2014 flew by. Today you have to fight traffic to work, make a million phone calls, work relentlessly on a computer, barley find time for lunch, be scrutinized by a manager and fellow worker, fight traffic home, be too tired to cook dinner, and then do something unhealthy like overeat, drink, or smoke to relieve all that terrible stress. Repeat 365 times and 2015 will be over soon.
Let’s take up arms and revolt. Let’s reclaim our precious time, our precious lives that we are given only once.
So how can we start a revolution in our own lives, in our own minds, to make this next year of 2015 more ours and less theirs?
1. Do Less Busy Work
The older we get, the more responsibilities we take on. Usually this means more difficult and time-consuming tasks on a daily basis.
We all know that the busier we are, the faster time flies. There is an uncanny effect of time passing faster as the mind gets more distracted.
So the key for 2015 is to be less busy, literally. Try not to pack, pack, pack your days so full. If you have 10 things to do today, do 5 of them and put off the others. The world can wait. Nobody is forcing you to do so many things except you.
2. Manage Your Stress
Stress can ruin any good day, and the more stress we have in our lives the more we feel helpless. So where’s the connection?
The perception of having a lot of stress causes us to feel like there is not enough time to get things done. This feeling of not having enough time can be reinterpreted easily as time passing faster than we like.
So this begs the question how to manage stress better in 2015. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject – yet, let me offer a few key concepts.
1. Feeling overwhelmed is a near-subconcious choice – it happens when we pay attention to a person or consequence that is creating pressure. By making a conscious effort to stop paying attention to the source of pressure, we can begin to relieve the stress. Mentally ignore your manager. Pay attention on what you are doing in the moment, and forget about the deadline. Focus on doing, less on deadlines.
2. Stress should be counter-balanced with relaxation. You already know this, but it’s worth a friendly reminder to use controlled breathing techniques and relaxation imagery in times of high stress. Even going for a short walk helps bring calm back to a troubled mind.
3. Log Your Life
We tend to gauge time by memorable events. Nothing much happened in 2014? That’s because you forgot all of the mini memorable events.
Try to keep a diary in 2015, writing down daily events before you retire to bed. People tend to forget these, but at the end of the week you will be surprised by how much has happened.
By the time 2016 rolls around, you will have a book full of events reminding you of a full and unforgettable year quite literally.
Have you ever spent a day on a hike through the mountains? It feels like a long and beautiful day by the time you get back home. That’s our barometer.
Humans are meant to be under open skies doing earthly work (like hiking, farming, etc.), not in offices doing virtual work (like typing and phone calling). Humans are meant to live in balance, not under great pressure every day. Humans are meant to keep written records – a desire as ancient as the drawings of the Neanderthals some 300,000 years ago.
Several colleagues who live in rural towns complain to me about how slowly times moves for them. So it is possible to make 2015 last longer.
I wish for all of us a longer and more meaningful 2015. Happy new year!
by Dr. Charles Chaney