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Guest Post by Cheryl Clarke

Have you ever said the words, “there just isn’t enough time”?  I know I have many, many times.  

But this just doesn’t make sense. In developed countries we live in a society where technology has freed up a lot of leisure time.  We no longer have to spend hours hand washing our clothes. Most of us don’t even need to hand wash our dishes.

We don’t have to go and find our water, it’s just there for us. We don’t have to forage for food we just pick it up at the supermarket.  

So why, in this world of convenience do we feel like we don’t have enough time?

Why do we get this anxious feeling bubbling up, that we can’t possibly fit everything in and at the same time, we feel like we are missing out if we don’t try.

I think part of the problem comes down to how we prioritize what we do in our life.  We tend to get confused between things that we sort of want and things that we really, really want.  Our heart’s desires get covered up by all the other little nice things out there.  

And it can be very difficult to distinguish between the white noise of the nice-to-haves and the true calling of our heart’s desires.

Imagine if we only spent our time on the things that our heart truly desires.  

Things that really fill us up with light and love, that we enjoyed fully, which fed us with energy.

Not only would we have more time, but we would move much more quickly toward our true dreams and ambitions in life.

The only way that we can start to break away from the white noise and start to listen to our heart is to practice the art of being still.  To carve out 10-20 minutes a day of quiet reflection.  A time which is just about us, how we are going about our day.  A time to sit and reflect instead of do, do, do.

A morning and evening mindful reflection practice can be extremely powerful.

Spending some time coming to ourselves.  Coming to our body, our thoughts and our feelings.  Noticing how we are on this day.  And then setting an intention for the day ahead. How do we want to live this day.

In the evening we can do the same. We note down how we have lived this day.  What did we enjoy, what did we not enjoy.

If we do this simple practice every day we start to create a habit of coming to the present moment and becoming conscious of how we are choosing to live.

Over time it builds up a habit of checking into our body, thoughts and feelings regularly throughout the day.  This practice is called mindfulness.

By developing a practice of mindfulness you will gain insight into two areas which will help you to improve your productivity and time management.

Below I have created a reference list for you about the types of insight you can gain about how you are living your life.  (Val’s tip:  don’t just think about these answers, but journal about them which is much more intentional!)

Activities

Which are pushing you towards your goals _____________
Which are wasting time _____________

Which are giving you energy _____________
Which are draining your energy _____________
Are their activities that can automated _____________
Are their activities that can be outsourced _____________

Mind Body Spirit

When do you have the most energy _____________
When are your energy dips _____________
How focused are you _____________
How does each activity make you feel _____________
How do you feel at the start of the day _____________
How do you feel at the end of the day _____________

The result is that we can become much more balanced in our output. Have you ever heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race”?  This is absolutely true.  The Pareto principle says that just 20% of the causes deliver 80% of the effects.  By practicing mindfulness we can begin to understand what this 20% is, focus on just this 20% and we can get to where we truly want to go a lot quicker.  We also free up some time to make sure we are able to look after our health and wellbeing and enjoy the journey at the same time.

Before developing a practice of mindfulness I would find myself moving in a million directions, unfocused and then burning out.  Now I choose what I am doing very carefully.  I know why I am doing it and how it makes me feel.  So I have a lot more energy, am a lot happier in my work and I am able to speed up my progress.

I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.  And if you want some support with implementing this daily reflection then we have created an online course for you on our website citycalm.org so come and check it out.
We have combined mindfulness practice with the practical elements of focusing down your daily activities.

Cheryl is the founder and CEO of City Calm.  She is a meditation and yoga teacher and specializes in how we can apply these techniques to grow in life and business.  Subscribe here for tips, invites to the latest webinars, retreats and workshops.