5 Ways to Find More Time in Your Overscheduled DayBy Homaira Kabir
24 short hours—that’s all we’ve got in a day! And yet, in the mad rush of our lives, we are constantly trying to fit a zillion things into its tiny package.
I had been on this busyness treadmill since the start of the New Year. Initially, I got a lot done. But very soon, the pace and structure of my days began to weigh me down. In an ideal world where nothing goes wrong and no one bothers you with their problems, I may have gone on endlessly. But life isn't like that. Kids fall ill, clients need extra help, problems arise and tend to blow up if not attended to. I found myself losing my calm way too often, and felt like I was running on a time treadmill that was draining all joy from my life.
I knew I had to let go of at least some of my load. I needed more space in my day. Space to maneuver the uncertainties of life. Space to be there for friends in their times of need. Space to read bedtime stories to my little one before she was too old to want me to. Dr. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, calls this practice of creating space, "emptying the cup".
But boy, was it hard! Like the clutter junkie who can't let go of the stuff in their lives, I clung onto each item on my to-do list. I justified its presence and bemoaned the loss of its fruition. I needed a change of mindset. Yes, it took work, but when I found it, I felt I had finally broken free from a cage that had curbed my ability to dream and create.
Here are the 5 steps that set me free. I believe they can do the same for you!
1. Stop Believing in Busyness
Believing that we need to fill each moment of our day with action to feel productive is a fallacy of our times. We evolved to benefit from ample breaks, variety and connection. Even our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent no more than 3-4 hours per day in the active pursuit of prey or plant material. Consider the time for recovery, socialization and artistic expression as essential to your well-being.
2. Use a Long-Term Lens
There are times when everything on our lists seems equally compelling. However, when we're connected to our true selves, we become aware of the direction that really speaks to us.