7 Ways to Master Time in the New Year

Time can either be your friend or your greatest enemy. It all depends on your orientation around it.

December 12, 2016
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Time is a scarce resource nowadays. There's precious little of it to go around and we're all feeling the crunch. Too many commitments at work, with family, friends, and traffic crowd out any chance to get to the gym or read a book. Most of us trade our time for money and it gets exhausting when both run low. 

More: Slow Down Time With These Modern Hacks

In fact, there's a link between time, money, and energy as all three run on a continuum. We trade our time and energy for money so where we spend it should nourish us back. We can buy time off to restore some energy or we can invest time and energy now, banking up money for later use. There's no right answer here but it does require a degree of consciousness to properly manage it. Time is tied to our life force and that's the most precious thing we have. 

Let's look at some ways to manage our time better in 2017. This'll open us up to having more daily energy and better control of our money as well.

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1. Stop saying “Yes” to everything

"No" is a powerful word that we don't use enough. Saying "yes" to something means you're effectively saying "no" to the things you've already committed to. Drinks with the guys? Sure! That means "no" to the gym, sleep, book you're only 18 pages into, and much more. Stop and consider what you'll be cutting time and energy away from by taking on something new. The ability to do this will yield tremendous results in your life. 

More: 8 Guidelines for Successful Goal Setting

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2. Book time for yourself

It's easy to say you're going to work out but there's never time on the calendar marked to do it. This year, block off specific chunks of time for YOU and keep to them. You vote with your time and allotting what you need for your health, sanity, and down time is critical. The walls will always seem like they're caving in. It is up to you to shoulder out some space on the schedule for yourself.

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3. Meditation is the answer

Although it may seem wasteful to commit 10 to 20 minutes to yet another thing today, millions of people can't be wrong about meditation. It makes you better. It'll help you stay focused, relaxed, and more efficient throughout the day. The added clarity that comes from investing some time into meditation pays off threefold in life. Start a practice and stick with it. You won't be an enlightened master after a week but with continued practice, you'll notice earth-shattering changes. Be patient with mediation much like you'd be with a vegetable garden. Plant seeds today and reap the harvest in the future.

More: A Heart-Centered Meditation for Loving Others

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4. Cut the TV

Sitting around being fed entertainment may seem relaxing but it is a time suck. Take it back! Pick a couple shows you can't do without and then reclaim your evenings. Stretch, do some yoga, make love, cook, or read a book. There's a piling list of self-care items that have been relegated to "wish list" items thanks to TV. Cut the crap and take back your life.

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5. Make mealtime relaxing

This year, slow down around meals. The body needs this to digest and absorb and the mind needs a little down time too. Pressing pause and getting out of super stress mode will help reset the day and get you more energy and clarity over the coming weeks. Give thanks for your meal, take a few breaths, notice the smells, textures, tastes, and the ambiance around you. Stopping time to make a ritual out of your meals is a powerful way to master time.

More: 8 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

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6. Take regular movement breaks

Take a five-minute break every 25 minutes to stretch, do a few lunges, pushups, squats, or whatever else your body needs. This'll help break up your day, move your blood, keep your metabolism revved up, and reset your brain. We can't focus on a task longer than 30 minutes without losing some clarity. This practice will help you honor your body, stay in shape, and be more focused when you're back on. 

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7. Make a plan in life

It's easy to waste time if you don't know where it should be going. Drifting aimlessly through life is common nowadays. Take some time and think about what your goals are. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Are you doing what it takes to get there? Well you aren't getting any younger! Get clear on where you'd like to be and then figure out what you need to do each year, month, and week of your life to get there. This'll help you focus on where your time and energy go. Without a plan, you may as well "see what's on TV" which is an abominable waste of life force.

More: 8 Guidelines for Successful Goal Setting

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Make the most of it

Time can either be your friend or your greatest enemy. It all depends on your orientation around it. People who master time see tremendous things happen for them in life. They have time to relax, be with family, get things done, and play freely. This is true freedom. If you want to have access it, start with these 7 practices and hold the line. 

It is your time. 

Value it. 

Guard it. 

Invest it. 

Most of all, enjoy it.

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Pedram Shojai, OMD is the NYT Best-selling author of The Urban Monk. His next book, The Art of Stopping Time releases this fall. For more information and access to free meditation tracks, check out www.theurbanmonk.com

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