Time. What a concept. It flies by when you’re having fun. It drags on when you’re anxiously waiting for something. It keeps us on a schedule and stresses us when we’re running behind schedule. There is never enough of it, it seems.
As someone who has never been a morning person, I’ve developed some time saving tips for my morning routine over the years. As a kid, I even tried wearing jeans to bed so I could save those 2 minutes getting dressed in the morning. I wouldn’t recommend that, it was not comfortable.
Some things that I can recommend:
Prepare your outfit the night before – or even the week before, if you’re feeling ambitious. Not having to worry about what to wear and sleepily trying to decide in the morning just takes one less thing off the to-do list.
Set up the coffee (if you drink coffee in the morning) the night before. I got a coffee maker with a timer this past year and it made such a difference.
Get lunch together the night before (sensing a theme?) – whether you pack up leftovers from dinner or throw together a sandwich, being able to grab and go is handy when you needed to leave 5 minutes ago.
Some people even “meal prep” and make a whole week’s worth of lunches in one go.
Planning ahead – sometimes taking a few minutes to make your to-do lists or having a general schedule for the day can help eliminate the “oh shoot!” moment when you realize you forgot something at a likely inconvenient time.
Alternatively, what if we could consider time as something not to be “saved” or “wasted”, but just… as time. If you’ve heard about mindfulness, it is possible you’ve also heard of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. When he talks about mindfulness, he explains that to fully be in each moment, to experience it and appreciate it for what it is, there is no wasting or saving time. He wrote one letter that has stuck with me for years, about washing dishes. Very few people want to wash dishes. It is just a chore that needs to be done so we can go and do whatever it is we’d rather be doing. However, for him, washing dishes is part of your time. In fact, if you wash dishes to just move on to the next thing, that is how you waste time. But to fully enjoy the experience of washing dishes – the warm water, perhaps the moment away from the hustle and bustle – that is time to be present and mindful.
While we can want to use our time more efficiently, or get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, sometimes shifting our mindset is how we can truly save time. If you are mindful, and fully present in the moment, you might notice that you enjoy your time more, and have more of it.
If you’re interested, this is the book that the washing dishes passage came from. It is not a long read, but I would recommend it if you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness!