Are you so busy that you keep telling yourself you don’t have time to do the things you’d really like to do? Or are you on the opposite side of the spectrum, watching the days go by while you accumulate things on your to-do lists without ever tackling or finishing them? I can relate to both scenarios.
There have been times in my life when it seemed that the hours in a day weren’t enough to do all I needed to do. Life felt stressful and exhausting. I’ve also gone through periods when I gave myself the leisure of slowing down, but at the expense of neglecting some of my projects. Life was easier, but it felt slow and unproductive.
When I finally decided to integrate all the things I wanted in my life, so I would really enjoy it, I had to find a middle ground! The question was, how? How could I run a business, take care of my house, my daughter, and our dog, while also carving out time to tackle chores and read and write and play and travel and meditate and go out and sleep and do nothing? I’m a single mom, so let me tell you:
It wasn’t easy.
I tried different ways.
Failed many times.
Until I found my groove.
The flow of life is like the waves in the ocean: continuously fluctuating, with things and people coming and going. So are the layers of the mind, the creative power they hold, and the movement of awareness. It’s an ongoing dynamic dance you need to learn if you want to create a life you truly LOVE. Anything rigid tends to break and crumble.
Time only exists in the mind. It can stretch and shrink depending on our perception of things. This is why our experience of time is so relative and individualized. We can spend hours on a creative project without getting tired at all, or feel exhausted after an hour-long meeting because we’re bored to death.
The ego-mind, however, tends to fixate on things and keep them fixed. Most of us have been trained to think in terms of patterns and schedules because the minute we started school we were told what to do and when. Then we continued with a structured schedule in college or when we got our first job. This makes time feel like it’s never truly ours, as if it’s either given or taken, but we never have any control over it, which is an old belief.
Now let me ask you, if you try to relax, enjoy yourself, or do nothing, does your mind make you feel like you should be doing something-other-than-what-you’re-doing? Then it’s probably because you don’t know how to handle your own time without someone else dictating your schedule. The problem is not having a schedule, but not setting it so as to manage your time according to your desires and energy flow.
Distribute Your Time According To Your Heart Energy
First of all, you need to shift your perception of time with a more fluid and dynamic approach. Because unless you change how you see the things-that-need-to-be-done as springboards to carve out the time you want for yourself or your creative flow, you will feel that there is not enough time to enjoy or accomplish the things you love or that life is just passing you by.
The trick is to create a balance between what-needs-to-be-done and what you enjoy doing. In other words, getting the chores out of the way to leave enough time and energy to cultivate what brings you joy and connects you to yourself. If you are excited about a specific project, you’ll speed up tackling anything that gets in the way. This requires setting your priorities straight and developing the discipline to deal with the tasks at hand with a detached yet focused mind. No whining. The same applies to life or business.
Try the points below to take care of chores while keeping your energy balanced. You’ll find the best way to get things accomplished when you give yourself permission to find a rhythm that matches your own enthusiasm and energy levels. It requires discipline, but also playfulness—a healthy balance of masculine and feminine energies.
- Set up priorities according to what brings you joy. Because the way you do anything is the way you tend to do everything, knowing which types of things require more or less energy and effort can help you manage how to handle each. We like or dislike different chores for varying reasons, so be honest with yourself about what really matters to you. Can you reduce or delegate some of the others?
- Speed up where you tend to stagnate. Observe when and why you slow down, speed up, or stagnate. Develop the discipline to tackle very quickly the things you tend to neglect or put off, without giving them much thought (paying bills, doing laundry, organizing your office, making appointments, walking the dog, etc.). Thinking about what needs to be done or why will slow things down. Remember that imperfect action is better than no action.
- Anticipate things to take 3 times longer. Instead of feeling pressured or getting stressed about what you have to do, always give yourself extra time to do it. If it’s something mechanical you dread, make it fun: play music while you do it, imagine yourself in a play, sing out loud, or chat on the phone with a friend while you finish it.
- Break bigger projects into smaller chunks. Just the thought of tackling a big project can be overwhelming and paralyzing, so you’ll tend to procrastinate. Break big or boring chores into smaller chunks to make them easier to handle, and schedule specific days/times to get them done. Every time to finish a small chunk, you’ll feel good about it and more motivated to move on to the next.
- Integrate tasks to facilitate a flow. This one is probably pretty obvious: instead of handling one thing at a time, organize your day to accomplish various tasks at once, especially if some are mechanical in nature. For instance, listen to that seminar or audio book while folding laundry or doing dishes; schedule shopping and other chores in one single outing; do a little cleaning every time you go in the kitchen, bathroom, etc., instead of letting the cleaning accumulate.
- Use technology to save time and energy. One of the greatest advantages of living in the 21st century is that you can automate and do lots of things with a computer or a phone. You can pay your bills or set recurring payments online, order things, balance your bank accounts, keep your books, communicate with others, and so on. If you feel like you’re technologically challenged, take a course or find someone to teach you. It’s really no rocket science and it will save you tons of time and energy in the long run.
- Keep in mind that your main goal is to carve time for yourself. No matter how busy you are, make time for things that connect you to you or make you feel better. Whether it’s a creative activity, a visit to a museum or bookstore, a spa treatment, or your self-exploration and spiritual growth, YOU should be your strongest motivation.
- Remember that energy + time = life. This is YOUR life we’re talking about here. Every wasted moment is gone forever, so find ways to speed up where you tend to slow down and slow down where you’re always rushing. This is not simply about getting things accomplished, it’s also about enjoying your life!
When you have a deadline, your mental capacity expands to get things done. It’s not that time magically stretches; you hold yourself accountable and your energy speeds up as a result of your decision to meet the deadline. Now, if you had a date with a lover, you’d make the time to get ready for your date and spend time with this person. Here again, you decide that you will have that time to enjoy what you want to enjoy.
So it’s really your choice to get things accomplished or to procrastinate, and it depends on how committed you are to the things you want in life. Once you find something that excites and motivates you, it’s much easier to take care of everything else in a more fluid manner. Contact me today to find out what that may be for you, so you can stop wasting your life with things that don’t matter and focus on the things you desire that will bring you joy!
© 2014 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.