I tried getting dressed while I was brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush. I heard snippets of my meditation homework practice the other night over the sound of the water rinsing from my hair, while showering, mere minutes before my class started. There is often never enough time, the days seemed to disappear and I’d be left perplexed at where my time, and day went. I needed more time in the day, or better yet, for time to stand still. Thanks to mindfulness and reflection, I sometimes do better at maximizing my time. Let’s explore how we can find our time and make the “best” use of it.
Why do you want free time?
To begin, set a goal. Why do you want more time in the first place? What would you do with it? We often don’t achieve to-do’s unless we set down specific goals, so go ahead and make a wish list. What would you do with more time? Think of nurturing things to add to your list, self care items, events that would light you up and energize yourself. Maybe even make a list of what you love. Once you have your list, prioritize it and hone in on the top three items.
Log your time
Where exactly does your time go? Track yourself for a few days and make note of how you spend your time. You’d be amazed at just how much time phone scrolling, texting, Facebook and Netflix can eat up.
Look over your tracking and give up what you can. Set limits on your technology, delegate some tasks you’re okay with handing off if it’s possible, outsource some items if your life allows it, remove some distractions (If I do chores while watching Netflix for enjoyment I easily double the time it would take me to do the chores with mega focus). Try to be more efficient and mindful with your to-do’s so you don’t feel as guilty about taking time for yourself. Also consider what from your list lights and fills you up with energy and wellness, and what drags you down or surrounds you in storm clouds? How is your time spent? Do you ever say no? Who is your energy serving? Remember, you can’t fill up others if your own cup is empty, self care is key!
*Tip: Set a reward for when you accomplish a certain task or list of to-do’s. For example, I will tell myself I need to put the laundry away and then I can relax and watch a Netflix show. Or I need to empty the dishwasher and then I can cut a bouquet of flowers. Give yourself something to look forward to.
Make time for yoga/meditation
My students frequently lament how they can’t find the time to roll out the mat. Time is very elusive, you rarely “find” it for more than microseconds or mere minutes at best, but you can “make” the time as we’ve been talking about. This entire post was inspired by a note and cheque I received in my mailbox from one of my Sunday Morning Stretching students. As you can read, she shares that she had gotten away from stretching and “No time” was the excuse she made.
I’m so happy she’s now making the time and reaping the benefits. Let’s talk about those benefits.
–Yoga gives you an energy and self esteem boost.
Helps you sleep better, feel rested, helps you connect with yourself and transforms your everyday life as you take your learnings off the mat with you.
–Yoga gives you quiet time.
Unplug and disconnect for some “me time”. Enjoy a rejuvenating mini vacation.
Still don’t feel like you have a lot of time for yoga/meditation? Here’s a few ways I edge in time for myself:
Morning meditation. I wake up and before I even get out of bed I listen to a guided meditation no longer than 15 minutes. I use the serenity app or listen to my meditation instructor and do my homework (meditating) from bed with his audio.
Empty the brain. I unload my brain before bed. I shower right before I tuck in and I set that time aside to mull things over. The shower cues my mind that it’s unwind/to bed time.
Read Mindful/Yoga. There are lots of great books out there with mindfulness tips and mini-practices, or memoirs of people who have discovered themselves, or yoga books that review poses. Keep a book bedside and read a few pages each day.
Yoga anywhere! If you’re breathing and stretching you’re doing yoga. Sometimes I’ll pick a favourite stretch and take a few breaths at work in a subtle/appropriate pose. You don’t need a full practice all the time.
Bed yoga: Reclined goddess, reclined goddess, reclined goddess! Partner it with your favourite breathing practice and lull yourself to sleep.
Realize that you’re worth the time it takes to get on the mat. Realize making time is often the hardest part of practicing yoga. Be aware of how fantastic you feel after mindfulness and meditation.
See you on the mat soon!