If you could hold back the hands of time—just one hour of every day from all distractions—what would you do with it? Perhaps the best thing would be to create ‘sacred’ time in the midst of our busy, hurried lives.
At the end of most days most of us are asking ourselves “where has the time gone?” Yet, every day we try to pack more and more into our schedules. No matter how much we do and how much we hurry, we all wish we had that extra hour just to do what we need to do for ourselves and those we love. Obviously we can’t hold back the hands of time but we can set aside some personal time from the demands of the outside, and at the end of the day, know it is time well spent.
Are you talking on the phone and writing your to-do list while glancing at this article? Or perhaps reading this while driving? I certainly hope not! But most of us are constantly multitasking, trying to outwit the clock. However, we are often fooling ourselves, according to research conducted on how the multitasking brain works. A group of students were given ten multiplication problems and they took a minute to finish them. Then they were given ten problems that alternated between multiplication and division and they took approximately a minute and a half. Why, because the brain needs time to switch to every new assignment and decide which resource to use. We essentially have to reorient our minds for each new task. The more complex the tasks, the longer time it takes to switch gears. Previously, scientists assumed that different parts of the brain operated more or less independently. But it turns out the brain has to split its resources to perform different tasks. The brain power used for doing activities simultaneously is less than what the brain used in tackling each challenge separately. All this means you will probably avoid errors and save time in the long run, if you concentrate on one thing at a time.
Don’t waste time with things that really don’t matter. All those precious seconds waiting in line and browsing at the video store add up. Here are some ways to streamline your day.
- Send gift certificates for presents. Phone in the order, you won’t waste time shopping, no wrapping and no exchanges.
- Buy bagged salad greens and rotisserie chickens, add shredded chicken to casseroles, salads, soups and pastas.
- Book your appointments as early as possible, the later in the day the more chance of delays.
- Keep a stash of all-purpose greeting cards on hand at home and at the office.
- Put a list of movies you want to rent and books you want to read in your wallet or in your cell phone.
- Keep two sets of things you use often for projects (such as glasses, tape, pens, scissors) in two parts of the house which will prevent trips up and down the stairs and loss of time.
- Sign up for automatic bill paying at your banks website.
- Have extra hostess and birthday gifts at home so that you don’t have to make last-minute trips to the store.
- Whenever possible, double a recipe. Eat half right away and freeze the rest for a future meal.
With your new found time, create meaningful experiences that will make a difference in your life. For example, take time for yourself, with that exercise class you have wanted to take. Or plan a special candlelight dinner for your husband or a special event for the family. Sometimes the biggest luxury is doing nothing at all! That’s the beauty of holding back the hands of time, you are really holding on to what’s important to you. W