Time Now to Have More Time
When I talk with clients, people often express the idea that they are willing to spend time with hateful relatives because they feel they are “supposed to” and then are so exhausted by them that they don’t make friends. So they end up with no emotional support. I’d like to hear more about the tools we already have that make it easier than we think to get more time.
The Question: You Already Have These Tools
Ideas for Pocketing More of Your Time
- Be ok with silence and stillness.
- Borrow stuff, don’t buy it.
- Say “no.”
The Answer: Learn to Use Your Tools
Notice that these tools you do already have. You are just uncomfortable with them. The way to get more time is to become comfortable. Let’s walk through how to do these three one by one:
1. Be ok with silence and stillness
When was the last time you sought out silence? Stillness? Decided not to do something and didn’t replace it with anything else? See what I mean? What a weird idea, right?
Do you want more time…or do you prefer to feel popular, or busy? Those are powerful social urges. But they aren’t You. You learned them and they make you feel comfortable. You can unlearn them. Personally, now, they make me feel uncomfortable. So you can really change this if you want to.
What gets in the way is your self-image. Is your identity derived from how many Friends you have on Facebook or the number of Likes for your posts? How hard do you work for them? Literally, how many hours per week do you spend?
The way to use this tool, “be ok with silence and stillness” is not what you might expect. The way is to change your self-image. Who’s your favorite silent, still person? Is it an artist? a spiritual figure? a thinker or philosopher? Want to be like them. Aim to be more like them. Have some favorites who are popular, and choose some new favorites who were loners that loved silence and stillness. Also: gravitate to other people who do this. Avoidance of noisome, irritating conversations for its own sake is totally legit. No person is born irritating. Notice I’m not saying “avoid people,” I’m saying avoid conversations. That means the ones you participate in: you can avoid them. You can end them. You can choose not to participate in or foment them. If having more time is a real priority.
2. Borrow stuff, don’t buy it
I know this is radical in an “owning” culture like ours. Try it. It will save you time by making you schedule when to use the stuff you borrow. This will in turn mean you actually use it–and then you stop, which is where saving time comes in. You save time when you become more conscious of time. And borrowing it saves you money because you aren’t buying it.
For example, your local library will save you a lot of money. Notice that they can order you just about any book you want on tape or in print if you give them enough time and put in an ILL request (interlibrary loan). You can often do this with video games, DVDs and CDs. Libraries appreciate being useful. You can even use up some of your saved time to build up your local relationships by volunteering or donating to them. They are amazing.
The way to use this tool is also not what you may have expected: see yourself as a person who prioritizes time over money. Most of us say we do this; few of us actually do. As a person for whom time is more important than money, building relationships becomes a lot more important than building up more stuff. Trust me, this will save you time. (I promise I’m not trying to get you to de-clutter. That’s a different set of posts!)
This whole idea may also be a challenge to your self-image. Notice that the way to use the tool is to change your self-image from someone who owns to someone who shares. No one is saying you should identify as a borrower; but a sharer, that sounds right and it’s ecological and smart and very very modern. A good self-image.
3. Say “no.”
This is the real kicker. Let me cut to the chase: what do you think of people who say “no”?
That’s really all that using this tool takes. You probably hated people who said “no” to you when you were small. It didn’t matter why. You were small and “no” was awful to hear. Forgive all those people. Forgive all the times you’ve said no and hated yourself.
Who is someone you love and admire who sets great boundaries? (It’s totally ok if it’s me. :)) )
Think hard. If you can’t think of anyone, start there. Notice your prejudices against boundaries, structure, and the word “no.” Without “no,” there is no real Yes, and without structure there is very very little creativity. So think again and make it up if you have to: Who Loves Boundaries? You. Think of yourself as a beautiful garden inside, with little walls and fountains and benches. Find pictures you love and post them of these gardens. The boundaries make them so much more beautiful! Like sculpture.
And then think of how much incredibly beautiful cultivation you can do when you tend your garden. Think of yourself sculpting your day, your life, your time.