Are you the type of person who lays down silently during the night and does a short recap on how the day went? I was! And I have to admit, I sometimes regretted how my day went because of how I handled things.
To change your life, you need to change your priorities
I often heard myself saying, “I wish I could have done that differently” or “I did that task or activity on autopilot” and even “I need to prioritize my things if I want to have my life organized…sort of”.
During those times I also thought that I love my bed and I would never want to leave again, only to realize that the next day I probably had to get up and do my thing and when night time came I’ll ask myself all the same questions I had asked the night before.
Because you see, it seems to me that my time management skills were always running away from me, even though I constantly tried to catch them. And the problem was that instead of focusing on time management I had to pay attention to my own attention.
Continue reading and find out how mindfulness helps you to get your priorities straight.
I knew I had to do the chores around the house, some work, I had to exercise, eat healthily, take my dog out for a walk, go shopping for some new pants because I have a job interview in two days’ time, go grocery shopping, update my laptop, delete all the photographs I have from my holiday to Greece in 2016, and of course, I also needed to do the laundry, fold the laundry, take my dog for another walk, do more work, have a shower, eat something and go to bed.
And once in bed, I spent at least 30 minutes a day thinking about how I felt throughout the day and deciding on whether or not I was right to do x thing and even questioning my abilities of discernment in regards to x thing.
It’s definitely tiring. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who did this. We just wish our days lasted a little bit longer, like maybe 26 hours instead of 24. But I know for a fact that I would then ask for a 28 hours’ day because 26 is not enough…so you see, the cycle continues.
One day I thought, what if I - instead of doing this whole reviewing thing at the end of the night during the comfort of my own bed - started doing this right at the moment when things are occurring. And that was a shocking moment if I’m completely honest.
There was a click, somewhere, that made me think that everything I’m living is irreversibly and if I don’t get hold of it and truly understand the present moment, then all the moments will ultimately become lost without me being aware of them.
It’s not like I understood this all of a sudden. But I did make me start thinking, and that’s a great improvement. What if the way I was managing not only my time but ultimately my life had been wrong all these years?
What if I had forever stayed caught up in the “why didn’t I do this in that way”? Kinda mentality. What’s more, what can I do now I’m aware of this? I just simply cannot go back to how I was.
And that’s where mindfulness comes into play because mindfulness is the ability to be right here in this present moment. Technically, we are all experiencing the ‘nowness’ in our own specific ways, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are being mindful or that mindfulness is bringing a sense of priorities.
Some of us struggle while being connected with the present, and when we do manage to do so, we simply go back into our thoughts and start chatting with them as well. “I missed you” I have heard myself saying out loud once I returned to the non-stop chat.
But the truth is, you and I can be mindful. The man on the kiosk can also be mindful when he’s selling. The bus driver is being mindful when she’s driving. Because we all have that inherent trait which is to be fully present. Just like animals do. It’s in their instinct, and it is on ours as well, if only we let it.
Mindfulness is also focusing on the present, not being bothered about the past or day-dreaming about what we are going to do in our future.
So, mindfulness helps you to stay grounded, sort of speak, but it also brings you closer to your priorities. Being anxious doesn’t seem appealing anymore, especially if I can practice being mindful. And, on top of that, anxiety has simply scaled down from my list of priorities, thanks to being mindful.
I have a sense of awareness, I am also more physically relaxed and I finally feel at peace, even if I’m in the middle of a storm at times.
Stop trying to manage your time and thinking how much time you are going to spend with yourself, instead, make yourself a priority. It is unbelievable simple, yet so hard to achieve.
When you start practicing mindfulness, you soon realize that you need to stop trying to make happen what everybody else wants, and instead, you will follow your own desires, aspirations and even commitments.
You will also understand that you cannot go in life rushing against time, feeling forever overworked, or what’s worse, feeling like you should be grateful for feeling overworked.
Feeling sleep-deprived, anxious or even stressed to the max are also one of those things we take for granted and we somehow believe they are innate to us and we should be feeling that way.
It is not only through mindfulness that you are able to have a sense that your priorities are straight. It sure helps, but you also need to put mindfulness as one of your top priorities. Did you sleep today? Did you eat today? Did you love yourself today? Did you practice mindfulness? You just have to be, of course, it takes a lot of effort and time, but you will eventually just be.
You will stop multitasking and leaving everything to the last minute because you will also realize that it’s better to completely be mindful while doing one activity since that could mean you are saving time in said activity and now you will have more time enjoying other things.
In addition, that “to-do” list of yours? You know, the one that used to be one page and ended up being 10 pages and they cover the next 3 years of your life? Well, it’s not useful anymore.
Through mindfulness, you will learn that your expectations also start to evolve. Being present becomes your top priority, and by that, you are also prioritizing other important things that perhaps you didn’t even pay attention to before being mindful.
It seems like everything that surrounds us is trying to compete to get our attention. In addition to this, we will actually let them win, and sometimes we even look for more, because no distraction is good enough. It’s almost as if it were a drug.
At the end of the day our brains -and feelings alike- are like scrambled eggs waiting to be fried up. If you decide to do the opposite and start paying attention to specific tasks, how would you feel? Would you like to try it out?
Try these things then and see how your focus keeps flowing.
How can you actually manage time? You are probably thinking right now that it’s a bit of nonsense as you cannot make time go faster or slower as you are not in charge of time.
But, how do you manage your attention? Well, you could pay more or less attention to something, so you are in charge of that.
It’s a simple step that is sometimes difficult to achieve, especially because we are constantly living with the automatic pilot mode on.
However, you can ask yourself, “what should I focus on today?, or “in what direction do I want my energy to go to?”. These questions, albeit simple, will make you start analyzing in what areas you could focus on and what other areas are best to leave as they are.
Priorities are not only for those things we need to get done right now. You can also make a list on the short and long term. However, the way you will approach them is with your insight into this precise time.
Mindfulness also means acceptance. So the long list is not accepted as part of a reality that will occur, regardless of whether that happens today, tomorrow, in two weeks’ time or in 2 years’ time. And if it doesn’t happen? All good too. Mindfulness has given you the right tools to understand and come to terms with the fact that perhaps those tasks weren’t truly necessary.
But you only were able to come to this conclusion through your mindfulness’ practice. You were able to observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them and without thinking ‘this was right’ and ‘that one was wrong’.