Are you feeling it too, the impulse to slow down? Especially now with the inward energy of autumn falling upon us, to become more intentional with your time.
What is a misuse of time?
You know that you’re not intentional with your time, when you feel as though you’re distracting yourself from the present moment, and all there is to feel now.
Of course, a little distraction from time to time is useful for us to come back to our feelings with a clearer point of view. Sometimes when we are feeling that things are intense and overwhelming, the present moment feels too painful to live.
Often we don’t have access to the resources that allow us to fully process our feelings in the moment.
By becoming more intentional with your time, however, you allow yourself to come back to your centre and get in touch with your needs, taking aligned action for your own health and wellbeing.
Here are some common ways in which we misuse our time (without judging):
- Constant scrolling on our phones
- Zoning out rather than zoning in
- Numbing with alcohol/food
- Only talking to others about our problems rather than making conversation
- Participating in activities that we know hold no contribution to our health
- Saying yes to things we’d rather not do
At times, it can feel like we’re running away, oppressing our feelings – looking for the next oxytocin high in every moment.
We don’t know what to do with boredom, monotony, discipline becomes a drag, because we don’t see discipling as beneficial for our growth, but rather an authoritarian inner voice bullying us to take action.
So what can we do to become more intentional with our time?
Set boundaries with yourself
We all have areas of our life in which we could use a little more discipline or flexibility (depending on the case), setting boundaries for yourself is useful to then know how to reflect these in your relationships.
Boundaries that you set with yourself can include:
- Mental boundaries – working on clearing out your mental clutter by journaling regularly, making to do lists, allowing the mind to rest when you can
- Emotional boundaries – deciding when to not participate in your mind’s stories that may be dragging you down, but looking at them with curiosity
- Physical boundaries – understanding that your body needs nutrition, movement and sleep to thrive and setting goals around that
- Spiritual boundaries – keeping up with a practice that helps you become the next version of yourself, more at peace and aligned with your life path
Simplicity Relished has a wonderful article with more tips on how to become more intentional with your time.
Support through transitions and changes
At a time of change, be it seasonal, professional or emotional, we need support.
The idea is to surround yourself with people that encourage you and lift you up, believe in your dreams as much as you do. Your real friends are those that cheer you on from the sidelines. Offering each other support in any format is an essential part of life that helps us feel the togetherness we need to succeed.
If you know someone that seems drained/lacks support and you have the energy to give, a wonderful phrase that you can practice is:
‘I would like to offer you some support right now. What would that look like for you?’
If the person is too mentally saturated to make a decision, you can offer a list of possible ways that you can offer your support. Remember that in giving, we receive. Even though you may not receive it from the person you give it to, that energy always comes back in some form or another.
When we can’t get that support from outside of us, it’s time to start to rely on ourselves, too. How can we cultivate an interior that helps us meet our needs, alerts us when we’re on autopilot? We’ll get to that in the next point.
Cultivate ritual and routine
When you want to become more intentional with your time, one of the best ways to do this is in repeating a habit until you integrate it into your system. By this point, the situal you choose becomes a grounding point for you to replenish your energy and recharge.
One of the things I like to do, for example when I have alone time, is work on my business. I no longer work rushing on the go, but I prepare my space before getting out my computer and set the intention that I want to get out of my time working. I ask myself the following questions:
- What do I want to or can I offer today?
- What baby step will get me a little further?
- How can my contribution help the world today?
Focusing on the bigger picture gives us motivation to continue practising our rituals, which is why I recommend you have a strong why to your path right now. In what way is it important to you to be doing what you’re doing? What beliefs do you have around it?
Prioritise the essential
Most of us have a tendency to say yes to anything we’re offered – whether it’s more work or social gatherings. To become more intentional with our time, it’s important to first check in with yourself whether this is something that you really want to do right now.
It also means becoming okay with making decisions and accepting that you have the right to go back on something you originally said yes to, without giving a reason why.
Essential things that are important to prioritise that we often bypass are:
- Nutrition and healthy eating
- Movement /exercise
- Dancing/connecting with spirit (or whatever source you align with)
- Communicating our needs
How can you make space so that these needs are met? What does that look like for you? For some, it may mean preparing meals in advance to ensure you eat a proper meal rather than snacking. For others it may mean taking a few minutes a day to put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths. Find what is essential for you right now and start putting it into practice.
When you draw out your calendar for the month ahead, make sure you put these essentials in, so that they become a priority, too.
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions. I’d love to hear from you – what helps you become more intentional with your time?