How can you optimize your time?

Okay, you might say. Maybe I’ll be able to reclaim some of my time. But that’s merely a speck on the horizon of my day. The majority of it is filled with duties I can’t avoid and can’t modify. Going to work is an obvious example for many of us. That’s something you’ve got to do, right? Short of working from home, establishing a business, or winning the lotto, isn’t it? In a nutshell, yes and no.

Even when you have to accomplish something, you have a lot of flexibility in how you go about doing it. Let’s imagine you have to keep your current employment and housing owing to personal issues. Let’s imagine the distance between places A and B is great, and you have to commute. There isn’t any other option.

However, how do you make that commute? Walking, taking public transportation, or driving? In many cases, you have a choice, and certain solutions are better for your body – and the environment – than others. Even if you have no choice but to travel by car, you still have options. Are you a solo driver? Alternatively, do you join a carpool?

Even if it isn’t an option, you still have a lot of other options. What do you do when you’re alone in the car? Do you listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts? Do you want to talk on the phone? Or do you merely mutter about the traffic while staring at the bumpers in front of you?

These decisions, as minor as they may appear, can have a big impact on the number of hours you spend driving each week. You may turn your commuting time into leisure time by listening to soothing music. You can transform it into learning time by listening to an audiobook. Making a phone call, on the other hand, depends on who you’re speaking with. Is it a customer? It’s time to get to work. Is it a friend? It’s time to mingle.

Whatever you choose to do, whether it’s listen to a great literature or catch up with your father, your options don’t end there. What are you doing with your body, for example? Do you slouch or maintain a decent posture? You might also use the opportunity to conduct Kegel exercises, which involve tightening and relaxing your pelvic pubococcygeus muscles. This can help you strengthen your core and improve your sexual life while you listen to music, read about history, or do whatever else you choose with your time!

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to commute in the morning. Even if you work from home in your pjs, you’ll find yourself in a lot of scenarios where you’re waiting for something else to happen. It’s either waiting for the elevator to open, the waiter to bring the check, or the microwave to finish if it’s not waiting for the customer care person to pick up the phone.

Many of these encounters take only a few seconds or minutes, but they build up, leaving us with the challenge of how to use all of that free time. If we’re being honest, many of us would say, “not so well.” The explanation for this may be summed up in two words: technology use. Stop wasting your time with technological entanglements.

Consider yourself in line at a coffee shop. What do you do to pass the time when you’re bored? If you’re like most people these days, you’re probably staring at your phone. Perhaps you’re reading the news or scrolling through one of your social media accounts. Or maybe you’re checking in on one of those chat applications where you and your friends talk about nothing in particular.

In any case, for many of us, looking at a phone has become the default, go-to activity anytime we have free time. Is it any surprise, then, that we spend so much of our leisure time doing nothing? We spend a significant portion of time engrossed in various electronic screens, as if we were zombies. It’s either our computers or televisions if it’s not our phones.

No one, however, is compelling us to waste our time in this manner. We can reclaim the time we’re wasting and put it to more productive use. The first stage in this process is to break the habit. Stop and take some deep breaths into your lower abdomen the next time you’re waiting somewhere and feel the need to whip out your phone. Is there any information you really must have access to right now? Or have you simply grown apprehensive about spending time alone with your thoughts or observing the environment around you?

Instead of people watching, you could stretch or do some stretches. Or simply stand there and contemplate – anything that helps you become more aware of your body, thoughts, and environment. Deepen your breathing into your lower abdomen. Make a mental note of yourself. This is essentially a mindfulness exercise in miniature.

That, however, is only the top of the iceberg. There are numerous other ways that mindfulness can assist us in focusing on the present moment and attempting to make the most of it. Mindfulness can help you experience the present moment more fully. Many of us are so preoccupied with our daily activities that we scarcely notice what’s going on around us. If you’re familiar with mindfulness, you’re aware that one of the goals is to snap your mind out of this distracted state and bring it back to the present moment. But how do you go about doing that?

So, the next time you find yourself in a strange environment, give this a shot. It could be a holiday destination in a tropical paradise. It could be just be a new neighborhood in your city that you’ve stumbled upon. It makes no difference for this activity. Simply put, you’re going to pause, look around, and think to yourself, “This may be the last time I’m ever here.”

Take note of how your viewpoint abruptly transforms. You’re not just strolling through the neighborhood anymore. You’re taking in the sights, smells, and textures of the people, streets, and buildings in your immediate environment. You’re paying greater attention to everything. You’ve picked up on the enchantment of it all. In other words, you’re fully immersed in the current moment of your life rather than rushing through it.

