There’s never enough time. This is the phrase I often hear from many parents, including myself. If you’re a parent, you know there are no breaks. If you’re like me, your day starts at seven in the morning, and your child does not care what time you got home and that you’re tired. The onslaught of curios questions begin, and breakfast needs to be made. Your sleep deprived, so you drink coffee to counteract the tiredness and start your day. You put your eight plus hours in at work and then return home. You’re exhausted but have just enough energy to watch a TV show before turning off the lights. You’re sexless, you have a to-do list that never gets done, and your weekends are filled with trying to make up for lost sleep. Sound familiar? We live in a world that doesn’t respect rest and relaxation. Instead, we live in a society that is obsessed with trying to keep up, that we’ve even coined a term for it known as FOMO (fear of missing out). So how do we regain the precious time that we so badly crave? I’ve listed six ideas to squelch FOMO and master time.
Learn to Say No
This is obvious, but hardly done. If you’re like me, you’re a people pleaser, and you have to give that up. We tend to forget that we actually control how and when we want to spend our time. You need to check in with your value system and see what it is you value most. Because only when we’re living through our values do we feel truly fulfilled and alive. One of the highest paid life coaches in the world, Brendon Burchard, stated that he receives text messages on a daily basis, but that he responds back with the warning, “Do you need this done right now, as in a matter of life and death?” He said most people’s response is, “No, it’s not a matter of life and death,” and Brendon just bought himself more time. Unlike Brendon, most people get trapped in responding to every phone call or text message, that they have very little control of their day. As entrepreneur Derek Sivers said, “If it’s not a ‘hell yeah’ it’s a no.”
Live in the Now
I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but living in presence is extremely powerful, because there is power in the present moment. If you’re living in the past or the future, you’re already in a stressed state. The past or the future can only produce worry and anxiety, whereas the present moment is where you have ultimate control. Using the breath is an easy tool to regaining presence. Simply doing a box breathing protocol of four seconds inhale, four seconds hold, four seconds exhale, and repeat for 10 rounds. This breathing exercise will help clear the mind, lessen reactivity, and power the brain so you can make better decisions of how you’re going to spend your time.
Take a media fast! Did you know the media is built on delivering bad news? They know you’ll return to watch it, because you’re left feeling, “Well if I didn’t watch it, how would I know all these bad things are happening and then I wouldn’t be able to protect myself.” The news is constantly triggering a fight or flight response. Try it for a few days, but I recommend a week. Afterwards you’ll realize how much time you wasted on absorbing negative information, and that you weren’t really missing anything after all.
Put it in Your Calendar
If it ain’t in your calendar, then it ain’t going to happen. Between work, kids, birthday parties, appointments, sports practices, etc, your calendar is full. Just like you schedule all these rote activities, you need to schedule your dreams, passions, and hobbies in the calendar. From reading a book, to working out, meditation practice, or date night with the wife, everything needs to be scheduled. By writing it down, you’ve set some intention. You’ve cut out the randomness. You’ve cut how feelings. Because no one feels like working out and exercising because it’s hard work.
Take breaks often, before fatigue and mind wandering sets in. Some like to take a 5-10 minute break every 60 minutes. I think a good sweet spot is at about 25 minutes with a five-minute break. In that five minutes, practice breathing exercises, or get up and move. When your head is clear, come back to work with more energy than before. The irony is people think you’re wasting time by taking breaks, but you’re actually gaining time because you are more productive.
Change Your Exercise
For those of you that exercise, I recommend that you stop doing these long sixty minute aerobic sessions where you jog or do the elliptical machine for 60 minutes. You’re wasting your time. These long runs do nothing for your overall physical fitness. For many of you that are already leading stressful lives, theses long runs can be more damaging to your adrenal glands. Secondly, most of my clients are working out to lose weight, and these runs do not promote fat loss. Instead do something like high interval training or burst training. This kind of training exposes the body to high amount of stress for a short amount of time. Then you rest for a little bit, and repeat the exercise at a high intensity. This style of exercise has shown to be more beneficial for cardiovascular type diseases as well as burning calories and excess weight.
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