How to Make Time for Moments of Mindfulness-3 Time Tips

lake and mountain
Make time for mindful moments…

When you make time for mindfulness, you give yourself a profound gift.

And yet, finding time to “stop and smell the roses” is a piece of advice that many of us have heard so often that we probably hardly hear it at all anymore.

Like so many so-called clichés, this saying harbors a great deal of wisdom.  So, if you have paused in the course of your busy day to read this article, congratulations.  You are taking the first step toward giving yourself a wonderfully simple and transformative time gift.

Yes, it’s a challenge to make time…

Even when we think that we are giving ourselves self-nurturing gifts, how fully do we actually let ourselves experience them?  Are you distracted by a thorny computer issue while you meditate?  Worried about the shopping while you walk in the woods?  Glancing at your watch while you have coffee with a friend?  As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote:

Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

Soren Kierkegaard

I certainly don’t suggest adding “Make Time to Be Mindful” as something to check off on your daily schedule or To-Do List.  What I would suggest, however, is that we provide ourselves with a pathway for bringing ourselves as fully as we can to each of our momentsThat’s because time’s flow is steady. And some days you might even experience it as relentless.

Time just keeps flowing…

No matter what our lives hold, time doesn’t slow or stop for any of it. 

Add to time’s steady flow the accumulation of our own individual goals and tasks, and you can see how the moments can easily slide by almost without our realizing.  With schedules and to-do lists filled to the brim, we may suddenly “come to” and a day, a week, or a month has gone by.  That’s a very disorienting feeling.

The lesson?  If we want to appreciate and be present, we need to slow down, because time will not.  So, how can we do that? 

3 Tips to help you make time:

Here are 3 tips that you can implement right away, to transform your experience of time. 

  1. Include pauses in your daily routine.  If you are going to smell the roses, you have to STOP.  For starters, these pauses needn’t be long. However, the nourishment you gain is enhanced and deepened the more time you spend.  You may begin with the briefest of pauses and expand into a meditation practice. The size and shape of what you do are entirely in your hands.
  2. Find a “mantra” or saying that works to bring you to yourself.  It can be anything — a word, a sentence, a gesture, a visualization — whatever helps to bring you fully into this moment.
  3. Give yourself an endpoint.  If you are going to be doing something like meditating, then knowing when you will stop relieves you of worries about time and helps immensely with letting go and being present.  I strongly advise using some kind of a timer so that you can really let go.

Bonus Tip

If you are not in a place where it’s possible to take time to do this, simply taking a deep breath and using your mantra can be enough to “bring you to yourself.”  The more you practice when you do have the time, the easier it becomes to give yourself this gift, even “on the fly.”

In addition to the sheer pleasure they offer, these moments are very practical.  Don’t let yourself slough them off as “trivial” or “self-indulgent” or “unproductive.”  Though they give pleasure, these pauses have a deeper and more far-reaching meaning than “mere” enjoyment. 

When you pause and connect, you can get your bearings and refocus.  Think of your stopping points as buoys marking your course as you sail through life. Without them, you might easily end up lost at sea. When you stop and breathe, you are connecting with yourself and your values. You make time to replenish and re-energize yourself before you continue on.  There is no greater gift that you can give yourself. And the best news is that you can do this anytime.

And here’s more help for you…

Time is pure potential. You decide how to use it; and once you do, it’s gone.  That’s why it’s so important to build on your best time choices.  If you feel like your time slips through your fingers, then you’ll want to claim your copy of my complimentary “Daily Choices Template:  Proven Strategies for Tracking Your Best Time Choices Today, Tomorrow & All Year!” There’s no time like the present – to start moving toward the future you envision for yourself.

Comments

  1. Dear Paula, thank you for this post. I still have problems with the third point: finding or setting an end point. This does not relate to ending the mindful moment but rather the work day, either at the office or at the home office. There’s always one last thing that could or should be done; this certainly has to do with issues of control.

    • Thanks for your comment, David. That ‘one last thing’ is certainly a challenge. Is there a perceivable pattern to the ‘last things’ that trip you up? For example, if they are computer-related tasks, might you use a timer to set a specific time to turn your computer off? I try to use a hard deadline for all work tasks and a specific start time for my closing rituals (gratitudes, journaling, etc.). If I give myself a specific time to move to them, it sometimes helps me let go of other things. It also helps to move to a different space for those activities, even if it’s just a different spot in the same room. But it’s definitely difficult to not let that ‘one thing’ creep in.

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