We tell ourselves that we don't have enough time to do all sorts of things that we would love to do.
We sometimes do projects in a hurry and we feel bad about it, because there's not enough time to do them properly.
When we are time-poor, we feel anxious and stressed out. It feels like there is not enough time to truly engage with our activities and the people around us. We sometimes end up believing that having a clear mental state and deploying our best efforts or full self on something are luxuries we don’t afford.
When we forgo the things that we like for too long, and pressure or stress mount up at work or in relationships, it is much easier to overreact, or to feel like our life is somehow being taken away from us by all these other activities. All we need sometimes to feel peaceful and content is a nod towards our own identity, authenticity and unique pleasures. This requires time for ourselves.
Imagine you have two main projects in your calendar, that you should be working on. In fact, any step in those two projects is bound to make you quite content with yourself, to make you feel that you are making progress, that you are safe and on track, and that you will manage to get it done.
Most of us productive and workaholic people (yes, one can be productive without being workaholic), are guilty of this one behaviour, which singlehandedly makes us be tired way more often than we need to be. We don’t know when we have worked enough. Or, more accurately, we establish a bad marker for what it is “enough” done in one day.
Most of our time is spent in routines. We make our morning coffee and maybe look through our email in the morning. We take our lunch break, then meet with a certain colleague to eat together on a bench in the park if the weather is nice on Thursdays.
We light our candles and pour ourselves a glass of wine before getting into the bathtub. Or we settle down with a good book in bed for about an hour before our sleep time.
Saying yes to people when we don't want to is in some ways like being a shopaholic. Being a shopaholic adds a lot of money debt to our account, for the pleasure of having beautiful things right now. Saying yes to people when we don’t want to adds lots of time debt to our account.
If you are good with money management in fact, and averse to credit card debt, I want you to imagine, every time you are considering saying yes to something you might regret later, the sound of a till swiping your credit card.
Have you ever found yourself feeling frantic, doing things at breakneck speed yet not managing to get “there” in time, whatever there might be? Did you try to go faster, hoping that then you will finally finish those tasks that are assaulting you - perhaps tasks that are not very important at all, and have time to do the things you want?
Does going faster really work?
Many people move their nose in disgust when the subject of breaks is mentioned (I know, because I used to be one of those people). They see themselves as a furnace of continuous activity, which doesn't need any breaks, because, don't you know, they are very energetic.
The same people generally can end up taking many secret breaks throughout the day. And by secret breaks what I mean is not that they are hiding their breaks from their co-workers - I mean they are hiding their breaks from themselves.
Many of us have vague dreams about how we would like to travel and see more places, or explore more activities, hobbies, new restaurants, new events and people.
For a portion of these vague dreams to become reality, we must let ourselves plan for them, as if they were projects, and let ourselves organize them and turn them into reality.