24 Sep Overcoming Time Sickness
In an effort to keep disciplined in my meditation practice, I partook in Oprah and Deepak’s meditation series for years. There are always wonderful tidbits of information that I get from each series and it continues to remind me of the emotional and spiritual benefits I receive from a consistent meditation practice. Last year I came across an interesting term Deepak spoke about, “time sickness.”
Time sickness is a lifestyle disorder, where we rush around on a daily basis judging ourselves by what we have achieved or haven’t achieved each day. It is the constant replaying of all you set out to accomplish in that day did not get done, disruptions to your well planned schedule (eg the chores left undone, the exercise we put off, the people we didn’t call). Time sickness also encompasses the high that people feel when all the boxes have been checked for the day (although I am yet to run into a single person who has ever checked off every box on their list).
We experience time-based on our psychological state.
Sadness makes time seem long and drawn out. Think of when we are waiting anxiously to go on a trip for our vacation. Joy makes time exhilarating and move faster. Think of how quickly the vacation we have been planning for months just seems to dissipate in seconds.
Deepak pointed out that by us living in the now – living the moment can eliminate both the highs and lows experienced living on a constant rat race of one task to the next. As he said, “There is no disruption if you are living in the now.”
A tool that has worked for me is writing 5 ‘must-get-done’ tasks done on a small post-it note or the smallest piece of paper I can find. The larger the sheet of paper, the more tasks you think of to write down. By the way, I have also found this to be true with my handbag – the larger it is, the more things I find to put in there.
I have found that I can get 5 important things done each day. Anything more than that and I find myself feeling rushed and create anxiety over how unproductive I am. These 5 most important tasks must also take into consideration my exercise regiment, groceries, calling a friend, an appointment, going to work. At work when I do this exercise, I have found the same to be true.
According to Deepak, time sickness can be cured because it was born in our own experience of time. If you suffer from time dysfunction you:
- Feel like there is never enough time in the day
- Constantly looking at the clock and racing against time
- Feel the frustration and failure of not accomplishing what you wanted to
Healing time dysfunction is not so much about slowing down time, as it is an inner shift of awareness of how you view time. You need to be compassionate with yourself, enjoy your experiences and take the time to appreciate the ins and outs of life. When your day is in flow, time worries are absent.
You don’t need better time management, you need a new state of mind.