Take Your Time-Deliberately

There is another facet to my most recent time hack experiment. I have theme days, sure, and I have morning rituals still, but those are still working within the schedule – as in, if I give them too much power, I am the slave of arbitrary numbers ticking off electronically with no actual relation to the physical and emotional world around me.

That’s why I have deliberately chosen another practice to run concurrently with the “Theme/Push” days.

(Yes, I know this might be something that should be in the “Practice” column, but since it’s about improving my quality of life, I put it here.)

Stop and Smell the Life

The practice is simple: I take my time.

It’s an interesting phrase, when you think about it. It implies ease, slowness, a lack of hurry. It’s sometimes used sarcastically as a way to shame someone into hurrying up.

Those are the colloquial meanings. What if we look at it literally? What does it mean to Take your time?

For me, it means trying to notice when I can stand up to the schedule and be in Life instead. I almost said “be in the moment there, but that’s a trite cliché in the personal development world. Besides, again, words have meaning: what if it’s longer than a moment?

Instead, I simply try to recognize that something is happening that should have my attention. And I do my best to give it that, which means not giving my attention to my watch, my schedule, my notifications, all the things that are trying to pull me away from my actual Life.

TYT in Action

This morning provided a wonderful example. I have a pretty busy day today, with many meetings and a friend coming into town and of course my theme that need shepherding in between. I have a pretty precise idea of everything I’m doing today, and it’s laid out nicely in my calendar.

When I was at the tail end of my morning protocols and about to jump into writing this post, my phone rang. It was one of my daughters, concerned about her recent engagement (yes, that’s right, another one is getting hitched!).

Now, my first reaction was to look at my clock and mentally say I can give her ten minutes, but then I have to get that writing done.

Then I thought about what I was doing. What I was prioritizing. And I said “Sure, hon, talk to me. And we did, and while I didn’t solve her problem by any means, I think she was glad to talk to me about it. I didn’t look at the clock at all, even when I hung up; I knew what the next task was already.

Other moments when I’ve taken my time: meals. Walks with my partner. Dancing at my (other) daughter’s wedding. And other precious, intimate experiences. I’m writing about it because it has, noticeably, improved my enjoyment of life as well as my stress about time pressure. I simply refuse to allow the schedule to be anything more than a reminder of an intention set by a past version of myself that was less informed than the present-me.

I choose whether that schedule still serves my present intention-and often it does. It’s keeps me from guzzling the gravy hose quite so much, and gives me a structure to play in, rather than a prison to endure.

And finally, you simply have to ask yourself: if you’re not taking your time…who is?

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