Freeing up your time – Part 2

Freeing up your time – Part 2

Difficulty level – 3 (difficult)

Time commitment : (-45) minutes everyday

A few days back, I had spoken about freeing up your time. This is the second part of that exercise. 

The first thing we need to do is to be aware of how we spend our time. Without awareness, you cannot measure it. Without measuring, you cannot analyse it. And without analysis, you cannot amend it. 

So, as a pre-exercise routine, you would need to perform a few tasks:

  1. Commitment – The first step to achieve anything is firm commitment to the cause. This is an addiction – the only way to get rid of it, and get back control, is to commit to making a change. Link this commitment to a reward – a small treat once you achieve your milestones. 
  2. Measure – the number of times that you check your email on a normal workday. Every time you open your email app on your phone, or check your email on your laptop browser, make a tick in a notebook. Do this for one full day, from the time you wake up, till the time you sleep. 
  3. Note down your distractions – Keep a notepad next to your desk, and make a note of every distraction or interruption that pops up to tempt you to interrupt what you are working on. This can range from thoughts in your head, to unscheduled calls and notifications that make you look at your phone. Do this for one full workday.

So, what were your scores? I was at 45+ email opens (before I started the sādhanā), and over 70 distractions (I stopped writing after some time, there were so many of them). 

The first part of this exercise concentrated on our social media and phone usage. You noted the time you spent on this, and started corrective measures. This exercise focuses on work-related tasks, to address the main issue that we seem to have at work – NO TIME. 

Now that you have seen the extent of the problem, let’s get down to the solution.

Freeing up your time

The first thing we need to do is to be aware of how we spend our time. Without awareness, you cannot measure it. Without measuring, you cannot analyse it. And without analysis, you cannot amend it. 

So, as a pre-exercise routine, you would need to perform a few tasks:

  1. Commitment – The first step to achieve anything is firm commitment to the cause. This is an addiction – the only way to get rid of it, and get back control, is to commit to making a change. Link this commitment to a reward – a small treat once you achieve your milestones. 
  2. Set up a screen-time option on your phone. iOS (the iPhone) has this option in settings, and you can download the Digital Wellbeing app for Android devices. 

Measure this for a week, without making any changes to your screen usage. Then, go to the screen time feature and see your results. I have discussed the iPhone-related options here, but am sure that the Android equivalent would have the same categories. 

You will be shocked to see how much time you actually spend on your phone. Pay special attention to:

  1. Your average screen time per day – that is the time you spend looking at your phone. I’ve had people coming back with 6-7 hour screen times per day – thats nearly half your waking life spent looking at a phone, excluding the other devices (laptops, television, iPads) that you may have… 
  2. Your ‘Most Used’ apps – This shows which app you are addicted to the most. Chances are that Instagram and the browser will share the top spot. 
  3. Categories – All apps are grouped into categories. For instance – WhatsApp, Instagram, FB etc., come under Social Networking. Notes, Voice Memos, Hubspot (CRM), email, calendar apps come under Productivity, Books, Wikipedia and information sites come under Reading & Reference. Am sure that your Social Networking group would win hands down in these stats, since most people use their phones primarily for social apps. 
  4. Pickups – this is interesting. It shows how many times you picked up the phone. I’ve seen scores above 200…per day! Also pay attention to the ‘First Used after Pickup‘ stats. This is the app you picked the phone up for, mostly because you got a related notification. Can also be the app you check for updates frequently. 

Now that you have seen the extent of the problem, let’s get down to the solution.

Read more at:

Time isn’t money

Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
In six studies with more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money, and that choice was a fairly consistent trait both for daily interactions and major life events.
“It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritising time is associated with greater happiness,” said lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia.  The findings were published online in the journal “Social Psychological and Personality Science”.
time-money-see-sawThe researchers found an almost even split with more than half of the participants stating they prioritised their time more than money.  Older people also were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people.  “As people age, they often want to spend their time in more meaningful ways than just making money,” Whillans said.
The researchers conducted separate surveys with a nationality representative sample of Americans, students at the University of British Columbia, and adult visitors of a science museum in Vancouver.  Some of the studies used real-world examples, such as asking a participant whether he would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute.  A participant also could choose between a graduate program that would lead to a job with long hours and a higher starting salary or a program that would result in a job with a lower salary but fewer hours.  A participant’s gender or income didn’t affect whether they were more likely to value time or money, although the study didn’t include participants living at the poverty level who may have to prioritise money to survive.
If people want to focus on their time and less on money in their lives, they could take some actions to help shift their perspective, such as working slightly fewer hours, paying someone to do household chores.
While some options might be available only for people with disposable income, even small changes could make a big difference.  “Having more free time is likely more important for happiness, than having more money.  Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier,” Ashley said.
——— source : http://www.sciencedaily.com.

