The Blog

The Luxury Of Not Enough Time

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.

~ Jean De La Bruyere

For many of us, Thanksgiving isn’t over long enough to have finished the leftover turkey and trimmings before we find ourselves caught up in a new round of shopping, decorating and cooking for the Christmas holiday season. “Too much to do and not enough time to do it” is a familiar complaint at this time of the year.  But this cloud has a silver lining, according to author and creative writing teacher Randy Ingermanson (”the Snowflake guy”).  Here is what he wrote in a recent edition of his Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine:

When you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do in life:

·      You have a good reason to cut out the less-important stuff in your life without feeling one bit guilty.

·      Which forces you to think about what actually matters to you and what actually doesn’t.

·      And leads you to make a conscious decision about how much time you’ll spend on each of the things that actually matter, even though none of them will get “enough.”

·      But that means when you finally get a chance to start working on each thing that actually matters, you’ll be desperately eager to get rolling because you know you can’t waste a second because you’ve only got so many minutes today that you can do this thing that you care about so much.

·      And it ensures that when each time slot is up for the day, you’ll be thinking “I wish I had ten more minutes because I didn’t have all the time I wanted today,” instead of “I sure hated that last ten minutes because I had too much time on my hands today.”

·      Which means you’ll be ending every single time slot in your day “wanting more,” rather than ending it “wanting less,” which is probably the best way to stay excited day after day after day about the things that really matter most in your life.

·      And it also means that every day when you wake up, you’ll be gung ho to get rolling on all the cool and amazing things you can do today in the limited time you have to do them.

·      Which is not a bad way to live your life.

·      And that means that not having enough time is a luxury that makes your life better, not worse.

You don’t have enough time for everything you want to do in life.

I don’t have enough time for everything I want to do in life.

Aren’t we lucky?

More Or Less

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

~ Anaïs Nin

For millions of people, life in the digital age is healthier, wealthier and happier…and also much more complex. Ever-increasing complexity is the curse of our time.  Hardly anything we interact with on a daily basis is immune – consider the IRS Tax Code, healthcare, banking, the legal system and telecommunications services, to name just a few examples.  Complexity is an intellectual pollutant that muddles our thinking, decision-making and learning, negatively impacts our productivity and disrupts our peace of mind.

More people have turned to “downsizing” as a way to remove complexity and confusion from their lives. The popularity of “tiny house” living is a good example of the trend toward simplicity.  In general, this is a positive pursuit.  Where I personally believe it goes a bit off the rails is when it tries to invalidate a basic force of nature – the drive to grow. 

The fact is there is no such thing as the status quo in the animal, mineral or vegetable world.  It’s either grow or die, and what seems like absence of change is only a balanced state between increase and decline.  More may not necessarily be better, but the desire for more is in our DNA. To consciously resist this urge to grow is to go against nature. That's a war humans will never win, and ends only one way for anyone who fights it.

The desire to be, do or have more doesn’t have to make your life more complex.  It's actually healthy for mind, body and spirit, as long as your desires align with your core values. The critical question to ask yourself is, "Does this reflect what I truly want, for the good of myself and others, rather than what someone or something outside of myself says I should want?”  If the honest answer is “no”, it may be time to seriously re-evaluate and change course.  But if you can say an unqualified "yes", go for what you want - and don't be afraid to go really big!  Know what you value most, make this your priority, and you can (and almost certainly will) enjoy abundance and simplicity in your life.

Uncreativity As Opportunity

From the withered tree, a flower blooms.

~Zen proverb

This past weekend’s change back to Standard Time means that evening falls earlier, making the days seem even shorter. It hits many of us with an almost irresistible urge to slow down and “hibernate”, causing a slump in our creative output.

We’re told that creativity is essential to our success and happiness. Creativity is certainly a blessing, and we should nurture it as much as possible. But no one, not even the greatest artists and innovators, can be inspired all the time. Every one of us has experienced those challenging “uncreative” moments in life. Most of the time we just sit around waiting for the lull to pass, unable to concentrate on our work, and often end up feeling worthless or guilty over being unproductive. 

But there’s really no need to beat ourselves up about this.  Feeling uncreative is a perfectly natural process. Once you accept the fact, you can take advantage of the mental “down time” to step away from your routine, do something different and recharge.

Just like the electronic devices we use 24x7, our bodies, minds and souls need to be recharged once in a while. A short vacation is a very effective remedy for uncreativity. If that isn’t possible, spending time with family, catching up with friends or just curling up with a good book can do the trick.

Uncreative moments are also an opportunity to reflect on your life path. Do you feel uninspired and unmotivated simply because you’re exhausted and need a break, or might there there a deeper reason?   Too many people spend a good deal of time living someone else’s dream, thinking it’s what they were meant to do, but knowing inside that their true potential lies elsewhere.  If you find yourself in this position, it may be high time to change course and do what your heart truly desires.

Remember that in the end, your happiness is completely in your hands.  If you believe in yourself enough to dream boldly, you’ll find renewed energy to think creatively and achieve brilliant success in all your goals.

© Clear Simple SOULutions LLC 2019