Some Unusual Qualities of Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently. How it bends and shifts. How weird it is, and how weird we get around it.

Here are a couple of things I noticed that may help you have a better relationship with time.

Displacement – Time is like a solid box and everything we put inside it is like a liquid substance. Since time can neither be created or destroyed tends to simply displace itself to other areas.

When you’ve added something to your calendar you don’t really add anything, you simply displace something else by adding it.

When you remove something you take nothing away you simply create more space for something else to fill it.

This is why it’s so easy to overschedule yourself, because most people don’t really consider what they are displacing when they say yes. It’s also why you feel busy even when you “clear some time on your calendar” because you don’t notice the other things that flow into the space.

Inhumanity – Time doesn’t really care about you being a human and that things go wrong. It is unyieldingly precise. Time doesn’t flex because there’s traffic, it doesn’t contract because the bus is late. It marches on regardless of what is occurring to you in your life.

This is why things fall apart so quickly when something in your well designed schedule doesn’t work out as planned. If you don’t add some humanity to your schedule and life, a little space for things not to work out, you’re screwed.

No judgement – Time doesn’t exercise any judgement. If you fill it, you will feel full. If you leave it empty, you will feel that space. Time doesn’t care what you fill it with. It could be something profound, mundane, dramatic, or even absurd. Time will simply tell you when it’s full.

This is why so many people are what I call Lazy-Busy. It’s a state where their time is filled. They feel busy because of this fullness but it’s full of things because the things have been poorly designed and mis packed. It’s like someone opened up the back of a hatchback and just threw things inside. And then when something was taken out, they found the next thing closest to them and threw that inside too.

A poorly packed car is maddening, a well packed car is impressive, a car packed with the items it needs, with space to find and maneuver those items in a useful way, is truly magical.


15 Mins or This Post Explodes

Time post eWrite Something Meaningful in 15 Mins or Less.
So, I have three blog posts to write today. (Which is the direct result of procrastination.) So, I’m going to try and write this post in 15 mins (To be honest it was 10 but I couldn’t do it) and edit in 5 mins. And get it posted in 30 mins.

I’m not sure if this will work, but I appreciate your patience with me as I try it out.

Awareness of Time
Ever since I started my own business I’ve been much more aware of time.

There are advantages to being your own boss, like getting to watch the daily show while doing your own lunch dishes. But there are disadvantages too, like ending up watching an hour of daily shows you missed, instead of actually doing work.

Mime Tanagement
I’ve realized that managing time is one of the most challenging things anyone can do. Every person I talk to seems to have the same dilemma.

Time is our most valuable resource. More money can be printed, gold could be discovered on Mars, but time is universally limited.

No Respect
Ironically, the other problem is we don’t respect its limitations.

We treat time as if it were monopoly money. I can spend hours watching mindless YouTube videos, playing envy bingo on Facebook, or just lying around flipping through the channels.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like …
So, what do we do about time?
From one perspective is very limited and another perspective abundant.

The Biggest Enemy of Time is Distraction
If you can learn to focus on what you are doing for a discreet amount of time you can master any task. This is the skill that ancient yogis used for mediation, and pro athletes use when they perform at their peak.

The trick to learning this is to start small. I use the Pomodoro technique (sort of) and I’ve found it helps me stay focused. In fact, I’m using it right now.

Waste Time
The other enemy of time is stress.

Stress is what leads to distraction and procrastination. If we hate what we are doing, we will find a way to avoid it.

So to avoid unintentional distraction, it’s essential to engage in intentional distraction.

Take regular breaks from your work and take at least one day off a week.

Eat Better
What does eating have to do with time?
First, if you eat better you will most likely live longer.
Second, cooking for yourself gives you time, because you get to do something productive and it’s an act of self-care.

Self Care + Productivity = TIME BONUS
By doubling up on simple tasks like this you actually get more done and feel, better about your life.

Again, exercise will help you live longer, but exercise also reduced stress so it’s a double up activity.

In addition, something amazing happens when you exercise regularly. Your body and mind function better. This higher level of efficiency pays off in the form of more functional time.

That’s it I have to put down my pencil now.


Slow Down

That Time Of Year

This is the time of year where everything seems to be going so fast. It’s an acceleration to Christmas day, then New Years Eve, and then beyond. That’s why it’s so important that we slow down this time of year. When we get to the gym and find someone is using our machine or when we get to the store and find that the lines are long, irritation can arise. But these things are only a problem if we are in a hurry.

I’ve been told that in Russia for one to two weeks this time of year almost everything closes down. Because everything is closed people have no choice but to slow down and enjoy time with their loved ones. In many places things may only close for a day or two around the holidays so we have to make the choice to slow down.

Slow Down

When we slow down something truly amazing happens, we relax, we notice beauty, we become more kind, and we enjoy ourselves. But perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that we can get almost as many things done in the same amount of time. Frantic activity rarely leads to efficiency.

In addition to being more efficient we also perceive things differently. The lines move about the same at the grocery store, but because we slow down we don’t feel like they are going too slow. People may be on our favorite equipment, but because we slow down, we remember there is a new workout routine we’ve wanted to try out.