Time’s passage

Kaal chakra
TIME’S PASSAGE can be measured with clocks and calendars at the level of linearity, but another level, it has been understood as being cyclical.  In India, wisdom traditions, time or KAAL, and its nature is explained using the metaphor of a wheel ——- CHAKRA. 
Jain philosophy divides this wheel into equal parts, denoted by two serpents, facing one another.  The ASCENDANT part of this cycle of time is called UTSARPINI, while the DESCENDANT part is UTSARPINI.  As the wheel begins to turn, during UTSARPINI, it is believed that there is a proliferation of goodness and happiness, while it all goes downhill in the downward aspect of the wheel — AVASARPINI.  Any guesses on where we are placed RIGHT NOW according to this view ?
Anita-Singh-40in-x-48in-AcrThere is no concept of an absolute beginning of time, and therefore, of a definite end, in the KAALCHAKRA DOCTRINES of ancient India.  Time always was, is and will be.  One rotation of the CHAKRA would be followed by another.  Within a CHAKRA rotation, of course, there is a beginning, middle and end.  Creation, Destruction and Renewal are in-built in this view of time.  Every beginning has an end coded into it, and every end is followed by a beginning.  NOTHING IS STATIC.  Everything is dynamic, everything flows.  The Hindu view of the expansion of each cycle comprises its division into 4 yuga —- satya, treat, dwapar and kali.  There is a comparable concept of a general decline that sets in as each cycle progresses, perhaps to justify its coming to an end.
This view of time encompasses both ETERNALITY & CHANGE.  Time itself always is, though it never is IN STASIS.  It is always on the move, and we who are governed by it have no choice but to move along with it.  Its DYNAMIC PASSAGE is in evidence in our bodies and in the world around us.  When we detach from our being and concerns and sink into MEDITATIVE ABSORPTION, we can experience a point where time seems to expand or “COME TO A STANDSTILL”.  It is not, actually, standing still, but because the mind has stilled, so has the point of contact with time.  In this ‘stillness’, there is possibility of accessing the part of us THAT IS BEYOND TIME.  What has been called AKAAL — timeless, unbound, eternal.
——- Swati Chopra. 

One tick at a time

Alarm_Clocks_20101107a

Take life one tick at a time.

Live in the moment, and do not worry about the seconds and minutes to come.  It is rightly said, “ONE DAY AT A TIME”.  Make every step you take count.  Offer each step as a prayer.  When you awake in the morning, thank God for a new day.  Ask His blessings and ask Him to lead you, and help you on the way.  The very fact that you have seen a new morning should make you feel happy.  Use time well, do not waste it in petty regrets, lost opportunities and all the MAYBES.  Yesterday has gone by, the future is uncertain but the present is right in front of you to do what you will.  Say to yourself, “I expect to pass through this world but once.

Any good work, therefore, any kindness or any service I can render to any soul of man or animal, LET ME DO IT NOW.  Let me not neglect or defer it, for I SHALL NOT PASS THIS WAY AGAIN.”  Rise up in the morning, and embrace it with both hands.  Feel the many things you can do to make someone smile, allay someone’s fears.  Be kind, you can never go wrong with kindness.  I’ve read somewhere—–Be kind, be kind, everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden. The burden may be emotional, physical or financial.

In our selfishness, we often go through life as if going through the motions is all that matters, without a thought for others.  We are caught up with our own aches and pains, real or imaginary, and have no time for maybe our near and dear ones , our immediate family, friends who care for us.  We are always worried about what will happen to us in the future.  God, in His compassion has hidden our future from us.  If, only we knew, imagine the state we would be in.  But no amount of worrying and fretting over things to come is going to change even an iota of the same.  So, let us live in the TODAY, in the NOW.  Use all your energy to focus on TICKING ONE TICK AT A TIME.

Worry is like a rocking-chair.  It is always moving, but IT NEVER TAKES ONE ANYWHERE.

Ephemeral Beauty…

ephemeral beauty

EPHEMERAL = lasting for a markedly brief time.  It comes from the Greek word EPHEMEROS, which literally means LASTING ONLY ONE DAY.

Happiness is described as ephemeral, as one does not find it in a permanent state within the scope of human lives.  Some arts are ephemeral, like sand sculptures, ice sculptures, chalk drawings on footpaths.  Ephemeral animals like the brine shrimp and the mayfly are other examples.  The first rains bring with them the scent of the earth that has been parched.  The scent comes ——–and then it goes away.  Marguerite Theophil writes about the smell of the dry earth when it rains for the first time.  I believe the fragrance is called PETRICHOR, which comes from the Greek—–petra=stone and ichor= the fluid that flows in the veins of the Gods in Greek mythology.

She continues that during dry periods, an oil exuded by certain plants, is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks.  When the rain falls, this is released in the air, along with GEOSMIN, a metallic by-product of bacteria, producing that heady scent.  Marguerite, further states that another ephemeral sensory delight is the experience of walking through fields of bluebells in England.  The “bluebell season ” is very brief, and people wait for the season with bated breath.  Bluebells are associated with WONDERMENT and FOLKLORE.

Next comes HANAMI, the Traditional Japanese custom of making time to enjoy the SAKURA or CHERRY BLOSSOM.  The flowers are very fragile and even slight rain causes the petals to fall off.  The flowers are also short-lived.  These flowers are treasured for their beauty and for the metaphor of the ephemeral nature o life.  The concept MONO NO AWARE——-the pathos of things is a Japanese concept, and is used to describe IMPERMANENCE.  Life is ephemeral, therefore we should learn to appreciate its beauty.