Where I live, we just changed our clocks to daylight saving time, a process some wise person once described as cutting one end off your blanket and sewing it to the other end to make it longer. We all get only 24 hours a day, so what can we do stop feeling the pressure of not having enough time?
One way to get rid of that stressed out ‘so much to do, so little time’ feeling is to do the things that are pressuring you the most first. Doing your taxes, paying your bills, cleaning your closet or visiting a sick friend when you really hate hospitals: whatever it is, do it right away and it can’t bother you anymore. If it is something like a hospital visit where you have to wait for visiting hours, put it in your calendar. Now you don’t have to worry about it anymore. When your phone beeps, you will make that visit.
When we do things is important in relieving time pressure. When our energy is flowing, we can get a lot done easily and quickly. Then there are all the other times. The trick is to check your daily rhythms and find out when your energy levels are highest. My good time is first thing in the morning. I fade as the day goes on. Unfortunately as the years pass, that fading point has slipped from late evening to early evening and even into the afternoon.
So I get up early and do all the ‘have to’s’ and ‘don’t want to’s’ right away. The rest of the day then becomes me time. If you are a night person, your good time might be in the afternoon or evening. Go with that.
Eating well gives us more energy and reduces stress. However, it usually means less junk food and take-out and more home-cooked meals. I was once advised that, if I did not have the time to cook, I should have previously prepared meals in my freezer. The amusing question was where did the time come from to prepare and freeze those meals?
Fortunately, there is a way to have a freezer full of good home-cooked food without having to devote extra time to cooking. Making a double or triple batch of spaghetti sauce or lasagna takes no more time than one meal’s worth. It takes no longer to roast enough chicken or bake enough fish to have enough for later days. You get the picture. But you do have to plan for larger quantities when you are getting groceries. So…….
Unlike eating, which we always seem to find the time to do, exercise is often something we do not have enough time for. Time with family and friends can also be scarce. Why not save time by combining the two? Some people may be up for joining you for a yoga class or a gym session. More people might be open to just going for a walk. Who says all our social life has to be sitting around a table? Here is where planning comes in. With time scarce for just about everybody, walks need to be booked in advance.
Once a month I contact a list of people I want to stay in touch with and ask them to suggest a few times when they would be free for a walk. In most cases there is a time that fits my calendar as well, although occasionally we might connect only once in two months. Walks can end in a coffee stop or a coffee visit can replace a walk in really bad weather, but most of the time, we have a good visit and an agreeable way to sneak in a bit of exercise.
Not only do we worry about not having enough time to deal with the things we want to and have to do. We also worry about when and how we are going to fit everything in and what happens if we forget something or let it slip between the cracks. Worrying about our lack of time is one of the worst things we can do with our precious and limited 24 hours each day.
There is a magic answer to removing these worries. Make a list. A long time ago, a wise teacher once told me that the best memory is the worst pencil. We have moved beyond pencils, but the idea of clearing your mind by recording what needs to be done and when is still very valid.
Whatever form your calendar takes, enter all the things you want to do and when you will do them starting with booking the ugliest first for your high energy time. You can set an alarm to remind you if your calendar does not do that automatically. Soon your life will start to become more organized and to quote the poet, “there is world enough and time”.
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