How to Live in the Land of Enough: Time

Time is one of the most valuable things we have and we never know how much we have left. While we can’t stop time, or control how fast it passes, we can create more.

This is the second post in a series from my guest post Living in the Land of Enough on one of my favorite blogs:becomingminimalist.com by Joshua Becker.

Time

Take Your Time – In the land of enough, you have time to breathe. Stop trying to squeeze so much in. If you are always running late, falling behind, or trying to catch up, try slowing down. Cancel a few unnecessary appointments and don’t schedule any new ones if you can help it. Then, make a little time everyday for solitude.

That was the recommendation for a short hiatus in the Land of Enough. For a longer stay, like a lifetime, you will need to consider how you really want to spend your time. Ask questions like:

  • Is this the best use of my time?
  • Are distractions taking larger chunks of my day than I thought?
  • Am I doing things efficiently, or am I so stretched that it takes me more time than it should to get anything done?
  • At the end of the day, am I grateful for the day, or just grateful that it’s over?

If you are open to living with less, then you will be able to create real time for yourself. It may take a job change, lifestyle adjustment, or maybe just small shifts, but if what you really want is more time, it’s yours for the asking.

How to Create Time

Be Efficient - Let’s face it, working 8+ hours a day in a job that you aren’t crazy about doesn’t pump you full of energy. The hours after work are often spent recovering with food, alcohol, TV, facebook and anything else that doesn’t require anything of you. It might not be possible, or even necessary to quit your job, but you do have to redesign your day. If your lunch break is spent in front of a computer, in your car or on the phone, that is the first place to start.

Taking an hour in the middle of the work day to go for a walk, take a yoga class or eat a simple meal will help you re-charge.

Kill your TV – After being TV free for three months now, I can tell you with conviction…It has to go! Don’t be afraid of saying goodbye to 500+ channels. Once it’s gone, you will wonder how you ever had time for it in the first place.

Limit distraction – Don’t bother getting rid of the TV if you are going to fill the hours with facebook and googling anything to keep your mind off your day. Set a certain amount of time to check in, but do not check out!

Schedule e-mail - If you are checking your email more than three times a day, you are losing time. I know you want to be responsive and I know you are curious to see who sent what, but it can wait. If you aren’t ready to reduce your email time to two or three times a day, at the very least, don’t check your email first thing in the morning. This is a tough habit to break, but unless you want to spend your day doing everyone else’s most important tasks, do yours first.

Stop unwinding - Did you ever think that if you weren’t overworked, stressed out, and over it, that you wouldn’t have to spend so much time and money unwinding? Here are 7 ways to stop unwinding.

Say no – It’s ok to say no to things that you aren’t interested in and don’t believe in. When you don’t have the time to commit to something new, it is ok to say no. Do not feel compelled to come up with an excuse or apology. A simple, “no thank you” will do.

Say yes – Agree to commitments that make your heart swell.

Sit still - I know you want to do it all, see it all, make a difference and change the world, but sometimes, your time is best spent sitting still.

I have to constantly remind myself what is most important. It’s not that I forget, but it’s easy to get lost in e-email or doing things out of obligation, instead of true interest. Keep in mind that open time on your calendar doesn’t mean that you aren’t important, it means that you value your time. Once you stop living with back to back appointments, the day can really reveal itself. You never know what’s in store until you open your heart and time to possibility.

Series Links

Living in the Land of Enough

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Money

Reading Recommendations:

Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction by Leo Babauta

What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hello Courtney,

    thank you for that great article and thank you for reminding me again, to slow down! I always forget that, so many things have to be done, and so less time is left! ;-)

    But you are right, we have to realize how valuable time is, because of not be able to influnce of losing in which way and how much. (hope that was understandable ;-) ) (German – for the non knowers me ;-) )

    kind regards
    Matthias

  2. says

    Check email 3 times a day?! I don’t even do it every day! But I do get the whole ‘losing half a day on Twitter’ thing! Mind you, it led me to you, so I think I’ve gained alot from trawling Twitter links!

    For me, tv has a side benefit that actually helps me achieve more – if i watch something intelligent (we have more of it in the UK!) I find I knit much faster, which is great, since knitting is what I do ;o) I go into autopilot, which is useful in context, and learn something at the same time, but soap operas etc are anathema – like everything it’s about discipline and making conscious choices about how you spend your time.

    I love how you articulate all sorts of ideas and practices that I take for granted, you help me stay more self aware, thank you!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Michele – glad you found me! Everyone creates time for different reasons but as mention, being self aware really helps in terms of not wasting time.

  3. says

    “At the end of the day, am I grateful for the day, or just grateful that it’s over?” – this is just brilliant Courtney. What’s the point of rushing around frantically to do stuff we don’t want do as quickly as possible so we have more time to cram in MORE stuff we don’t want to do?! Crazy.

    The Say No and Say Yes points are excellent too. So many of us (including myself) don’t want to disappoint people or turn them down so we just say yes almost by habit without considering whether it’s really something that’s going to make our “heart swell”. If it’s not, we’re not doing anyone any favours by taking it on.

    This is turning into a great series so far. I’m thinking it has the legs to be a book at some point too. : )

  4. says

    Time is precious. Great post.

    When I killed my TV service, I had so much more free time. My nine year old had a hard time with it for a few weeks. Because there was no cartoons to fill his time. But we started biking and getting outside so much more.

    Thank you for your feedback/help on my blog too.

  5. says

    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
    own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
    it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
    you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay

    Here’s to making the moments count and appreciation for the time we have. Really great post. Thank you. :)

  6. says

    Since I gave up TV and e-mail checking every 2 minutes I seem to have oodles more time, it’s great!
    I have never thought about unwinding like that though so definitley something fo rme to think about, thank you.

  7. says

    Courtney,

    This post really hit home with me. Actually, more than anything, I think this series has made me do some serious thinking.

    The land of enough is the ultimate destination for each of us. A place where we can finally put down our constant need to do this and do that and just be.

    Thanks for writing this piece. I’ll do my best to get the word out about it. Might I suggest that this series grows into something more – an ebook? a weekly fixture? It just has so much potential :)

    Mike Donghia

  8. says

    Oh, This is such a good post! I am pretty good on the TV thing, we only watch a few shows a week online. And email is not really a problem for me. I spend too much time twittering and blog hopping! All for the cause of educating myself and networking. I have to put limits on it!
    One way is to go where there is no internet, which I am doing for a few days this week. Friends have a lake house I can go use!
    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/the-perfectly-imbalanced-life/

  9. says

    Hi Courtney,

    I love you blog and I am not attacking you, but seriously, our staff is stretched so thin we work 9 1/2 hours a day without a break – much less a lunch. In talking to a lot of my friends they seem to be in the same situation. With jobs so scarce who can complain.

    Seriously I love your stuff, but this post makes no sense to my reality or those around me.

    Take Care.

    Cameron

    • Courtney Carver says

      Cameron, I understand that not everyone of my posts will apply to every lifestyle or work situation, but maybe there is a little bit or piece that will help.

      I’m not sure what industry you’re in but a 9 1/2 hour day without eating or a few minutes for fresh air doesn’t really generate great productivity overall. That’s not to say that you aren’t extremely good at what you do, but if you sacrificed 15 – 30 minutes for lunch, maybe you would be even better.

      Just a thought – I’m not in your situation so I can’t presume to know what’s best for you.

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