Ever since I started my journey into the world of life coaching the most common question asked by my clients is – how do I find time for everything?
Sounds familiar, right?
In this post I’d like to keep it rather short and share with you what I have learned and used as tools in my personal life to help me ensure I have time for everything.
But before we get to practical staff, let me just put these two simple truths out there, because they are fundamental to understand:
a) You have time and I have time and everyone else does. This is about the mindset and knowing that there is a universal abundance of time in this world. Therefore when your belief system is based on this knowing, it automatically makes you more grounded and present.
b) This feeling of being overwhelmed usually hits us when we imagine all the things on our to do list in comparison to the amount of hours in one day. Please note – the person coming up with all these to-do lists is you. So if we want to change the way we feel, we need to first become responsible and admit that next time perhaps we’ll approach the list making differently and won’t be blaming circumstances and other people in not delivering the desired result on time.
And now let’s move on to practical tools.
1 – Lists.
My favorite. I am a big list maker and have lists for every day in addition to my calendar. Lists are tricky because they can make you feel great and they can make you feel anxious and stressed out.
For instance I have noticed recently that if my to do list does not have things that make me happy or bring me joy (even if it is a 15 min meditation) I feel like my needs are being suppressed and my mind starts preparing me for a stressful day ahead.
However, when I prioritize “self care” tasks I tend to feel better about myself and the day is less stressful.
If you are into list making, I suggest you notice whether you tend to put all of “self care” tasks to the bottom of the list. And then ask yourself – why not start a day from a 15 min meditation or self reflection practice? Can you have 15 min? Of course you do.
2 – Meditation.
What does it have to do with having time?
When you are piling up one thing on top of another over time you lose focus and get anxious. Essentially you get too much in your head, becoming completely disconnected from the rest of your body and reality.
Therefore, without even noticing, your mind is playing imaginary scenarios of how things might turn out, of how you might not have enough time, and you might be already picturing yourself failing or not being able to complete everything.
Next time that happens – notice that. Notice anxiety, panicking, nervousness, short fuse. Take a break from whatever you are doing even if it means to just turn away from computer screen and look outside the window.
That’s it. Let this be a beginning of your meditation practice – you noticing being in your head and coming back to reality.
As a person who spends a big chunk of time in my head I often time get very anxious about not having time. So right before the New Year as I was thinking of 2021 I decided to make a list of things that I plan for myself and that I want to accomplish. Naturally my mind created a list for January – the next few weeks. When I finished that list it looked like a terrifying mission impossible. In my usual habit I of course prioritized everything from new classes to new business ideas, sprinkled with some local day trips and workshops.
So next what I did was I created a calendar for a year and took all of the things from January, re-evaluated priorities and spread them all among 12 months.
As expected, after taking a closer look it turned out that the world will not come to an end if some of the things will be pushed to Feb or March. For example, there are several different classes I want to take – I don’t have to take them all at the same time. In fact it’s better if I have my full focus on one thing at a time. The same scenario is applicable to many other items on agenda.
In other words, it turned out my head was creating a scenario that is non- existent. When I look at my plan for this year I know I have pockets of time for new developments and unplanned travel.
And I also know that I am the one who curates this schedule.
Shown below is a screenshot of the calendar template that I have created for myself. As you can see, every month I aim to address 4 areas of my life (you can follow my template or feel free to rename them). As I am learning to become more in-tune with myself and pay attention to my intuition, I am working on developing a habit of noticing my feelings. Therefore, even the calendar template has a separate line for that.
To conclude, I’d like to add that a very common reason for being afraid of not having time is our perfectionist and high achiever mindset that tells us “whatever task is in front of you – you have to tackle it now!”. However, have we been more present, the very appropriate question we could ask ourselves would be – “do I REALLY have to do it now?”
Next time you feel that anxiety is building up – take a break, close your eyes, find your breath. Then take a pen or a pencil and write down (it is important you take it outside of your head) everything you feel you need to do. Finally, assign each item a priority number and see which ones can be done later.
We are spending most of our time so “zoomed in” into whatever is in front of us, that a simple exercise of looking at a yearly calendar can help us “zoom out”, see a bigger picture and all the time we have.
Drop a note on what’s your take on managing time and I hope you found this info helpful!