Are you ready for the big reveal? You aren’t simply conducting a mental experiment. It’s possible that this is the final time you’ll ever be here — wherever that may be. To put it frankly, dreadful things can happen in the blink of an eye, with no warning. All we know for certain is that we will die one day. That day might come now, tomorrow, or in two decades. We simply do not know. That is precisely the point. We should attempt to cherish each moment as if it were the last one we’ll ever have, because it very well might be.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Let’s say you’re having pizza for dinner. You’re eating swiftly and unconsciously. Perhaps you’re engrossed in something on your phone. When you look down at your plate, you notice the last slice of pizza is already disappeared. What happened to everything? You know it got into your stomach, but you have no recollection of eating it. It’s almost as if the event didn’t even occur to you.

Okay, I’m sure you can guess where we’re going with this. That’s right, mindfulness is coming to save the day once more. Mindfulness can help you slow down your perception of time, allowing you to extend or even freeze it.

Here’s another mindfulness practice for you: the next time you’re eating, stop doing anything else and concentrate entirely on the sensations you’re having. Enjoy your food’s flavors, aromas, and textures. Give each mouthful its fair share of attention. Before moving on to the next item, chew and swallow it completely. Observe the muscular feelings that occur as a result of the process. There’s a lot to consider! All you have to do is pay attention.

And if you execute this activity, it will not only improve your dining experience but will also help you remember these minutes. It will also lengthen the period, allowing you to feel more of it.

This isn’t only because you’re eating slowly; it’s also because you’re eating with intention. When you’re focused on what you’re doing, time seems to go more slowly – in a good manner, not like when you’re having a dull experience and the minutes seem to drag on. This is true not only when you’re eating, but also when you’re doing just about anything else. The music you’re listening to in the car, the background noises you’re hearing on the street, or the bodily sensations of a wonderful warm bath can all be used to practice mindfulness. You can be conscious of anything you want.

And, if you’re truly mindful, you can even accomplish the seemingly impossible: you can halt the passage of time at least in theory. When you’re fully immersed in the current moment, it can feel as if it’s going on forever. Allow yourself to sink into it, relish it, and let the seconds pass you by.

What did you do with your morning today? If you’re like most individuals, you probably spent the majority of your time in the shower. Many of us spend so much time there that our bathrooms wind up smelling like a steam room.

Obviously, taking these long, hot showers every day is harmful for the environment. If your water source contains chlorine, the chemicals can be absorbed via your skin, which is bad for your health. You must schedule more time for yourself.

Yes, that long, hot shower feels good. But even putting aside the environmental and physical consequences, is this a good use of our time? Most of us spend our shower time just zoning out, basking in the warm sensation of the water and the sense of privacy we have.

That’s your problem right there, as car mechanics like to say. The shower is one of the only locations where we have some sense of privacy for many of us. It’s also one of the rare occasions during the day when we treat our bodies to something wonderful and calming. To put it another way, we’re short on “me time,” and we use the shower to make up for it.

The obvious solution? Reclaim some time for yourself. Perhaps there are better ways to relax and energize yourself. You could get a weekly massage, or do stretches every morning. Or, you could take a luxurious bath a couple of times per week, punctuated by quicker, more environmentally-friendly showers.

You are the only one who knows what your body need, so this is yet another awareness exercise. You must listen to yourself and determine what works best for you. It’s also an opportunity to practice time management. You must incorporate “me time” into your days and weeks. Everything else that energizes you and makes you feel like you’re making the most of your time is the same. Working out at the gym, going for walks with a buddy, spending time with your family, and having sex with your partner are all things that can be done if you set aside time to do so. So, what do you have to lose? It’s up to you to take control of your life!

Although you won’t be able to halt time, you can slow it down and get more out of it by spending it wisely, becoming more conscious, and recharging your batteries. To accomplish this, you must set aside time to practice mindfulness and engage in activities that provide you with energy. That necessitates effective time management. You’ll also be able to better manage your time by becoming more conscious and energetic, allowing you to use it more productively, enjoyably, and meaningfully. The ultimate result is something that may be referred to as time prosperity, in which your limited time on Earth is put to the best possible use.

As a result, it takes roughly 90 days of practice to integrate superior time management practices. Author Pedram Shojai advocates practicing a 100-day gong in his book The Art of Stopping Time to aid you with this. Each day, you practice one “time-stopping” method, which he refers to as a gong, for a set amount of time. As a result, you may practice for a week with just the gongs.

Monday, for example, list the flora and weeds in your personal garden. Tuesday: combine one of your meals with the meditation exercise. Wednesday: while driving, listen to an audiobook. Thursday: respectfully decline time commitments that you don’t desire. Friday: take a long, relaxing bath. Saturday: schedule some time with your family. And on Sunday, consider the return on your time investment.

Check out my related post: Is it time to reflect?


Interesting reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33533720-the-art-of-stopping-time

https://www.onecommune.com/the-art-of-stopping-time-with-dr-pedram-shojai

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