“The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen at once.” ~Albert Einstein
Time is a funny thing. We always seem to want more of it, and yet there is no real “end” to it. Time is infinite and limitless.
The less we notice time, the faster it passes. The more we observe it, the slower is progresses. And yet this moment is all that we ever have!
Depending on what’s going on in your life, you’re bound to want to interpret time in different ways: during times of struggle and heartache, we want nothing more than for time to pass quickly and for our healing to be complete. During times of fun and joy and love, we want to stop the hands on the clock from ever moving, keeping this very moment in place forever.
Although we can’t yet alter the fabric of time, we can take simple measures to make more time for ourselves and loved ones, stop it , slow it down, or speed it up to help difficult days seem to pass more quickly.
1. Live in the Moment – Embrace the here and the now. Focus less on the past, invest less time planning for the distant. future. In the end, this moment is the only moment we ever truly have. As Eckhart Tolle writes in his groundbreaking book, The Power of Now, “Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling in place in the Now and pay brief visits to the past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.”
2. Be Spontaneous – Spontaneity is freeing and fun. Being spontaneous disregards all concepts of time and makes full use of the present moment, regardless of the circumstances or what is sitting idly on your schedules and to-do lists.
3. Capture a Moment – Take Pictures – Stop time by capturing memories of places, events, and occasions with photographs. Whether the built-in camera on your smart-phone or a professional grade digital camera, explore the art of photography and the world of capturing fleeting moments in time. I capture moments by photographing on my Blackberry and sharing the images on Flickr.
4. Improvise Adventure – Improvising adventure is a thrilling way to abandon the clock and calendar and fully live in the moment. Grab a friend or loved one and set off on an improvised adventure. Explore an unknown area, go hiking, drive in an aimless direction to discover a new restaurant or fun spot. You don’t need to take off to the Great Pyramids of Egypt to improvise adventure. Think locally.
And so we carry on as our time will allow, on a tiny blue speck called Earth, engulfed in a great ocean of black and unknown.
5. Wake Up Earlier – Make the day feel longer by waking up earlier and accomplishing more faster. Spend less time rushing from task to task and more time for yourself: enjoy more moments of the day than spending it striking tasks off of the to-do list.
6. Surround Yourself in Silence – Noise is cluttering: most days, from when we wake up in the morning and until we fall asleep at night, we are bombarded by noise. Time is slowed in moments of silence and quiet when we are in nature or alone to ourselves, when our minds unwind to be blank and free.
7. Read Challenging Books – Sitting on the couch and watching hours of television can seem to pass by in a matter of minutes. We sit down to zone out, and before we know it, hours have zoomed by. Instead, take the time to read a challenging book. The hours will pass slower than when watching television, and our minds (creativity, knowledge, and brain power in general) will be all the better for it, too.
And for ages, how amazing that our species has lived its days and dreamed its nights that something more is at stake than our own time…
8. Zen Your Lifestyle – Life is full of distractions. Cut out what is unnecessary. To “zen” your lifestyle means to minimize your lifestyle, declutter your life in both literal and figurative terms. To learn how to zen your lifestyle from top to bottom, go to the master of zen living, Leo Babauta at ZenHabits.net: Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life.
9. Practice Time Management – You can save time every day by practicing better time management. Allocate specific hours and specific times of the day for certain activities. If you’re a morning person, maximize your time when your brain is at its peak of functionality and energy. Break up the day with various activities to keep fresh and motivated.
10. Prioritize Tasks – Prioritize tasks and execute based on need. Budget your time accordingly based upon what must be done and when. Set hard deadlines for yourself to accomplish tasks, rather than allowing them to drag on for longer than you anticipated.
11. Avoid Perfectionism – Perfectionism is a win-less situation. Nothing is perfect, and perfectionism distracts us from the natural beauty of imperfection and the nature of everything in our world as imperfect, but wholly complete. Truly, no task is ever finished for the perfectionist. Instead of wasting time on perfecting everything in our lives, embrace the concept that everything is complete and whole within itself, no matter how seemingly flawed or lacking.
12. Under-schedule Your Day – If you’re an over-scheduler, you set more tasks for yourself every day than one can ever accomplish. Leadership expert Tom Peters says that over-scheduling your day is outright foolish because it prevents you from having holes in your schedule that allow you to follow up on new leads and opportunistically chase interesting stuff that arises in the day-to-day. Under-schedule, and allow more improvisation.
Our time is short. But together we live our time to write pages in history books, striving to weave a future that’s better come tomorrow…
SPEED UP TIME
13. Have Fun – We all know the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” So, why not have more fun? Spend time every day laughing, enjoying the moment, having fun with friends, meeting new people, and loving the ones you care for.
14. Practice Patience – Practicing patience can actually take a lot of time, depending on your personality type. But in the end, having patience makes time progress faster because we spend less time looking at the clock, wishing for seconds to tick faster, and hoping that tomorrow comes right now. Try my 7 Unconventional Ways to Develop Patience post for creative ways to help the time pass faster.
15. Listen to Music – Music helps pass the time during the work day or when we need to energize our minds to zip through arduous busywork. If music tends to distract you during the day, try something like post-rock or instrumental rock music that contains to lyrics or vocals — allowing your mind to find a rhythmic groove without being sidetracked by a singer’s words.
16. Put “Others” Before “the Self” – To push through slow moments of pain and suffering, focus on others instead of yourself. By intentionally pointing your focus on others — by giving to others, intently making others smile and feel good — we forget our own pain and suffering, if only for a few passing moments. Before long, focusing more on the lives of others instead of our own hardships help these moments pass by more quickly.
17. Ditch the Watch – Time goes by faster when we spend less time looking at the clock. Ditch the watch, stop checking your cell phone.
When the time comes that our time here on Earth is at an end, we ask what we’ve done to have made our time worth living. In the end, time is constant and forever. We can’t speed it up, we can’t stop it, but we can rely on time to always keep ticking. As long as we’re here, we should do our all to make the best of our time.
The clock strikes midnight. Another day passed. Another just begun. And time ticks, ticks, ticks on. Time… It’s a funny thing…
Flickr photo credit: Monkeyc.net