This week I have delved into How Changing Your Time Can Change Your Health by not only writing a blog but by doing a series of short videos and by talking about this topic on my podcast channel.
If you would prefer to watch, I have included the video series below each section that the video relates to below or, listen to the whole episode by clicking below. The Juzcit Podcast Channel is called “Let’s Talk About…”. Enjoy 🙂
In 1988, Stephen Hawking published one of the greatest science books ever written called “A Brief History of Time”. I remember reading it for the first time when I was about 17. My mind was literally blown. The concepts Stephen explained in this book have stayed with me my whole life. The message I have more recently understood from this book is very un-scientific; it is that our perception of time creates our reality.
For those of you who have not read this book, Stephen Hawking explains the nature of time in a language that can be understood by the non-scientific world. Why does it relate to this the topic I’m discussing today about time and health? Because our perceptions come from what we think we know, our belief systems and our previous experience. So if you think that you know that there’s a “right time” for certain actions and tasks, you have a limiting belief system where subconsciously you hold yourself back and you have previous experiences that confirm your knowledge and belief system, changing your perception is going to be tough.
An example of this is the eternally busy working mum. This person may “know” that working mum are all busy because there are only so many hours in the day and with all of the things that have to be done, there is no way to avoid being busy. This person may have a belief system that they have to ‘do it all’ or they will look like a bad mum and be judged by people badly, and they might also have a previous experience where they saw their mum working and juggling kids and a home and this experience confirms their belief and perception.
So how do you break this perception and create a new story? One that will support you to live the life you want to live and not leave you feeling like you never have enough time? Firstly, lets start with a pattern interrupt. Now, in the next section we are going to cover some simple steps that you can implement into your day to change your perception of time and as a result, improve your health.
I believe when I am learning something new it is pretty useless if I don’t have some action steps to implement. In the last section we covered how our perceptions of time are created and how they can limit us from living our best life. Now we are going to get into the nitty gritty of changing ourselves from the inside out.
Negative self talk and blaming is a sure fire way to keep yourself stuck in a pattern of behavior that is limiting you from living your best life. In the last section we discussed how our perception of time creates our reality. In this section we are going to look at the steps you can take to change that reality.
This is one behavior that I realised was causing me some serious issues. I would say words to the effect “I’m running out of time” “I’m wasting time” “I don’t have enough time” to myself and to others over and over in a day. This mantra was giving my subconscious instructions to ensure that I would never have enough time. Catching these mantras and changing them in the moment can be the start of changing your story.
For example, you hear yourself saying “I don’t have time for….”(Insert action that you know you should be doing like making a healthy lunch to take to work or going to the gym or learning something new). Replace it with something like, “I have not prioritized (action) today”. Accepting and taking responsibility for the fact that you have chosen to not prioritized a certain action means that you can now find a positive solution rather than blame external circumstances.
If you say you have not prioritized and you believe that the action did not need to be prioritized then owning that and being honest about it is still a better outcome than blame. For example, I’m feeling lethargic at work and I say to myself or another person “I did not prioritize going to the gym today” now I can accept and take responsibility for the fact that I am not as energised as I would like to feel and I may not feel as healthy as I want to feel. If I want to change it, I can plan and commit to getting to the gym in the future as I can see that it really deserves to be a priority in my life.
Now that you have picked up on your negative self talk and reframed it to take responsibility for your actions, how do you change from what you are doing that seems to be taking up all of your time to what you want to do with your time instead? In the next section we will cover how to audit your day to see what is really going on.
Have you ever had those days where you have been busy as hell but then if someone asks you what you did you would have a hard time explaining what you actually did? I know I certainly have had those days and they did not feel so good.
So in the last section we talked about how you can start to change your perception of time by picking up on the negative self talk and blame that often accompanies the feeling of being time-poor. In this section, we are going to really assess what you are prioritizing your attention on.
Start by setting a series of alarms in your phone to go off every hour or so. Keep a notebook handy. Every time your alarm goes off, write down what you have just spent the time doing. Then beside each task, rate the task in importance from 1 to 5. Do this over a few days to make sure you really capture enough data to self-assess how productive you are. Are you happy with how many things were very important or important?
This is a great way to really objectively look at yourself however, be careful not to start criticizing yourself if your results are not what you want them to be.
