Do you feel like you’re always running out of time or don’t have enough of it? Or perhaps you find yourself feeling perpetually distracted? Research indicates that our mind wanders more than 50% of the time during our waking moments. The level of stimulation and distractions in modern life can feel overwhelming and even fragmenting at times. And that can lead to loss of focus, mistakes, diminished productivity and difficulty making decisions. Being distracted also increases stress and anxiety.
The long term negative effects around feeling stressed out and rushed impacts everything we do– from the quality of our work to our sleep and eating habits, to the way we relate to our loved ones.
Our minds naturally wander. When we’re anxious, our minds can ruminate about the future or fixate on the past. If we want to avoid what we’re doing, we can easily procrastinate with the abundance of distractions available to us, but procrastination can also become problematic if it becomes a habit. Over time, it can actually diminish our self esteem and confidence. We stop trusting ourselves to accomplish what we set out to do.
However, changing the quality of your attention with mindfulness practice can not only improve your focus, but slow down your perception of time and create a sense of presence and ease as you move through your day.
Mindfulness practice puts the break on your anxious mind.
It gives you a moment to pause because it brings your attention to the present moment, in a very intentional, yet non judgmental way. Mindfulness allows you to observe your thoughts, feelings and impulses and then gently steer your attention back to the task at hand. It’s not just what you’re doing that matters or how much you can get done–but how you do it. It’s the attention and the intention you bring to the present moment.
Do we really have enough time?
Part of the stress over our relationship to time revolves around the idea that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. And that creates an inherent sense of anxiety and tension. It’s also a mantra that we tend to repeat over and over again when we feel anxious and stressed. It essentially becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The reason why focusing on time management alone often fails, is that it’s not just about prioritizing your activities, which is important, but the quality of your thought and your attention determines how you perceive what you’re doing.
MIndfulness can help you reign in your wandering, busy, anxious mind with curiosity and bring compassion to the fact that you have a busy life with a lot of stressors. The signs of stress you become aware of are an invitation to become more accountable to yourself by making a conscious decision to refocus your attention or perhaps to take a break and recharge.
You don’t need to run out of time when you put intention around your attention. Instead , you can recapture and rebalance your relationship to time.