I recently heard a supposedly true story...
When preparations were being made for the Olympics in China, the staff was being trained on how to engage visitors in culturally appropriate small talk.
During the training for "American small talk", Chinese were instructed to talk about how busy they are and how time is just flying by. "Americans love to talk about how they just don't have any time!"
Wow. Really? Does this imply we're on our own weird time trip? That really got me thinking.
Let's look at our language choice:
Do you spend your time?
Do you invest time?
What about creating time?
Try it. Go through each one, switch it around, make an I statement. Read it out loud.
"I am spending time."
"I am investing my time"
"I am creating time for..."
All of these could be true and used in nearly the same context. Each statement elicits a different bodily response. What did you notice?
As you go through your busy day, I offer you a few time salvaging tips.
1) Do not check your email first thing in the morning!
Ever notice how an hour evaporates in just a few minutes? Talk about a time warp!
Spend a few minutes getting clear on the priorities of your day first thing. What are the goals? Notice I did not say the "to-do list". Make it more important than that, a list of your goals for the day. Remember things like a walk, a nap, dancing, or a relaxing bath can count as very important goals in your day. When you have your list, number them according to priority.
Formulate an email/FB strategy. I'm talking about boundaries here! Before you go online, gather your wits about you, decide how much time you choose to give this. An hour? 30 minutes? Scan for priority emails, answer those first! When your time is up, MOVE ON! Look at your goals for the day and get on with it!
2) Turn off media alerts!
Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end if you wait to answer a text, return a call or an email. Finish what you're working on. Enjoy the conversation with the person in front of you! Be present. Set a time to check texts, return calls, and emails. This may be a few times through out your day, but please do not make it your default mode. Each time you are interrupted, you lose focus and momentum.
3) The dishes can wait!
This is my personal weak spot. It takes so much will power to leave the mess til later! Any time a project gets difficult my default is to clean. It's instant results, I know I'm good at it, so I'll feel like a success, right? In the long run, noway. I can do the dishes several times a day, and say I just don't have time to get to Yoga class, I'm lying to myself.
4) Are you still watching TV? If so, watch it intentionally.
What show or shows are really important to you? If you have TiVo, or another method to zip you thru commercials, use it! Set some boundaries for yourself, how much television do you want to be watching?
What are you creating time for in your life right now?