Feeling Stressed, and Wanting More Time? By Marilyn Tam
“How did it get so late so soon?” - Dr. Seuss “It’s November already, where did the year go?”
“The holidays are coming, and I’m still caught up in projects that I started months ago.” “Get all my work done? If I had 48 hours in a day I may get caught up in another year. Do you relate? Occasionally or more often, everyone has felt that time was rushing by, carrying with it our chances to finish what we began, say sorry, or redo something that we wish we hadn’t done.
When the days are so packed with demands, both assigned and self-imposed, we have a tendency to live in a constant mad rush. Many of us multi-task and juggle urgent projects daily, careening through life with little time to ask why and what are we really doing. Later, sometimes too late, we realize that in our scramble through life, we have neglected what was truly meaningful to us.
I’ve been there and more than a few times; living like that is an unsustainable and unhappy way to live. If you are feeling too stressed with what seems like an endless to do list, slow down. Take a deep breath, and then take another one, and then say, “What would happen if I didn’t do this task at this very moment? What is really most important? What is the truth here for me? Pull yourself back enough to get distance and perspective. Listen to the voice of your inner wisdom. The right answer to what you really need to do now will come.
Many years ago, when I was working my way through college, I thought I could do it all. I was taking 24 credit hours of classes (normal load is 12-15), working 20 hours a week as a fast food fry cook, on the University’s swim team and I was also the main volunteer cook at the University’s Chinese American Club. Surprising probably to no one but me, I fell ill, seriously sick.
Frustrated and unbelieving that I would be held in the school infirmary for days to recover, I asked to leave. When the administrator and medical staff told me that I could leave only if I signed these papers to absolve them of all responsibility should I die after I left did I realized the severity of my condition. In the next few days of recuperation I took the time to reassess my life. What was absolutely aligned with my life purpose and what was merely nice to do?
Learning the skills and knowledge I needed to help others was my goal. That meant keeping my credit hours and grades well maintained was most important. Having the money to pay for that was another part of the equation. What else did I need? Some balance. I can swim for recreation without the long hours of practice needed to stay on the swim team. Someone else can be the main volunteer cook for the Club. I can help when I have the time and just enjoy the level of participation that was comfortable for me. It took some adjustment to say no, to admit that there was a finite amount I could do, but ultimately it felt freeing. I didn’t feel exhausted all the time and actually had more fun!
“We need to maintain a proper balance in our life by allocating the time we have. There are occasions where saying no is the best time management practice there is.” ~ Catherine Pulsife
What about you? Are you packing too much into your life? Distinguish between the important and the urgent; sometimes the “urgents” aren’t that critical. Review what is on your to do list, are they all necessary? Who can help you with some of them? What if you put some things off to do later? Or even just stopped doing them altogether? Review your priorities. Do your activities and daily life reflect what you truly value?
Oftentimes we tell ourselves that once we do _____, then we’ll have the time, money and resources to do what we really want. Can we do what we really want now in another way? Maybe we can’t take that round the world trip today, but we can spend a few hours exploring something new in our area, or read up about the places we want to go together. There are many ways to share fun and fulfilling experiences that don’t demand resources that we don’t have. Days, months and years are passing by and we only have this moment.
There is a dynamic balance to life. Maybe you have a work deadline that is going to consume your time and energy for a certain period of time. Acknowledge that and enlist the support of your family and friends. Ask for their understanding and support while you are occupied with the job, and commit to a time when you will be more available. Life is constantly changing, so allow for periodic swings from one aspect to another as long as the swings are conscious and limited in length. It will help you keep a perspective and be a reminder to readjust again when the task is done. Enjoy your life each day, that is the only time we have.
Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Marilyn Tam is an international selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel Products & Retail Group and VP of Nike and the founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation.
Marilyn’s new book, “The Happiness Choice – The Five Decisions that Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” will be released in February 2013. Marilyn wrote her internationally selling books, “How to Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want” and “Living the Life of Your Dreams”, which won the Global eBook of the Year 2011 in the Inspirational/Visionary category. Her books and work have helped numerous companies and people globally. You can get more free insights and find out about Marilyn on her website http://www.marilyntam.com/books.html and connect with her on facebook