How to Make Time for Mindfulness

“I’d love to meditate, practice mindfulness, journal, make a vision board, etc. but I have no time.”

That has to be one of the most common statements I hear with my clients and in consultations.

As much as I can relate, it just simply isn’t true for myself or for you.

We each have the same number of hours in the day (same as Beyonce ;-) and we each have a choice of how we spend those hours. We catch ourselves saying things like: I don’t have time to meditate -- but the more truthful version of that sentence is: I choose not to meditate. It works the same for a lot of things in your life. We say things like…

I want to exercise and eat healthy but truthfully, I choose not to exercise and eat healthy.

I want to save 10% of every paycheck but truthfully, I choose not to save 10% of every pay check.

I want to reduce stress and anxiety and improve my concentration and focus but truthfully, I choose not to invest my time in that.

Replacing “I want to” with “I choose to” is a really powerful way to quickly remind ourselves of the power of choice that we have in our lives and make some serious steps toward creating good habits.

I really want to challenge us all this week to take a good hard look at the positive changes that we want to make in our lives and start actively choosing to invest our time in things that will better us, lift us, and lighten us. Get really real with yourself.

How are you choosing to spend (or not spend) your time?

With all of that being said, I know that although we have the same number of hours in the day, we still only have 24 hours in a day. If we estimate that we sleep approximately 8hrs and work approximately 8hrs, that leaves us with 8 other hours for things like: getting ready, commuting, running errands, attempting a social life, dating, relaxing, TV, hobbies, and insert your daily activities here. That is a lot to do in a very small amount of time.

That’s why I wanted to close out our Mindful May series by bringing you some tips for implementing a mindfulness practice without adding one more thing to your “to do” list. I hope these tips will inspire you to start your practice today – it’s so easy.

1. Leave your cell phone behind.

Ahh… our cell phones. I love them but they have to be the biggest time suck and mindfulness block of all. It’s so easy to pick that thing up, unlock it, and mindlessly scroll through e-mail, apps, games, etc. and the worst is when you unlock it and you have no idea why you picked it up.

Pick a few of your already scheduled daily activities and leave your cell phone behind. For example: if you normally use your phone on your commute to work, try just sitting peacefully and focusing in on your breath. If you normally go for walks to get coffee with your co-workers mid-day, leave your phone behind and try being fully present to the conversation.

2. Download the app, Moment.

For most of you, this will be a frightening experience. It sure was for me but awareness is the key to every great change, my friends and when a friend told me to put this app on my phone, I was shocked to learn that in one day, I spent 7 total hours on my cell phone – and I was sure that was a light day.

Moment constantly runs in the background of your phone and it tracks how much time you spend on your phone, how many times you unlock your phone throughout the day, and you can even set a daily limit to how much time you want to spend on your phone and the app will alert you when you’re getting close.

So, download the app and enlighten yourself to just how much time you are spending on your cell-phone and then try to convince yourself that you don’t have time for a new habit.

3. Awareness & Breathing

In an earlier post, I noted that Dictionary.com defines mindfulness as a technique in which one focuses one's full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.

In your standard daily activities, bring awareness to your thoughts and use your breath to bring your back to the present moment when it escapes you.

Whether you’re reading, brushing your teeth, walking, watching tv, seeing a movie, catching up with an old friend, completing a task at work, sitting in on a meeting, leading a meeting, etc. notice when your mind has drifted or wandered and focus in on your breath – slow it down and bring yourself back into the present moment.

Also, realize that when you can notice that voice in your head drifting off and thinking about the past or the present, that you are not that voice. If you can identify it, then you are an observer. Once you become and observer of your thoughts, it becomes much much much easier to change them.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let me know how your mindfulness practice has started or grown over the last month and of course, anything else you’d like to add.

Thank you all for reading along with this month’s mindful series!