Is your BlackBerry really helping you live a more efficient life? Author Karen Salmansohn explains why you need to spend less time finishing your to-do list and more time doing what matters to you most.
True story. Lately I have been finding myself cutting down on the massive amounts of coffee I love to drink, not for health reasons or to cut back on caffeine, but due to time management issues. These days, I often go from one conference call to another, then head from one meeting to another, and I barely have time to pee.
It seems every morning I wake up to face a list of 20 things to do, with time only to do 10, and somehow I always wind up squooshing in 30.
My life often reminds me of the society in Ray Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 451, where you must drive over 55 mph so you cannot see the world around you clearly. In this blurry, fast-paced world, porches have been banned, so you don't have a place to sit and feel what you may sit and feel. And books have been burned, so you cannot be inspired to think deeply.
Unfortunately, I barely have time to sit, feel and think deeply. I know, I know, I need to get better at time management, balance, relaxation and just plain old sitting—especially since I'm a best-selling author of books about happiness. Plus, to reveal an unknown factoid about myself: I'm also the person who invented the word "multitasking." Yup, that was me. (If only I'd thrown a little TM on my invention, I'd be a very rich woman today!)
Our world has truly sped up since "multitasking" hit the scene, along with supposed time-saving inventions like the Internet, cell phones and BlackBerrys, oh my! Highly ironic, huh? These time-saving devices have become our time-gobbling devices instead.
How to make the most of your time
In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, author Sogyal Rinpoche writes about the human tendency to be in denial about death, thereby not living our most fulfilling lives. He warns not to become "unconscious living corpses." Meaning? If you're not careful, you can sleepwalk through our time here on this planet, causing you to avoid feeling your deepest feelings and risk going after your truest desires by busying your days with total nonsense.
Rinpoche describes a Western tendency of "active laziness": the need to compulsively cram your life with a myriad of unimportant activities, leaving little time to confront what really matters. He jokingly renames the petty projects called "responsibilities" as "irresponsiblities."
What Rinpoche describes is reminiscent of what author Milan Kundera philosophized about in his book Slowness, a slender volume I ironically sped through in a night. Kundera explains how we live in a highly sped-up culture, and that our need for speed promotes forgetting. For example: If you want to forget something, you will pick up speed walking down the street. If you want to remember something, you'll slow down your steps.
With this in mind, Kundera warns how speeding up your life not only keeps you from remembering daily details like "Oops! Forgot to pick up more milk," but also keeps you forgetful about overall life values and how to live your most enjoyable, passion-filled life.
Meaning? The next time you find yourself racing quickly down the street, know that you're not only running to your next appointment, you are literally running from contact with your truest feelings, needs and insights.
I know right now there are some very smart inventors out there trying to create more fancy-shmancy devices to save you more time, like "time-saving" resources on the Internet and "time-saving" doohickeys for cell phones and BlackBerrys. But you don't need any more time-saving devices that quickly morph into schedule-clogging, mind-clogging and feeling-clogging devices. Instead we need more "time-savoring devices" which help us slow down, sit still and become more mindful of who we are and what we value for a fulfilling, happy life.
Get 5 tips to help you savor your time
Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help. Get more information on finding a loving, happier-ever-after relationship in her book Prince Harming Syndrome.
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Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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