Are there things you’re buying that aren’t really providing you happiness but are causing you to have to work more to pay for them?
- This might be a hard one to look at but ask yourself if you prefer to have more time to enjoy life, or another new (fill in the blank)? Buying things we really don’t need or have been brain-washed to buy is a trap and a vicious cycle we get caught up in, especially in western societies. But if we want more time in our lives, we may need to make different decisions about how we spend our money as well.
In the end, the most difficult part of all of this can be just believing it’s even possible to have more time. So start by making small changes and notice how you feel. When our relationship to “Father Time” changes and we start having more of it to do the things we really want to do, we often feel less stressed, more relaxed and more present with the activities we do choose to participate in. Our lives become less about a big check-list each day we have to complete, and more about enjoying the things we decide are truly important. And remember, it’s not necessary to change everything all at once. The change will be long-lasting and more profound when we do them consistently, little-by-little. By beginning to critically look at our daily activities and responsibilities, we can at least start down the path to creating more time for the things that truly bring us joy, wellbeing and happiness, and this is priceless.
Tania Manczarek is a holistic swiss army knife. A trained therapist, intuitive energy worker, certified yoga instructor, massage practitioner and hypnotist, she focuses on healing through the mind/body/spirit connection and helping people to live an authentic life. Originally, from Los Angeles, she left to travel the world over 5 years ago, to find her own path of healing and to follow her dreams. Now living in France she offers individual wellness services by phone/Skype, events and retreats in France and abroad and support groups for individuals with chronic illness. Her FB group is Feel Better Be Happy. Find out more about her and her practice here.