Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Creating Time Abundance

Is it possible to create time abundance? To cultivate an attitude of experiencing time as slow, as a friend, as there being more than enough to accomplish everything that the day should hold?

I think that it is, and this is what I'm doing.

It started a few weeks ago with a strong desire to find a way to prune my schedule so that I would have time for writing. I am working on a book that I've promised myself I'll deliver the next time I visit Maui. My co-author, guide, and Hawaiian cultural treasure is Akoni Akana. He is currently in a hospice in Honolulu, and I would like to finish this while he is still alive. Since he is so ill I will need to do this without him.

The second challenge with this book is that I did all of the research for it a last year. I put all of my materials in a very safe place for perpetuity and they will remain there because I haven't been able to locate them. So I'm writing the book without my prior work, essentially starting over, plus without Akoni.

With all of these obstacles I've procrastinated, but I promised Akoni and many dearly loved friends from Maui that I would do it, plus it is the dearest thing to my I needed to create a way to have it happen. Instead of just wanting and wishing and hoping that it would happen. Without direct action from me, it would not happen as I do not have "extra time" for writing.

So, I began taking some action, like refusing or canceling all social obligations I didn't need to attend. I also began to clean up my diet and lifestyle so that I'd have more energy. Then I found Christine Hohlbaum's wonderful book "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World". It's a new book that just came out, and unlike many of the books I've read on the subject, it goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow. If you want to find out more about the book you can visit Christine's blog, The Power of Slow, and follow her on Twitter.

I began to read The Power of Slow with my journal next to me, keeping a list of everything that struck me that I'd need to do differently or think differently. Then I took that journal, along with my lists, and combined them. My lists were: my To Do list, my list of values (I read this list every day to set my intention for the day in my quiet time), my list of my spiritual beliefs and my list of writing goals.

I know that's a lot of lists--too many. I made one big fat compilation out of all of these lists and my journal notes, using the old-fashioned cut-and-paste method.

Then I entered it into my computer so that I could constantly tweak it, as what I'm learning is on-going, so the document would have to be dynamic. And through these weeks I'll continued to implement the changes I've learned. I read the ONE list every day to remind myself of the changes until they become natural.

The new list includes things like limiting the number of television shows I keep up with. I have a list of programs I'm willing to give up my time for, and that's it. I hold myself to it. And I have a defined schedule, so that when people ask me for a time commitment, I check it and can say, "I can't do that, I'm working, but I'll be available after 4 p.m." For the last few weeks I've been saying, "No" constantly (but kindly). I've improved communication between LoveHubbie and myself and found ways to limit my exposure to his drama (which he likes and which supports his lifestyle but not mine) during my writing day. Theses are pretty straightforward, but they're big for me. I'll be writing about some of these thing and other changes and what I'm learning in future posts.

I am learning to view time as my friend and as an opportunity. It is not an overstatement to say that this has changed my life and is changing my life. More later!


kate i said...

Such a good idea and kudo's to you for following through with it! I know that for myself, the more I hurry, the slower I go, so I really believe there's much truth to this philosophy. Recently I've been conciously deep breathing whenever I feel like I don't have time do what I want or even what needs to be done and interestingly, time seems to alter and expand as a result.

Interesting stuff!

Kate said...


This is fascinating. I like how you are taking charge and making the writing most important. Everything I have read about finishing a book says you need to give some things up and you are doing that I am sure the book will be finished soon. I know you can do it. GO Olivia!!!!!


Nicci said...

Good for you. This is very inspiring!

Kim Mailhot said...

Wonderful stuff, Olivia ! I love the idea of combining it all into one list that reflects your beliefs and values as well as that sometimes dreaded to-do list. Soemtimes I think it has so much to do with our perceptions too - if we can convince ourselves that we have all the time we need, then we will. Your tricks to get there sound really good...
Be well, Brave One !

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking time out to keep us posted on the play-by-play. It IS fascinating, and we are all rooting for you.