Friday, September 3, 2010

Attitude toward TIME and BOREDOM

Almost everyone these days has issues with TIME. Most people say they don't have enough time. But, then, I hear people telling me that when they have Unstructured Time – they don't know what to do. Actually, they don't exactly Say that... they say, instead: “I'm Bored.” So, they tell me—as a result of being faced with this unstructured time -- they flop on the couch – they turn on the TV—and zone out... or, they eat – even though they are not hungry. They explain that they feel bored--unmotivated to do anything.

I am wanting to open a dialogue on TIME and people's experience with Time. Synchronistically, I recently came upon an article written in June 1990, interviewing Jeff Davidson, who wrote on Time Attitude—20 years ago! Let's see what has developed during this time of twenty years.

Many people multi-task. They think they're saving time. This one person I know repeatedly sends e-mails with errors of dates & information – then has to send follow-up e-mails offering the corrected information while apologizing for the mistakes – with the explanation of multi-tasking.
Perhaps we're sending ourselves messages that 'I don't have enough time' – so I have to undertake these different activities simultaneously—reinforcing the sense of feeling pressed. If I focus on one thing – and do it with my full attention – then, calmly move on to the next – I may even feel LESS rushed – because I am IN the Present Moment. In the Present Moment, there Is Enough Time.

I am struck, in my conversations with others, how so many people structure SO much of their time. Let me begin by distinguishing Planners v.s. Spontaneous types. Let me insert here that these two types are on a Continuum. Neither is 'more' or 'less' desirable... 'better' or 'worse'. Planners Like to have a Plan – they schedule time with their friends, their calendar is typically quite full of planned activities. These are BUSY people. They are 'on-the-go'.

Then there are the Spontaneous types – they tend to prefer 'waiting to see what presents itself' rather than planning ahead. This type equates planning with being 'pinned-down' – which feels uncomfortable to them. This type prefers the spontaneity of deciding from moment-to-moment what they would like to do – rather than planning a week or more in advance. Spontaneous types cannot book a vacation six months out because they don't know if their thoughts or feelings would change – or if something else would be more desirable at that time. Spontaneous types prefer to flow, spontaneously, from one desired activity – in the moment - to the next.

What I have been learning about Planner-types is that they don't seem to fare well with tuning in to themselves and what They Want in a given moment – when we scratch beneath the surface of things. Planner-types find themselves feeling “bored” when they've hit unscheduled, unstructured time. Anxiety may develop if they find themselves faced with unstructured time. Because they have difficulty knowing what they want – they find it difficult to connect, Intuitively, with their Desire of the moment – and to Flow with that desire. They may feel a low-grade anxiety, instead.

My speculation may be unpleasant to consider-- however; I suspect that our Attitude toward Time - as well as the role the Media plays affects many of us, unwittingly. The subliminal messages we receive - told what we want, what we need, what to buy, how to look & how to smell – and, having unstructured time – what do we fall back on??? 

And, if someone can explain this NEXT question to me: How is it that parents feel compelled to comply with coaches' demands that parents' children must attend 4-5 practice sessions a week – as late as 8 or 9 p.m. ?? I have been baffled by this one. We are teaching our children to become Compulsive Over-schedulers ! WOW!
Who'se got the power?

Some ideas for feeling less time-pressed and possibly more Present-in-the-Moment:

*Consider a brief Breathing & Counting exercise in the morning – maybe 10 breaths and visualize, at the end –  what items you wish to accomplish this day. Changing a habit – and reinforcing another way of Being.

*Consider having No TV as background noise – try soothing music 

*Get In Touch with Nature – Notice and Experience a sunrise, or a sunset. Take a walk outdoors in a natural setting near trees, a stream, by the beach and BREATHE in the ambiance. Notice when your mind is rushing into the Future – bring it back to the Present Moment. BREATHE 

*Take a short trip – nearby – to receive New Impressions. New Impressions are Incredibly rejuvenating. Changing up any routine can also bring about new impressions. 

*COMPLETE one task before moving on to a new one. 

*If, at your workplace, you got through some difficult situation- rather than let it spoil your whole day – Acknowledge to yourself: “Well, I got through that one!” giving yourself credit. 

*The mind Needs completions, partitions and transitions. Instead of racing through your day on auto-pilot – just take a moment and acknowledge to yourself what you've just 'finished' before moving on to the next activity. 

