5 Ways to Expand Time
The only we can create more time in the day is by cultivating presence.
Time is relative. Our relationship to time changes based on our awareness. Have you noticed that being on your phone for an hour can feel like five minutes? The same is true for meditation or any other activity where your mind is totally absorbed. So, we must ask ourselves: how do you want to spend your time? Do you want to spend it on creativity, personal growth, giving back, being in nature, pursuing your passions? The more intentional we are with our time, the more present we are.
As part of my online course Intention, I’m implementing very clear times in my day for my energy to be directed — times for work, practice, self-care, creativity, relationship, and of course, screen time. Like many of you, I rely heavily on my laptop for work, but I tend to get distracted more easily on my phone. For the purposes of this post, I will focus on screen time on the phone. While helpful in so many ways, I often feel like my cell phone is an unwanted appendage; it’s helpful about 60% of the time and the other 40% it’s a distraction. My biggest obstacle is social media, which I use to share my offerings both as an artist and teacher, and also for personal enjoyment! Here are five simple changes I’ve made to help minimize my time on my phone:
If you have an iPhone, use the “Screen Time” settings
Go to Settings > Screen Time to see how much time you actually spend on your phone (it’s likely horrifying). I find this function more accurate and streamlined than some of the apps out there that help monitor screen time. It shows exactly where you are spending time on your phone. You can set “downtime” and limits for your apps (I have my Social Networking apps set to 30 minutes/day). If you don’t have an iPhone, consider downloading an app like Moment or setting a timer when on Social Media. I know it might sound excessive, but it is an excellent way to get a sense of how much time is spent on these apps.
Leave your phone at home
This is one of my favorite things to do—it’s so freeing! I almost always leave my phone in the car or at home if I’m going hiking with friends, heading into a yoga class, or going on a dinner date. If my phone is on my body, it’s in airplane mode until I need to use it (bonus: reduce EMFs). The payoff is more presence and quality times with your loved ones, less time accidentally falling down internet rabbit holes.
Set designated times for being on the phone
Steps 1 and 2 should greatly reduce your screen time and will help you recognize that all the little moments of “checking in” add up. Imagine how much time you spend on the phone while standing in line, in the bathroom, in stand still traffic, eating alone, waiting for a friend, when you’re bored, lazy, or anxious. It’s nauseating just thinking about it! As a freelancer, I have an ideal plan for the flow of my work days, and currently my phone times are 10am (social media posts) and 1pm (e-mails).
carry your book (or sketchbook/journal)
I love reading, and with a busy schedule, it’s challenging to find times for reading for pleasure. Bringing a book around (or having it in the car), allows me to sneak in a few pages when I’d normally be on my phone. Optionally, bring your sketchbook or journal.
Contemplate your relationships
When you really examine your priorities in your relationships (and consequently, your life), you might find that your time online can be reduced simply to functionality (or in my case, a little pleasure too!). When I did this, it became clear that I really don’t love texting as a form of communication, so I will often call people instead. I also feel like my mind is more present in my relationships when I don’t see EVERY post through social media. I tend to remember birthdays, ask for personal stories of events (having not viewed the Insta stories version), and feel clearer about the relationships that really matter to me because I putting effort into connecting with them in real life.
If you’d like to bring more awareness and presence to your life and relationships, please join Intention Immersion — 27 days of cultivating intention through meditation, journaling, and relaxing.