How Mindfulness Has Changed The Way I Think About Time

It seems like every month that goes by I am left thinking, “Where did the time go??” I look back and sometimes struggle to remember my daily interactions and accomplishments. Instead I am left with this blur of time in my life’s rear view mirror. I have written a lot about mindfulness on Citrus & Sun, but a simple yet profound takeaway from a book that I recently read has changed my entire practice of mindfulness in my daily life.

Adding small doses of mindfulness into your daily life will help bring you back to the present moment and give you back more time in your day!Photo by Studio Eiler @studioeiler

“Mindfulness frees us of forgetfulness and dispersion and makes it possible for us to live fully each minute of life.  Mindfulness enables us to live.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

This quote is taken from The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, a book that I recently read as a part of my yoga teacher training program. This statement above is so powerful and only confirms just how important mindfulness is to our daily existence.  Without mindfulness, we are simply floating through life trying to reach the next destination, the next Friday night, the next accomplished goal, and the next sunny day. Time moves fast and we are left wondering where it has gone and how we have let it pass by so quickly.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Even with the help of writing this blog and constantly trying to live my life finding zest and light in all of those small moments, one connector was missing: simple daily mindfulness.

Adding small doses of mindfulness into your daily life will help bring you back to the present moment and give you back more time in your day!

Rethinking the Concept of Time.

In The Miracle Of Mindfulness, the author speaks of an individual who discovers how to have more time in his day by changing the way he actually views his time. This individual spoke about how in the past he had divided his time into several parts: helping his children with schoolwork, time spent on household work, etc. Any time left over he considered his own. If we all viewed time this way, that time that’s actually our own would probably be a tiny fraction.

He then goes on to explain how a simple shift in mindset and incorporating mindfulness actually gave him more time in his day. Now instead of viewing each part of his day as separate time slots for different things, he views every single thing he does as his OWN time:

“I consider my time with Joey and Sue as my own. When I help Joey with his homework, I try to find ways of seeing his time as my own. I go through his lessons with him, sharing his presence and finding ways to be interested in what we do during that time. The time for him becomes my own time. The same with Sue. The remarkable thing is that now I have unlimited time for myself!” (Miracle of Mindfulness, pg. 2)

This shift in perspective completely blew my mind!

So often we compartmentalize our time into different boxes. We have our time at work which, for many of us, is most of the hours in our day. If we have kids we spend time driving them to practices or school. We spend time cleaning and cooking meals. Some of us might be in a season where we are caring for a loved one. Some of us are in school or sports. We might find ourselves saying that we “have no time,” or we look at that small fraction of time before we go to bed as the only time that is our own.

I have found myself discouraged with this perspective and have moments when I hear those phrases creep into my head: “Time is moving so fast,” or “I wish I had more time for myself.” After considering this new “mindful perspective” of time, I realized that I am spending my time exactly how I should be in this season of my life, however I am not always being fully present and owning it as MY time.

5 Places In Your Day To Use Mindfulness

Through my yoga teacher training program I was challenged to participate in one full day of mindfulness. I attempted and I failed. HARD. While I was unable to practice mindfulness for the entire day, I continued to find small parts of my day to take back as my own time.

If we can start by adding small moments of mindfulness into our day and looking at that time as our own, this practice will become more natural and will begin to overflow into other moments. Below are five places in my day where I have tried to incorporate more mindfulness along with some helpful tips I’ve learned throughout my practice.

1. My Morning Routine

  • Pass on the temporary bliss of the snooze button. Instead, engage in a BIG morning stretch and take up as much space as your body will let you.  Acknowledge the fact that you are tired and then ground your feet on the floor one at a time. You’ve got this.
  • Breathe through your morning routines. Make your coffee, brush your hair, put on your makeup and just BREATHE. When you begin thinking about that email that you need to send out or are tempted to start scrolling through social media as you are brushing your teeth (guilty), go back to your breath. These routines are actually moments of self-care that we should fully enjoy and acknowledge.
  • Set an intention for your day. This could be one word or a simple phrase that you want to carry around with you throughout the rest of the day. I wrote a blog post on setting a morning intention here.

2. My Lunch Break

  • When eating, just eat. Put the computer and phone away, even if only for 5-10 minutes and just eat. Typing that email will be a lot easier later when you can give it your full attention and have fully enjoyed a meal.
  • Listen to your body when it is hungry or thirsty. I am so guilty of powering through hunger and not stopping to provide my body with the energy or hydration it needs to function properly. Be mindful when your body is telling you to stop and refuel, even if that just means taking a sip of water.
  • Express gratitude to yourself for putting your meal together. If you had your lunch delivered, take a moment to quietly thank the restaurant or team of people who prepared and delivered the food you are eating. Moments of gratitude are some of the best ways to experience mindfulness in our day.

3. Throughout The Work Day

  • Try to do one task at a time and really focus. We live in a day where multitasking is almost essential in order to meet deadlines and feel accomplished in our workday. This is when quality suffers not just with tasks but with communication as well. Doing one thing at a time and having our mind fully present can give the tasks that we do and the conversations that we have more quality and depth that is more meaningful in the long run.
  • Take a breath before you speak. This is actually a routine that I have been practicing for a while now. I’m able to express exactly what I want to say in the way I want to come across in conversation. Just that slight pause and inhale can help you collect your thoughts and shift your attitude.
  • Simply remind yourself that your job is YOUR time. How you engage with tasks, the way you treat others, and your attitude are all reflections of how you are spending a big chunk of your day.

