You won’t believe where time might be hiding and how easy it is to find.
“More time” is the thing we long for the most yet seem to have the least of.
In this fast pace world, time is at a premium. We use every service imaginable to help us “save time” and still, we seem to have less of it than ever. We are “stretched too tight, worn too thin, pushed too hard.” We have more to do than we have time to do it. And we often end up sacrificing the things we say we value most.
This is especially true when it comes to taking care of ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I too often end up living off the leftovers of my own life.
Everybody else’s needs come first.
Even the damn cat. And by the time I get around to doing something healthy or nourishing for myself, I’m too tired to try.
Or at least I used to be.
But not anymore.
Not when I apply this top secret time management trick in my life.
And when I forget to apply it (which I do more often than I’d like) my time starts slipping away again.
It’s time I have total control over.
Time that no one can take it away from me. Time I used to waste without even thinking about it.
Let me explain with a story.
Because just last week, I forgot again.
I was at the gym.
There was weight on a barbell, heavy-ish weight for me. I picked it up to do a squat. The moment I dropped down below parallel, I felt something like hot lead radiate over my entire left side from my butt down.
I freaked. Every muscle from my tailbone to my big toe was seized up in a full on charley horse. I had to go straight to urgent care. I’m still not sure how I drove myself there.
The diagnosis sounded grim.
My pelvis had popped out of place. My left leg extended a half inch longer than my right. My sciatica nerve was exposed and irritated. The doctor could dull the stabbing pain, relax the muscle, and put my hip back in place but it might take months for the numbness and tingling to retreat. Months for the muscles to feel healthy again.
I headed straight for a party in Pity Town.
I spiraled quickly. Bemoaning my age. Whining about my bad luck. Beating myself up for not stretching properly. I wove a dramatic sob story about how this might be the end of my CrossFit days. I whimpered at the pain. I dropped my head into a pitiful pout.
I carried on like this for two whole days.
Feeling extremely sorry for myself. Whipping up the “woe is me.” I spent hours, upon hours replaying the scenario. Wondering what I should have done differently. Asking why. Borrowing worry.
When it suddenly occurred to me.
“I am wasting a tremendous amount of time.”
And for what? Is all this stewing and brewing going to make me better? Going to make me stronger? Going to make me well?
How many times have I done this?
How many hours, days, and weeks of my life have I wasted feeling sorry for myself?
Feeling sorry that… someone did me wrong. Or that I didn’t get a fair shake. Or that something was out of my control. Or that I got dealt a bad hand. Or that someone else had it better/ easier than me.
I complain about “not having enough time,” yet I’m often not productively using the time I’ve been gifted .
Feeling sorry for myself takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. And it absolutely does not move me in the direction of my goals and my best life.
In fact, it moves me further away. Not only does feeing sorry for myself waste precious time, it actually causes me to go backward.
So it’s like a time suck. I lose the actual time I spend feeling sorry for myself, plus the time it takes to come back the distance I moved away from my path during the pity party.
I must be a good steward of the time I’ve been given if I wish to cultivate more.
I currently have the perfect amount of time. We all do. 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t play favorites. We all get the exact same amount.
What I do with the amount is up to me.
I can spend my time feeling sorry for myself over this thing or that.
Or I can spend my time taking inventory. Identifying what’s available to me. Appreciating what is working. Recognizing the resources (however small) I have at hand.
I will not find more time by looking at my calendar and rearranging things.
I will find more time by looking inside of myself. Noticing what I spend my time on… that no one else can see.
Then, taking responsibility.
Because no matter who I want to blame for taking up so much of my time…
It really does begin within me.
When I finally figured out I was wasting time feeling sorry about my bum leg, I shifted mental gears.
I asked, “What can I learn from this? What can I do differently next time? What am I missing in my fitness regimen that led to this injury? What fundamentals can I revisit to build a stronger foundation?”
Those questions led me to workable solutions. Things I can do. Decisions that are in my power to affect.
Which are things self-pity will never lead me to.
Next time you feel stressed and pressed and hear yourself saying, “I just don’t have enough time” …. Stop.
Do a self-check.
In what ways are you feeling sorry for yourself? Even if it’s just a little bit? Even if you’re justified? Even if it seems harmless?
Let that go.
Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. Choose to take charge of that time instead. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with it.