We live in an accelerated society where we feel that the world around us is spinning faster and faster. How does the feeling of being constantly rushed or being caught in the hamster wheel come about? Is everyone in a hamster wheel, or are we all in a giant hamster wheel?
Why do we hear sentences like "Time is short, I have to do this quickly(er). I have the feeling of losing time/wasting time" only from adults, but not from children? Michael Ende answers this question in his children's book "Momo" as follows:
"No one seemed to notice that by saving time, he was actually becoming poorer, more and more uniform, and colder and colder. But time is life. And life resides in the heart. And the more people saved on it, the less they had."
Michael Ende, Momo
In 1973, the book was written. To realize that the story was written 44 years ago left me speechless for a moment! 44 years ago. There was no cell phone yet, and it would be another 25 years before Google was born. And yet, the truth behind the story of Momo couldn't be more relevant than it is today.
Our society today is driven by efficiency thinking and is goal oriented. Slowness and idleness are terms that stand for laziness and unproductivity. There are hardly any moments of inner pausing anymore. Psychologist Prof. Dr. Stefan Schmidt explains in an interview that leisure leads to inner peace - our mind needs this peace to tidy up, be creative and balanced. Leisure is not automatically free time. Leisure exists as the antithesis of work. I only have free time if I have worked before.
But we are talking here about leisure, about fulfilled activity without time pressure. First of all, it is important to understand how hurry is a hindrance. Hurrying produces neither leisure nor free time, but only stress. Hurry up triggers unrest and this restlessness causes us to restlessly click through the internet or zap on the television.
"Our mind constantly rushes ahead of our actions. When we sit, we are already up. When we stand, we have already started walking. When we walk, we have already arrived."
Prof. Dr. Stefan Schmidt
This post is not meant to be a raised finger, nor is it meant to portray today's life as an evil, dangerous world. It is meant to lovingly remind you that life is not about giving life more time, but giving time more life. This article is meant to encourage you to take it down a notch and enjoy your time - your life.
"We speed up life, afraid we might miss it. And by speeding it up, we miss it."
1. observe yourself and your time eaters
Did you know that humans live an average of 29,000 days? Let it melt on your tongue for a moment: Twenty-nine thousand.
How do you spend your 29,000 days? How do you spend your lifetime?
Did you also know that, on average, people per year...
… 40 Days spent surfing on a cell phone.
… 50 Days of writing emails.
…120 Sitting in meetings for days.
… 1 Day have sex.
(Source: Anitra Eggler)
Pause again here. 40 days per year on the mobile phone - and only 1 day per year Sex? What is really important to you in your life and how do you want to use your time in life? How can you give more life to your time?
Observe yourself over the next few days and honestly answer the question:
- What do you focus your attention on in everyday life?
- What do you use your time for? Do you scroll from one Instagram profile to the next?
- Do you click from one Netflix series to another?
- Imagine you had two hours more time per day: What would you rather use this time for?
- Are there habits and routines that you can eliminate from your life?
- Which routines and habits are time eaters and therefore life eaters?
2. train your mindfulness
We quickly get distracted and jump from one thought to the next thing: When reading a book, we interrupt the reading to briefly look at the mobile phone again. When writing an email, we stop to talk to a colleague about the supervisor, etc. Many people don't realize that they are not thinking their Everyday life in autopilot mode spend.
Leisure cannot be switched on, but we can learn to open ourselves to it - through Mindfulness. By focusing on the now and embracing it - without wanting to get anything done or accomplished. Just be. Everything that happens is okay. Mindfulness is your superpower against hamster wheels and ever faster ticking clocks. It empowers you to, to take over and steer the wheel of life again yourself. Each of us can learn this superpower. Through training.
Attention training is like learning the piano or muscle training. With enough repetition and practice we can increase our attention span, sharpen our focus, gain clarity and increase our energy level or productivity. Attention helps you observe and break through your thought streams and behavior patterns. Attention makes awake and creates time.
You train mindfulness by directing your attention to your Breath. This creates space between your thoughts. Silence, in which you can observe which thoughts and which behavior patterns rise from the subconscious. Then we also notice quieter, subtle thoughts that we normally run past frantically. We get into a meditative state full of clarity and calm - in the here and now.
You can train your attention very simply in the hectic everyday life - all the same whether in the bus, in the car, on toilet or in the office: Steer your Focus on one thing. This can be your breathing, your body, sounds from your environment. Stay with your mindfulness in full awareness of this one thing - without judging or analyzing. Just notice it. If you are distracted by thoughts, accept that lovingly and patiently bring your attention back.
You can also use the mobile phone to To train attention. Every time your mobile phone rings or you receive a message, use this as a reminder for your mindfulness - similar to a gong during meditation. Slowly reach for the phone, feel the phone in your hand, the weight, the material, observe your thoughts. You can do this exercise in just 1 minute and repeat it several times a day.
This may seem trivial now, but it is much more powerful than meditating for 30 or 60 minutes. Imagine you have a piece of paper in front of you and you have to draw a straight line on it: Which do you think is easier? Drawing this line in one go or putting dots next to each other and drawing the line dot by dot? Correct, the latter. And it's the same when you practice at several points in your everyday life, point by point, line by line, step by step.
3. slow down and take conscious (offline) breaks
I asked a snail why it was so slow.
She replied that it would give her more time to see the world...
Julia Cameron refers to words, information, and images as tiny tranquilizers in her book, The Way of the Artist.
"As a matter of course, we swallow our daily dose of news that weighs down our bodies like fatty food. Too much of it, and we feel as if all our pores are clogged. It's paradoxical, but by banishing distraction from our lives, we fill our creative energy pool. When we eliminate distractions, then we may return to the world of the senses.“
Eckhart Tolle also emphasizes the importance of silence:
"Sitting together with each other, and being silent, feeling truly connected. This feeling of Being there with all your senseswe have unlearned. Most interpersonal relationships are limited to the exchange of words, to the realm of thought. What we lack, however, is silence. This is especially true for close connections - starting with ourselves. We need encounters beyond the mental noise."
Prioritize yourself and your needs
Consciously schedule breaks into your daily routine, just as you schedule appointments or make appointments. Put your breaks in your calendar before you schedule other appointments. Take time for silence and slowness to consciously digest your daily routine and give your body time to regenerate. Because remember:
Time is life! You cannot save time, you cannot save life, no matter how much you hurry. You can only fill your time with more life.
So ask yourself: How do you want to live your time?
This article is a guest contribution from Katharina Thürer
I am not either or, but both. I have two hearts: marketing, analytical thinking and innovation on the one hand and spirituality, rituals, profundity, yoga and creativity on the other. As a Soulful Life & Business Coach I combine wisdom from the eastern world with scientific knowledge from the western world and support you in integrating these holistically in your everyday life and profession - self-determined and free.