Never before in history have we humans enjoyed such powerful time-saving devices—from dishwashers and self-cleaning ovens to power tools and microchips. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be saving us much time. We actually seem to have less time than ever—and we're getting more and more stressed about it!
If you really wanted to have more time, you would have to move to a pre-industrial culture, where there were no time-saving devices at all. Sure, your days would be full—you'd be washing clothes in the river and hunting or gathering your food—but I bet you wouldn't feel half as busy as you do now.
Perhaps this is because when we do manual labor (e.g., building a house or chopping vegetables), our minds get a break, a chance to unwind. If the work requires concentration, this forces us to clear our minds of other thoughts. At the very least, we get some time to review whatever happened to us earlier in the day...and let it go.
Nowadays, as soon as we "save" time with time-saving devices, we tend to fill that time with activities that stimulate our minds or excite us even more—we surf the net, check our phones, do even more work, play a computer game or turn on the TV. So our minds don't get any space, and ultimately we feel like we don't have time. In other words, our stress about time may be due in part to not getting enough peace of mind.
Fortunately, there is something you can do about this. It's called a Bonus Minute. A Bonus Minute is simply a Portable Minute
you can do whenever you realize you have just saved some time. It's like a mental health day, only quicker. For example, you can do a Bonus Minute when you realize email takes less time than writing a letter, that searching Google takes less time than going to the library, that flying in a plane takes less time than driving or that microwaving takes less time than roasting. If you think about it this way, you could be very busy doing Bonus Minutes.
At the very least, do a Bonus Minute when something takes less time than you expected. This does (occasionally) happen. Maybe traffic is a dream, you quickly reach a helpful person in tech support, your children finish their homework all on their own or there are actually enough checkout lines open in the supermarket.
Today, notice each time you have saved time. Then try to do a Bonus Minute immediately. With the Bonus Minute, you are not just saving time—you are investing it. You are investing it in your own well-being. Martin Boroson is a playful, practical new voice in the next wave of meditation teachers. Author of
One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go, he lectures on the benefits of a meditative mind for decision-making and leadership. Marty studied philosophy at Yale, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a formal student of Zen. Visit his website for One-Moment Meditation® help and resources, tweet him at @takeamoment or find him on Facebook.
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Did you notice the moments you saved time today? Did you try a Bonus Minute? Let us know—leave your comments and questions below!