*Unclutter your surroundings—clear your counter tops, file your papers, give things away.Things crowding or laying around PULL your attention and will be draining, subtly. 

*Open your mail near a waste basket – throw it away if you don't need it.

Davidson stated twenty years ago: “We absolutely have to change our attitudes toward what is right and necessary to spend our time on. He goes on to say: I am afraid of what our society will be like if we become totally time-pressed. Already, family time is being forced to be low priority and you even hear kids who only see their parents at scheduled intervals. Too many important social causes are suffering because people can't find the time to volunteer. If we can't find the time for things that truly matter, we will wind up being less than human.

I invite and welcome your comments, experiences, conversations. If you value this topic, share the link with others.


  1. Finally, someone who understands that not everyone multi-tasks. Some of us get high on completing one task before starting three others.

  2. i'm so glad you shared this... this is just an example of a reason i wanted to create this venue... those of us whose experiences feel--to us--out of the mainstream - are able to find kindred spirits. Multi-tasking may be assumed as a valued skill - however, for some it appears to be a detriment.

  3. Ah, balance. Why is it so illusive? So difficult to attain and maintain? I was married to a very spontaneous guy. This forced me to take on the roll of planner. I resented it. I wanted to be the fun one. After we split, I made an effort to dust off my spontaneity and I liked it! Traveling is what really helped me to find a balance between the two. Before a trip, I do my research, list the things I'd like to do, and then once I arrive at my destination I let go of the attachment to my expectations and open the door to the unexpected. That seems to be where I feel most free and most balanced. I have a solid foundation and a long leash. This has developed into my pattern for daily life although I find expectations trying to creep in constantly. But I've realized that expectations are time/ego based and intention leaves so much more wiggle room and appreciation for the unexpected. This is a great topic and thanks for posting it as food for thought!

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  5. I am spontaneous and plan very little these days. Though I have lived life as a full time employee and it was necessary to plan my time away from the job in order to have accomplishments.
    "Time" what an interesting subject, I am constantly reminded that "time flies, but you are the pilot". In that respect I can only look at the now and hope at the end of the day, I took the path that gives me the most satisfaction.

  6. Thinking about how this connects to Stephen Hawking's recent explanation of how the universe exists outside of time as we know it and therefore doesn't have a beginning or ending in the way we understand these things. Hard for the human intelligence to understand.

    Lately I've been thinking that immortality is being able to shift easily from particle to wave and back again and not be stuck in either realm of reality. Thinking about such things keeps my mind from being trapped by time.

    Thanks for starting a conversation, Nancy. Hope my response isn't way too far out.


  7. your thoughts are welcome, miriam... perhaps what might mitigate the "far-out-ness" that you sense of your comment - if you care to personalize your idea and share an experience, or an observation... which enables others to better relate - or at least have a 'feel' for your experience... :)

  8. wanting to add, miriam... i appreciate your thought-provoking comments...

  9. Hi Nancy,

    Here's the deal - these ARE personal experiences for me, not just thought patterns. I actually feel the particle/wave thing in my body. I've had those kinds of sort of psychedelic experiences without drugs most of my life. The in and out of time is real for me as well. I know that's different from what most people experience, so I've learned to apologize for it, but it's not at all abstract or theoretical for me. M

  10. There is a sign in the movie "Gone With the Wind," that says "Do not squander time, for it is the stuff life is made of."

  11. our collective minds offer such wonderous experiences, insights :) this is the very wish and intention i held for this blog creation... a 'thoughtful community'. BTW, the one deleted, above, was a duplicate post.
    Share with your friends

  12. I started writing a book about time once. It is such an illusive thing that I believe most of us take for granted its whole meaning.

    Coming from the generation of believing women could and should be super Moms, I finally got sick at 40. Time was always more important to me than money, being a working woman.

    Today I am 50 and healthy. Over the past 10 years I have change probably 90% of my beliefs and values taught to me from family and society. And I continuously work on having no beliefs at all.

    Today I would define time as moments of a person's life.... literally.... moments

  13. Thank you, Hummingbird, for sharing your compelling experience! Several bits come immediately to mind as i read your post: i feel fairly certain that many "energy"/"illness" issues find their roots in 'over-doing'... trying to do too much... pushing too hard... and feeling inwardly 'not enough' or inadequate. I'm so grateful for your sharing.

    I also find that age 40 is absolutely a Turning-point year for most everyone!

    Best wishes to you... and the moments of your life.