Wouldn’t it be great if we could make time? How many times have you heard or thought, “I’ll just have to make the time.” Make time? How is that even possible?
Of course, the future is promised to no one, but we do make choices every day that have consequences and affect the amount of time we get in the long run. Even in the short run, our energy, mind power, and general mood are affected by the way we treat our body and mind. Similar to “takes money to make money,” it also “takes time to make time.” If you constantly take shortcuts to care for your body, mind, and soul — you are setting up for a short life instead of making time to facilitate a long life.
We’ve been taught our whole lives to take care of our bodies, then we’re sold all the reasons and easy ways not to. The fact is self-care is really the only way you can make time for all the other things (and people) you really care about: your family, your community, your business…
Move and Breathe
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” ~Edward Stanley
Maybe you think you can’t make the time to move 40, 20, even ten minutes a day. I struggle with this. I remind myself that every 30 minutes I put into giving my body and brain the healthy movement they need, the more hours I am making in the long run. In several ways really, regarding my aging health, regarding my brain health now, and regarding the energy I need to face each day.
Even if you don’t take the time to move, at least take the time to breathe. In my young adult years, I saw a doctor for an unusual pain in my chest. Turned out, my breathing habits mimicked constant “fight or flight” mode — shallow and fast or, get this, hardly at all. At 27 years old, I had to go a physical therapist to teach me how to breathe. I place notes on my computer monitor at work to remind me to “Breathe.”
Now technology helps me. When I type “breathing exercise” in Google Chrome, it brings up a one-minute breathing visual. One Minute is all it takes before I tackle another task, but now with oxygen! There are physical pain points that arise from “forgetting to breathe,” not to mention how important oxygen is to the brain.
Sleep and Eat
“Most important self-care is getting sufficient sleep. That often means not getting up as early as I need to in order to get ahead of today’s work, but I find I do better in the long run if I get to bed earlier, and/or sleep late enough for sufficient rest. Medical studies support positive effect on memory, mood and blood pressure.” — Brad Krantz, Tampa Print Services
Brad’s right. Forbes magazine shared the briefest of important science on sleep in “7 Ways Sleep Affects The Brain (And What Happens If It Doesn’t Get Enough)”, including studies on how memory, creativity, and general cognition are affected. And if you’re hoping to make a little more time for yourself in the future, this bullet point is important, “Toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease, are cleared during sleep.”
Listen to your body. Exactly how much sleep a person needs is quite personal and unique. However, clearing the time and space for quality sleep is crucial to your long-term health. It’s worth it.
Just as sleep recharges the brain, food fuels our bodies. We’re all bombarded with what is healthy eating (and the allure of not following it), so I’ll leave you with what you know.
Today’s key request is to be cognizant of what is fuel (fresh, “real” food), what is a drug (caffeine and carbs), and what is poison (diet sodas and most “fast food”). Try looking at your quick bites and meals in this way.
Are you making time with what you put into your system? Or instead, borrowing time from your future?
Relationships and Kindness
The Grant & Glueck study which spanned 75 years of research over two groups of men showed, in a nutshell, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
Today’s takeaway is, if you want to make time by extending your life, make time now to cultivate (and enjoy) trusting and long-term relationships. From the succinct and clear summary of the research in Inc Magazine, “According to George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who directed the study from 1972 to 2004, there are two foundational elements to this: ‘One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.’”
That’s worth repeating.
To live a healthy and fulfilling life, the two keys are love and “finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”
Hm. I think we’ll come back to that again, later.
Perhaps you’ve heard, “Don’t get so caught up in making a living, you forget to make a life.” For some of us, making a life is wrapped up in business and family, and how those relate to each other is different than…well, the rest of the world. That’s OK. The key is build with other humans, collaborate, and provide long-term support of each other.
Making Time is Personal
We’re constantly reminded, by me even in these articles, the earth spins around the sun and every day we get the same number of minutes as all other co-habitants.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
True in principle but not necessarily true in practice. Because while everyone gets the same amount of minutes on paper, each person also has unique physical, mental, cultural, community, and family circumstances. For example, the day you develop a migraine, hours are unexpectedly lost. If a person has a disability, like my son, he gets the same number of “minutes” and yet the additional challenges he faces mean finishing tasks takes longer. Maybe tomorrow the kids need…or today an emergency arises…or…or…or…
Accept that your personal circumstances and the choices you’ve made up to this point do affect the amount of time and energy that you can give to your work, your family, and your community each day. The vessel you live in, your body, is unique and you need to provide for it in the unique ways it needs. This takes time and is nothing to be ashamed of.
Making time is surely the hardest of all the time management techniques. It’s the most personal and also requires foresight, discipline, and faith. It’s the easiest to put off. I often have to remind myself, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”
The beautiful thing is most days, you can take new steps to be better to yourself and make the time for tomorrow. Although I’m much better at making good decisions for my body and mind now than I was, say, twenty years ago, it’s still the sticking point where I have the most room for improvement. Michelle Maynor, the multi-tasking warrior of Interior Graphics, who owns more than one business, has a family, and is a community leader, said it well:
“Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, and keep working on being the best you you can be.”