Do you going over your calendar in your head incessantly? Do you find yourself anticipating events hours, days, or weeks in the future? Do you like to make deals with yourself about treating yourself with food, purchases, or TV based on what your schedule is in the future?
Hi, I’m Samantha Attard, and I’m a time addict.
I’ve known for a long time that I have a preoccupation with time. When I was a kid, I was always dreaming about the future and being an adult. I had guilt about not being on time. As I became an adult with my own schedule to keep, I became militant about it. I was constantly moving blocks of time to make my calendar fit like the perfect game of tetris. Everything. Must. Fit. . . Everything.
Over the years, I’ve recognized that this preoccupation with time, fear of being late (or having a meeting go too long), and doing constant mental accounting of where my time is to make sure it’s taking care of myself and those around me….well…it’s exhausting.
This drive to account for everything and leave no time wasted – it’s a very Pitta attribute. Pittas thrive on rules, and can do mental math to make sure the universe fits their mental model. They (let’s be honest…we) push to be our best selves and to make the most of our days, even if that leads to anxiety, anger, or even burn out.
I led a Pitta mini-retreat back in January, and in leading my darling Pittas through an exercise on purpose and intention, realized that I am my best self when I feel I have time. It’s when I get scarce around time that I don’t show up as the best Sam that I want to be.
I implemented some habits straight away that have made a huge difference in how I deal with time (more on that later), but it was my conversation today with a client (who also has a time preoccupation) that helped me realize that these strategies I use to overcome my time preoccupation (or addiction…) might be helpful for you all as well.
Go with the Flow: a primer from a recovering time addict
There are a few different strategies I’ve used over the years to help me have a healthier relationship with time and be able to go with the flow a little more. Some may seem Here are some of my favoiretes:
Go With The Flow Strategy 1: Keep a complete calendar.
This first one feels counterintuitive, but it’s critical. Keep a complete calendar. Put all of your appointments in there. Put your daughter’s appointments in there. Keep friend meetings and professional work in there. You can even pencil in your yoga class and your meditation session! Put in the address, the phone number you need to call, who you’re meeting and why. Get the information out of your head and onto the page. This strategy is a foundational habit because time obsession happens when we think we’re going to forget. When we don’t trust ourselves to be where we need to be when we need to be there. but the most important thing is that things are out of your head and onto the page, so you don’t have to think about it.
Go With The Flow Strategy 2: Know before you go, and set alarms.
If I’m meeting with someone, I’ll ask myself before I go how much time I am able or want to be at that meeting. I’ll set an alarm for 5 minutes before I’d have to leave, and then, during the meeting I can be completely present and available, knowing that the alarm will go off when I have to leave.
Go With The Flow Strategy 3: Increase your buffers
A huge change for me has been to increase the buffers on my appointments. If I have to be somewhere at 5:00pm, I keep it in my calendar as if I’m there at 4:45pm. If I have a call starting at 3:00, I plan to stop work at 2:45 or 2:50. This strategy has been IMMENSELY helpful for not feeling rushed. Instead of dashing out the door, leaving a mess, cursing the late metro, and running down the street, I can put the dishes in the dishwasher, walk, keep reeding my book during the delay, and show up at ease. It’s been truly transformative. Side note: include these buffers AFTER your meetings too, because as we know…things go late!
Go With The Flow Strategy 4: Days on, days off
Because you have your amazing calendar (see strategy 1), that also means that you can have days to go off calendar. Vacations are great for this, or maybe it’s a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Practice some time independence on a day that you don’t have any meetings or appointments (personal or professional), and simple allow yourself to follow what would feel good in your body. The more regularly you do it, the more you’ll learn to trust yourself and your ability to use time in positive way, even if you’re not being tied to a calendar.
These 4 strategies have helped me achieve (more) time independence, though it is a work in progress. What is one that you can work into your daily routine? You can leave a comment below or send me a note on Instagram at @spirocollective.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,