Once you have your data, now ask yourself some important questions, particularly any task that is rated low or very low on your scale. Some questions could be:
“What would happen if I did not do this task?”
“Can I do this task at another time of the day to make it more efficient?”
“Can I get someone else to do this task?”
Honesty is the key to this step; don’t go holding onto a low value task to keep your ego happy.
Understanding how you prioritize your day is a good step toward raising your self-awareness but how does this impact on your health? To answer that question, we need to understand why we rate some tasks as important and others as not important. For example, you might rate a meeting at work as important because the outcomes of the meeting significantly affect how you achieve your goals at work or you might rate that same meeting as unimportant because the outcomes of the meeting have no impact on your goals at work. If you are sitting in a meeting that is not important to you this will increase your “not enough time” feeling which increases your feeling of lack of control. That feeling increases stress and has a negative impact to your health.
To take responsibility for this, you could go and talk to your boss about whether you really need to be involved in the meeting at all and if not, you now have that time to prioritize elsewhere.
So now you have an objective assessment of how you spend your time, next is understanding why some tasks on your list hit the important button; plus you may want to look at these important tasks and see whether they align with your most important values. In the next section, we will cover how understanding your highest values and setting goals impacts on prioritizing your time so that you can lead the life you want.
Without goals, life can feel like an endless series of events that have no meaning and no purpose. Having goals is crucial to your mental and physical health. So while goals give you finish lines to strive for during your life’s journey, values are your compass keeping you on the road toward that finish line. In the last section you objectively assessed how you were prioritizing your time on specific tasks by order of importance. In this section, you will learn why these tasks are important to you and really look at whether your actions are in alignment with your goals and values.
I love the quote “A goal without an action plan is a daydream”, by Nathaniel Branden. Reality has to kick in at some stage or you will not get anywhere.
What do you really want to achieve in your lifetime? What do you want to achieve tomorrow, in the next month, in the next 6 months? The answers to these questions are your goals. They can be big or small, it doesn’t matter. For example you might want to learn a new language or learn to play an instrument. You might want to start your own business or get a promotion. Perhaps you want to be in a long-term relationship or be happier in the relationship you are in; these are all goals that you can write down that you want to achieve.
Next determine what are your highest values. For me, I value love, respect, relationships, learning, family, fun, adventure, health, generosity, prosperity and compassion. Do your goals align with your values? Does the way you prioritise your time align with your goals and values? If they do, great! Keep up the great work. If they don’t, change.
Change can be scary but also one of the most liberating things you can do. To me, not changing is scarier. Allowing fear to get in the way of achieving your goals will result in regret, disappointment, anger, sadness and bitterness. None of these emotions are good for leading a great healthy life.
So now you have goals and values to direct how you prioritize your time, you now how you currently prioritize your time, lets look at the gap. In the next section, you will learn some tips and hacks to really get the most productivity out of your day.
Have you every watched a driver on a commute to work getting angry and frustrated at the situation they are in? Ever watched them explode their anger at another driver who has ‘Done the wrong thing”? Maybe you have been that person? I know I have. In the last section you learned how to set goals and define your values to assess your need for change. Now, lets look at some easy ways to turn unproductive time into productive.
Imagine having fun on your commute, learning a new skill and expanding your mind. Do you think you would get so angry and frustrated if you were using the time that may have rated pretty low on your audit for achieving a goal that you want?
It takes about 20 hours per week learning to get a degree if you are studying full time. If you are commuting to work, chances are you are spending between 1 to 3 hours per day in your car or on public transport. That’s between 5 and 15 hours per week that you could be learning a degree, new skills to get a promotion or to change careers.
Perhaps your problem is that you want to exercise but feel that you would be sacrificing time with your family to go to the gym. Find fun family things that bring exercise and your family time together. For me this is taking my boys to the tennis courts for a hit or playing some basketball.
The lastly, slow down and relax more. This may seem counterintuitive but believe me it works. Taking the time to relax and re-energise will help you reduce stress levels in your body and will give you the space to think about the next thing you are about to do. Slowing down means you can experience each moment more fully which makes it feel much more meaningful.
So in this section you have learned a few simple tricks for making better use of your time. Thank you so much for spending this time with me, I hope these steps are of benefit to you and to the people around you. If you have any comments or would like to share your experience, please leave a comment or join the Juzcit community on Facebook and start a discussion, I would love to hear from you.