Unleash Your Superpowers: How To Bend Time
At Mavericks Unlimited, our goal is to help you unlock and activate your potential through unleashing your superpowers in the world.
Everyone has their own unique superpowers that make them special, but there are certain superpowers that we all share...but we sometimes don't even know we have them. Throughout 2018, we are going to be helping you to unlock ALL of your superpowers, and we are starting with ‘TIME’.
I don't know about you, but when I was really young, the long languid summer holiday just seemed to drag on and on and on. It was great at first; no school, getting up when I wanted. But as the never-ending days went by, I got more and more bored and I just thought they would never end.
Hmmmm, not sure I’d feel the same way now…wouldn't it be nice to have that 6-week holiday every summer?
Anyway, my point is that when I was young, there seemed to be so much (maybe too much) time to kill. Now, as an adult, there seems to be far too little time. There is always something the requires my attention and there is not enough space to switch off.
Can you relate?
If you are like most people these days, time seems to be the most precious commodity you have...simply because you have so little of it.
Or is that really true? What if I told you that you can actually be a kickass time traveller who can bend time to your will? Don't believe me?
OK...let's take a look first at the dreaded 'time management'.
The Tyranny Of Time Management
Over the years, as I seemingly have less time, I have become fascinated (and sometimes obsessed) with productivity, time management etc. Every week there seems to be a new way of doing more s*%t in less or no time.
Bullet Journal. GTD. Productivity Planner are all tools I have tried and tested. I am perennially just waiting for THE planner that makes me so efficient that I actually start going backwards in time or having 29 hours a day...(or become a Timelord like Doctor Who)!
Then there are all the hundreds and thousands of time hacks. Plan and prep all your food at the weekend, then freeze it so that you waste no time during the week with meal prep. Consume all your podcasts and reading while you're exercising. Get up at 4.30am so that you can maximise your quiet productive time. In fact, why bother sleeping? You can do that when you're dead.
Every minute on the internet can seemingly bring you another new tool, but we have to look beyond these tools to make lasting change around our time.
The point I am trying to make is that there is NOTHING new in time management. You can't actually manage Time. Time is the great leveller. Everyone - regardless of gender, ethnicity, income level etc. - has the same 23 hours and 56 minutes each day.
What you can do is change your relationship with Time, and how you experience it.
Let me explain...
It's All In Your Head (And Body)
If you think about it, you experience time in many different ways. Let me highlight just three:
- BORED TIME - as I described above, this is when you seem to have too much time on your hands and not enough to do with it. Weirdly, this is actually a little bit stressful. We hate this state of affairs so much that we barely ever experience is these days. Ever noticed how as soon as you have a minute spare, you whip out your smartphone to check Instagram, watch Netflix or play a game?
- THE ZONE - this is where you are so engaged and enthralled with what you are up to, that you don't even think about time. Even though you might lose hours doing what you are doing, you are so involved that it is as if time doesn't exist.
- STRESS TIME - when you feel constantly harangued, the kids or your to-do lists are screaming at you (or your boss or partner are), a critical deadline is looming...there simply isn't enough time, is there? Aaarrgh! Your mind gets foggy and your heart starts to race and you feel panicked, which just makes you feel like you have even less time.
What do Bored Time and Stress Time have in common? STRESS. Research has shown that the brain tracks the passing hours, minutes and seconds through a process called 'interval timing'...but stress can throw this internal chronometer way off.
When you are stressed, you become even more focused on time and your relationship/perception of time changes. There is either way too much of it or way too little of it.
No Time Like The Present
In these stressful moments, the real issue is that your mind is elsewhere. When you are even just a little stressed, your mind is likely either wrapped up in the past, remembering times in the past when thing have gone awry, or imagining future scenarios where things are going wrong.
Yet the only place that you can actually take any action is in the present. You may have noticed that over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of focus on 'mindfulness'...well, that is just a another name for getting present and using your superpower of time-bending!
Slow Down To Speed Up
OK, so you can't actually bend time to your will, but you CAN bend your experience of time. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the way you do that is that you have to slow down in order to speed up!
In other words, kill the stress and get more present. Then you can consciously choose how to spend your time. Here are 4 ways to access your time-bending superpower:
- Mindful minutes throughout the day - 3-5 times during the day, take 1 minute to stop what you are doing, breathe, relax and notice how you are doing. This will break the stress and busy-ness cycle. You can use specialised apps such as the Breathe app on the Apple Watch, but the simplest way is to set an alarm to remind you to take a minute.
- Meditate - learning to meditate stretches time by taking your focus away from your internal clock. You don't have to sit cross-legged on top of a mountain to learn or gain the benefits of this skill in everyday life. Apps such as Headspace or Calm are a great introduction.
- Immerse yourself in 'timelessness' - have you ever noticed that if you go for a walk in nature, time slows down? Or when you go for a run? Or when you go to a bookshop? It is different for all of us, but there are things for all of us that are 'timeless'. Even immersing yourself in those things even for a short period of time, will reset your stress and your relationship with time.
- Embrace your natural tempo - each of us has a natural pace or tempo that we like to live life at (you can read more about this here). Equally, each of us has a different 'chronotype' i.e. different times of day when we are more or less energised or engaged (for example, being an early bird vs a night owl). The further you get away from your natural rhythms, the more stress you introduce and the more your sense of time goes wonky. So, as far as you can, try to arrange your life and your day around your natural rhythms.
If you’re reading these and thinking, yeah right…where am I gonna get the time to do that? Well then, honestly, you really need to try them. But, if it all feels unreachable at this moment, start by taking a minute to yourself to do just nothing at all. You’ll definitely feel a difference.
None of these are magic bullets. As with any superpower, the more you practice, the better you get at accessing the ability to bend time.
However, the more you can stretch and bend your experience of time, the more engaged you will feel with your life…and the more you will enjoy your time. That is a superpower that has to be worth developing.