For many people, the idea of giving themselves more time and space can seem like a foreign concept or something out of their control. However, if you allow yourself to imagine it or to think back to times in the past when you felt like you had more time and space, you can become inspired, excited and even relaxed by this idea.
So how do you do it? Well, there are lots of ideas, techniques and tips you've learned over the years to create more time and space for yourself. The problem is that when you start to feel stressed out and overwhelmed, you fall back into unhealthy habits and patterns in your life that you learned as survival skills (which don't usually support your growth or deepen your capacity for peace).
Here are a few things to think about and practice as you look to expand your ability to have more time and space in your life:
- Notice your relationship to time, your schedule and your commitments. How do you relate to time? How do you feel about your schedule? Do you feel victimized by your commitments at home, at work and in general? The more honest you can be with yourself about your feelings, the more you're able to alter them (if that's something you would like to do). You may have an odd or disempowered relationship to time. Just listen to some of the weird things people say—"Time flies." "I never have enough time to do what I want to do." "Where did the time go?" These and other statements, thoughts and beliefs put you in the role of victim as it relates to time and your commitments.
- Start saying "no" to things. This one can be tough. As life coach and author Cheryl Richardson says, "If it's not an absolute 'yes,' then it's a 'no.'" You often need some support or feedback from others when it comes to this one. But being able to say "no" to requests and invitations you get is an important aspect of giving yourself more time and space. And, looking at the many things you have on your plate right now and being able to take off some responsibilities (by disengaging from them), is also essential. This is not about being flaky or irresponsible; it's about being authentic about what you're willing and able to do, and what you're not. Many times, your "disease to please" causes you to say "yes" to things you really need to say "no" to.
- Give yourself more time than you think you need. Packing your days, weeks, schedules and to-do lists with too many things sets you up to fail. In many cases, you don't even realize how long it will take for you to complete simple tasks or activities. As I continue to learn, trying to do too many things in a short amount of time has a negative impact on the task itself, on anyone else involved in it with me and on my own sense of well-being and peace in the process. What if you gave yourself more than enough time to complete projects, get places and take care of things? Imagine what it would feel like for you and those around you. Imagine how much more creative, passionate, excited and effective you could be in the process.
Mike Robbins is a best-selling author, sought-after motivational keynote speaker and personal growth expert who works with people and groups of all kinds. Robbins is the author of the best-selling books Focus on the Good Stuff and Be Yourself: Everyone Else Is Already Taken. He and his work have been featured on ABC News and in Forbes, Ladies Home Journal, Self and many other publications.
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