4. Walking

  • Relax your body as your walk. When we are walking we are usually on the move to somewhere and want to get there fast. Notice any tension in your shoulders, neck, head, or jaw and release. Enjoy the journey!
  • Breathe. Your body is in motion so it’s important to pay attention to that breath! Create a breathing pattern for yourself with your steps and try to follow this as your feet are traveling.
  • Look up and take in the world. Literally say in your head what your eyes are seeing, what your ears are hearing, and what your nose is smelling. Acknowledge the fact that you are warm or cold, or maybe just the perfect temperature. Most of all, look up! You will find that you will remember your walk more vividly when you look back on your day.

5. Nightly Meditation

If there is ONE thing that you can do in your day I would suggest pure meditation. Reserve a 5-10 minute chunk out of your evening to be with your breath and your self. It is one of the most cleansing things that you can do for your mind.  Find a comfortable seat, relax your body, and pay attention to every inhale and exhale. I use the Daily Calm’s 10 minute guided meditation through the Calm App to help me work meditation into my daily routine. I find my mind to be more settled when it is finally time for sleep.

Your Time Is Now

If there is anything that you take away from this blog post let it be this: Every moment of your day is YOUR time. Be engaged in your life. Be present and purposeful in your actions, your words, and your thoughts at all times throughout your day.  You will find that you actually have more time in your day for yourself than you think you do!

Wishing you zest & light,
Stephanie =)

*I highly recommend investing in the book The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh! This book has changed my life in so many simple yet profound ways. It will inspire you to find new ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily life and will even help you discover ways you are already doing both!

I am open to discussing more about my experience with this book and my journey so far with mindfulness and meditation. Comment your thoughts below or email me directly at Stephanie@citrusandsun.com so that we can connect! =)

24 thoughts on “How Mindfulness Has Changed The Way I Think About Time

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie! Trust me, I also need daily reminders!! I appreciate your feedback =) Thanks for stopping by Citrus & Sun!

    1. The book is definitely amazing!! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post! I’m glad you enjoyed and found it helpful =)

    1. I’m so happy that you found it inspiring, Taranjit! Thank you for reading! Cheers to more mindfulness in our lives!

  1. This is so wonderful, trying to slow down and be in the moment can be so hard when your a mom and wear many hats. Love your tips and hope to incorporate them in my day❤️

    1. Thank you for reading, Jessica! I can’t even imagine how busy your days must be, and I know that you are rocking it as a mom. Stay mindful and grounded! You’ve got this! Thank you for stopping by Citrus & Sun and for sharing your personal connection with me!

    2. Thank you for sharing these great tips and I learnt so much reading and I will
      Always remember that every time of my day is mine . I love meditation so much .

  2. I would really love to read that book! I personally noticed a huge shift in my life once I became more mindful! But somewhere I’d like to improve is during meal time. Especially when I eat alone, I’m always on my phone or watching something on my computer…definitely a habit I’d like to kick! Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    -madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

    1. Thank you for reading, Madi! It truly is amazing how just a simple shift in our mindset can make such a significant difference in how we go about our day. My meal time has been a place in my day I have REALLY tried to focus on this past month. It’s tough because multitasking is such a big part of our lives. It’s a habit that I am going to keep working on, too!

  3. Steph,
    So love this blog! I have said so many times…”Where did the time go?”
    Just sitting here, coffee in hand, and reflecting on your thoughts has already prompted me to change my thinking.
    Two things you mentioned I do…walking and nightly devotional before going to bed.
    Book sounds very interesting!

    “Keep on keeping on”
    Judy

    1. Thank you for sharing, Judy! Walking is such a beautiful time to clear our minds and notice what’s going on around us. I’m so happy that you are able to make that a part of your daily practice! I am looking forward to warmer weather so we can get out there and walk more often!! Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your personal connections!

  4. This is such great information! I am making a list of things I need to incorporate into my life day to day. Thanks for sharing!

  5. wow i loved reading this post, i’ve been told to give meditation a try many times. Although I try it doesn’t look that easy for me, an overthinker! haha

    xx
    malibluemymind

    1. I completely know what you mean about being an over-thinker! Meditation was SO difficult for me when I first started. It still is if I am not being guided. Maybe start with the walking meditation and see if you can pay attention to your breath with each step you take. This practice might make it a little more natural and easier when you are in a seated position and meditating! It definitely takes practice and I am right there with you in this! Thanks so much for reading!!

  6. I also struggle with the concept of time (and not having enough time in a day etc). I think I should read this book as it might help me! It seems very interesting 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    1. It’s so tricky, isn’t it?? Especially in different seasons of our lives. This book truly did help ease some of my anxieties about time and is helping me enjoy it more no matter how I am spending it! It’s definitely worth checking out =) Thank you for visiting Citrus & Sun!

  7. The way you broke down different parts of your day and stressed on living in the moment, it helps me realize all the improvements I can make to make my life better. Thank you so much!

  8. I will have to read this book – The Miracle Of Mindfulness. I am so glad I found your blog because I have a goal to read at least 2 books each month and I think I just found my next one. Mindfulness is life-changing but also not an easy thing to achieve. Thank you for sharing your tips and routines. xo Stay Positive

  9. Mindfulness is amazingly simple. We have problems practicing it because modern life is so hectic that we can’t slow down to be mindful. I love the tips you gave to practice mindfulness.

  10. Stephanie!!! Yet another incredible post! I absolutely loved this post and will definitely try and take some more time to just embrace the present! I love the 5-10 min in the evening to meditate and the part about stretching in the morning verses hitting the snooze button! So good! I’m so proud of you for working so hard in your training and I will have to read this book! Sounds great!

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