Theres no Hurry

Being around others who are in a hurry can be contagious so when you find yourself feeling frantic, try out these tips to help you slow down –
· Take a few deep breaths
· Reconnect with your heart
· Take a walk, run, or bike ride (alone if that’s what you need)
· Leave extra space in your day by planning ahead or managing expectations
· Let go of how things are ‘supposed to be’; being calm and relaxed is a better than any perfect dish, ritual, or present

When we are in a hurry nothing seems possible, our lives contract, and we rush from one thing to the next. When we slow down our lives expand, many things are possible, and we greet each new activity with a fresh and excited mind. Make the choice to slow down; it’s the best way to spread peace on earth and good will to men and women alike.


What are 3 Virtues You Can Get By Waking Up Early?

First off I wanted to apologize that’s it’s been a few days since my last blog. Work has been hectic, but nevertheless I’ve started and not finished several blogs. This will start me back up and I should get back to posting every other day. I know you’re not hanging on my every word, but nonetheless I apologize for the hiatus. I hope you enjoy the post.

Look, I love sleep as much as many of you (ok I’m sure some of you love it more.) Well probably not as much as some of you. I have heard many people profess their love of sleep, as if it were an oddity, but unless you have bad nightmares most people enjoy sleep.

Unfortunately, our modern society has given us some funky ideas about how much sleep people actually need and in reality most of us get much more sleep than we require. Part of the reason why people get more sleep or feel like they need more sleep is that they aren’t very active. Many long distance endurance athletes need more sleep than the average person, but for the rest of us as we become active, its very common to find you can go with less sleep.

In any case no matter how much sleep you need or think you need, there are many benefits to waking up early. Whether you wake up early to exercise, meditate, plan, or read here are 3 virtues of waking up early to start your day.

1. The Virtue of Space – Early in the morning there are fewer distractions to getting done what you need to get done. Whether you have a family or live with roommates the earlier you wake up the less likely anyone else will be up. In addition there isn’t much on the radio or TV so there are fewer things on to distract you.

The quiet of the early morning offers a special energy for reflection, focused attention, and a fresh quality of the mind. The early morning is a great time to work on life goals, plan out your day, or even catch up on some good reading. Whatever usually gets in the way the rest of the day, there is less of it early in the morning.

2. The Virtue of Time – Have you ever noticed that as the day, week, or month goes on it seems like you have less and less time to get things done. Time very often feels like it contracts throughout our whole lives and especially if we have alot to do.

Some of this is a matter of perception, but part of it is that as we go through our day unexpected demands arise. Projects and problems appear that we never could have anticipated. One of the best things about waking up early is that it gives us more time. Not only does waking up early often actually give us more time in the morning, the extra time we get early in the day seems to be more productive.  Whenever I exercise in the morning I always have time for it, but when I wait until later in the day I often can’t seem to fit it in. If you want to get something done for sure, wake up early and do it. 

3. The Virtue of A Good Start – The law of karma can be complicated, but one thing is for sure, the way we start something greatly effects the way the rest of it goes. When we wake up early we give ourselves a chance to have a better start. This is especially true if we use this time to reflect, plan, or exercise. When we wake up late and move slowly to start our day, the resistance present in these actions carries on the rest of our the day.

Consider this: If you have a big exciting trip planned with your partner or good friend, you wake up early with energy. You are looking forward to a day of fun and adventure. You just can’t wait to get started. If you celebrated Christmas growing up, you can probably remember waking up on Christmas morning as a kid. The excitement and anticipation would get you out of bed earlier than normal.

On the other hand if we have something we are dreading or we are in a funk, we tend to wake up late, get out of bed slowly, maybe even stay in bed even though we are awake. Our every action is an expression of resistance to what we are going through or fear experiencing.

Each of these examples represent a different attitude about the day, either one of anticipation or one of resistance. So even when our day doesn’t look like one of the two described above, our attitude depends on the way we start our day. By getting up early we are saying, “Today is an important day, I’m excited about today, and I am ready to meet the challenges this day will bring.” If on the other hand we wake up late, we are saying, “I’m not sure about today, maybe something bad will happen, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.”

Finally one objection:

The main objection I hear from people about waking up early is either: 1. They need more sleep or 2. They ‘just aren’t morning people’.

In the first case, it’s very likely you don’t need as much sleep as you think you do, or you could just go to bed earlier. Before I lived at the monastery I used to think I needed so much sleep, but after living there I found I could easily function on five and a half to six hours of sleep. How much sleep we need is often just another function of the mind and it’s something that is worth experimenting with to find out what’s real.

As for the second objection, I have found that being a morning person has to do with my attitude about the morning. If you wake up late and rush around to get things done you are likely to be cranky. If instead you wake up early and give yourself lots of time to complete tasks then you are more likely to have a pleasant morning.

By getting up early we can embody the energy of morning people even if we are in some part faking it. Very often when I wake up early, even when I feel kind of cranky, after my morning run, swim, or meditation I feel great! (Or at least better) Sometimes I feel like that when I wake up late, but more often than not an early start to the day, means a better start to the day.

Try experimenting with changing your schedule around and see how it effects your productivity and energy. Remember that if you start waking up early your sleep patterns are changing so as you make the change you are likely to feel tired even if you get plenty of sleep. Also if you want to start waking up early it helps to be consistent about it. If you get up late on the weekends it will be harder to get up early during the week. The more regular you make your sleep habits the less tired you will feel.

As your patterns settle in I think you will find that the morning is this rich golden opportunity just waiting to be discovered. Mornings can add something special to everyday. When I am good about getting up early I rarely regret my choice.

Thanks for reading and Be Well,