As a society, we’ve adopted this notion that there is so much to do in so little time. We try to do everything at once so that we can check off those imaginary boxes more quickly. I’d like to challenge this multitasking, time crunching mindset with one simple question: What if we dared to view life as long instead of short?
When you shift your perception of time, a world of possibilities become available to you. The pressure to do everything at once disappears, and you begin to feel genuinely present, better able to delve into what really matters and set your priorities. You gain the ability to live life on your terms, rather than letting a long list of extraneous “stuff” take up your time and energy.
Adopting the mindset that life is long helps you realize that the problem doesn’t lie in a lack of time—it lies in eating away at your time with a laundry list of unnecessary tasks. How many of the tasks that you’ve set out to do this week actually need doing? Instead of the typical to-do list, try making a not-to-do list and shift your mind towards de-prioritization. It can be quite difficult to whittle down your task list at first—after all, we live in the golden age of multitasking and efficiency, prizing ourselves on our ability to simply get things done; however, when you do, you begin to see just how much time you have!
Despite the hype, multitasking is not conducive to productivity—quite the opposite! Multitasking forces your mind to spread itself very thin, jumping from one task to the next too quickly to devote an appropriate amount of attention to each item. While de-prioritization is a great tool to help you break the multitasking habit, it shouldn’t be the only tool that you use. After creating your not-to-do list, be sure to give your full attention to each of the remaining tasks. Do not jump from one project to the next—that defeats the purpose of de-prioritization! Instead, learn how to singletask. Pick one item on your list and complete it in full before moving on to the next one. With practice, you’ll see greater returns on your efforts, increased free time, and a significantly greater ability to focus.
Discover the Pleasures of Boredom
Yes, you read that correctly—I’m telling you to relish in the dull moments! One of the pros of a “life is long” mindset is the discovery of extra time, and you shouldn’t fill it all up with new tasks. Take a moment to pause. Stop seeking constant stimulation and discover the wonders of a bored mind. When you allow yourself to do nothing, you actually end up in a more creative state, because your brain has a natural tendency towards stimulation. Let it be free to exist within itself, and you’ll be surprised at the wellspring of thought that comes out of it. Persevere through the dullness and take joy in allowing yourself to be present, thoughtless, and unoccupied. Realize that life is long, and you have time to dedicate to nothing at all!
Try putting these actions into practice this week. Soon enough, you will realize how deeply a shift in time perception can alter your life for the better!