If you read my first post about time and thought, “I’d really like to feel time isn’t flying by, but unfortunately I do,” then this post is for you! In addition to injecting novelty into my life, there are a few other habits and behaviors that have helped me feel less busy and less helpless about the passing of time. I came across an article while researching this topic that perfectly put into words several of them, so I’m going to rely on it to help me explain — but definitely read the whole thing for yourself, too!
Flip the script. Try your darndest not to reply with “busy, but good” when people ask how you’ve been. (Instead, get specific and tell them about something you have going on!) Words have power, and can become self-fulfilling prophecies. If you’re constantly saying you’re busy (out loud, or, equally importantly, in your own head), of course you’re going to feel busy! From the article: “We can choose how we think about our time. Talking about how crazed and busy we feel can reinforce the feeling that time is scarce, but to what end? Says Duenckel: ‘Everyone is stressed. Everyone is busy, and there is no point competing because that is silly, and we never really gain anything anyway.'”
Determine your priorities. When I feel overwhelmed and like I don’t have enough time, I try to stop, get out a piece of paper, and write down all the to dos that are swimming in my mind. Even that initial step is helpful, because I eventually get to the end of the list and realize it’s not endless, even if it feels that way! :) Then, I look through the whole list and star the things that actually have to get done THAT day or THAT evening, and just start plowing through them. Knowing that there are only a few things that HAVE to get done seems more doable and gives me the confidence to get started, and the focus and determination I gain as I check things off means I usually have enough momentum to check off even a few “extras,” too.
Start from abundance. From the article: “Learn to embrace a paradox: Time is precious and plentiful. To have as much time as you need for the things you want, you need to be ruthless about not filling time with things you don’t care about.” YES! So true, but so difficult sometimes. It’s a lot easier to scroll through Instagram or watch TV (because those things are habits or easily accessible) than pull out a book, work on a project, call a friend, or take a bath. So often, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we have the time — we just don’t use it well. This is probably the habit I struggle with the most, and one reason why I love camping. Again, from the article: “If you want to feel like you have all the time in the world, try not turning on the TV, phone, or computer some night. See how slowly the time passes if you just go outside to stare at the stars.” SO TRUE.
A final thought, and then we’ll move on to another topic for now :) Sarah asked on my first post whether I had any good responses to the “time is flying” comments. My favorite is the most honest: “Actually, I don’t really feel like time is flying – the pace has felt really nice to me recently!” This usually takes the questioner back a bit, and leads to a more interesting conversation than we might have had if we had just stayed on the surface of the routine back-and-forth.
I’d love to hear if y’all use any of these strategies, or if you have a different one that works for you!!