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It's About Time!

Oct 23, 2018

Posted by

Jill Farmer

Jill Farmer is a popular speaker, master life coach, enlivener, mom, retired Emmy Award winning TV reporter and anchor, and the lover of tea and great boots. She is the author of Theres Not Enough Ti Read more

An excerpt from There’s Not Enough Time…and other lies you tell yourself.  (Find it on Amazon.com.)

(Originally published in January, 2013.  Republished by reader request.)

You might classify our prim neighbor slipping on cat vomit in my dining room, my laptop’s violent explosion due to a colossal build up of unread e-mails, and dropping a daughter off at camp two weeks before counselors arrived, as a series of unrelated (albeit unfortunate) events.

The real culprit?  I didn’t have enough time.

Who doesn’t want the luxury of extra time to clean up messes, read e-mails, and bother with mundane details like camp start dates? Life is just too busy.  As a real estate professional working to create a successful business in this climate,  I’ll bet you have the overstuffed schedule, frenzied pace, and overwhelm to prove it, too.

There’s not enough time. 

Or, is there?

We’re going to mend the leak in your time bucket. Whether you’re a whirling dervish of perpetual motion, or stalled in a state of overwhelmed paralysis, you can heal your relationship with your clock.

Here’s a little secret:

The clock is not the problem. Your stories are.

In my busy-beyond-belief days, I perpetually fantasized about a magical future windfall of more time.

I kept trying new things to capture this mythical time jackpot. I went from TV reporter to anchor, single to married, working mom to homemaker.

Nothing worked.

In my darkest days, I regarded my children as little more than time suckers who made life so hectic, I had to wear yoga pants because I was too busy to zip my jeans. 

When even quitting my job failed to harvest more time, I had to face it.  My circumstances didn’t have me fried.

My thinking did.

Many of you have a host of “I should be doing more” stories. As they say in AA, “we should all over ourselves.”

Stop Shoulding

So, how do you stop this infernal tidal wave of shoulding

Stop.  Take a deep breath and write down three things you’re doing well right now.

Then take another breath, and write down three things you’re grateful for right now.

By doing those two things you’re changing your brain chemistry, giving yourself a boost of clarity juice by activating the highest functioning part of your mind.

Taming your time-eating vortex.

Our brain actually causes us to waste enormous amounts of time.  This time-sucking sabotage happens in our subconscious brain.   I’m not a neuroscientist and I never played one on TV. So, I’ll keep it simple.

One of the most primitive parts of our mind houses our “fight or flight” response.  It warns us when we’re being threatened.  Good stuff when we’re

actually in danger.

However, often, even when we’re perfectly safe, we get “Danger!” alarms that overwhelm our logic and judgment.  These fear-based thoughts can cause us to act without thinking.

Here’s how it plays out in our lives.

When you think the thought there’s not enough time, you may experience throbbing shoulders, an aching neck, or a tight feeling in your gut. Those unpleasant body reactions are a signal you’re getting a fear-based message. 

Pay attention.

Then, notice your emotions.

At one of my recent seminars, I asked a group of female physicians how they feel when they think the thought there’s not enough time.

“Panicky.”

“Frustrated.”

“Perplexed.”

“Hopeless.”

When they’re panicky, frustrated, perplexed and hopeless, how do they behave?

“My fuse is short.”

“Unfocused, scattered, and disorganized. I can’t prioritize.”

“Frenzied.”

“Paralyzed.”

The thought there’s not enough time creates an unpleasant body reaction, and a host of unhelpful feelings, which cause us to act in a wildly inefficient and unproductive manner. By simply thinking this one measly thought, we’re launching a time-eating vortex.

Here’s how to step out of the time scarcity this vortex creates, and tap into abundance, where time flows more freely:

Notice.

By simply noticing you’re having the thought, you take yourself from that primal, reactionary part of your brain where you act without thinking, into the higher functioning part of your mind. 

You stop problem stalling and problem solve, instead

.  (See “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris for more on this phenomenon.) 

Tips for Noticing

1) Simply say, “I notice I’m having the there’s not enough time thought again.”

2) Touch two fingers to your lips and take three deep breaths (for more awesome ideas on disrupting stress circuits, read “Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson.)

3) Connect to the present. Notice your surroundings. Check in with your body.

Replace

Once you notice you’re having the thought that’s sabotaging your time, you can   replace it with one that will serve you. For instance, what if there IS enough time?

“Now, just wait a rabble-rousing minute,” you say. “How can I believe there IS enough time?” 

One of the doctors at my seminar asked me that very question.  I gently reminded her every thought is just a set of words we attach with meaning.   Then, I asked her how many hours there are in a day.

“24,” she said with an eye roll.

“Is that fixed or variable?” I asked.

“Fixed, of course,” she responded.  Note: really smart doctors don’t like it when you question their scientific prowess.

I gently reminded her fixed amounts are non-negotiable. We all have the same 24 hours. If believing “there’s not enough time” is a losing proposition, why not try something different?

So, I asked the doctors to take a deep breath and say “There IS enough time.”

How did they feel?

“Calmer.“

“Clearer.”

“More content.”

“Motivated.”

How do they behave when they are calmer, clearer, more content, and motivated?

“Focused.”

“Kinder.”

“Efficient.”

“More productive.”

“I get more done!!”

Ding. Ding. Ding.

Just by thinking the thought there IS enough time, we trigger a cycle that taps into our most efficient, productive selves.

We give ourselves the gift of time.

Try it.

Next time you’re thinking there’s not enough time, notice it. Then, gently and lovingly remind yourself, there IS enough time.  This shift is the most powerful step you can take to create a more peaceful pace in your life.