Austrian author Ernst Ferstl once said something beautiful that often springs to mind when I speak to people in the middle of a transformation:
“Time we take for ourselves is time that gives us something in return.”
Often enough, you will come across people that seem rushed; whether that’s in projects or beyond. If you ask them about it, you’ll usually hear about “time pressure”. This term is not just omnipresent in projects. In these times we live in, everything seems to revolve around time and the fact that we have far too little of it. After all, we’ve all now learned that markets change quickly, and it’s really difficult to keep a clear overview in such an intensely connected and complex world. Information is available around the clock, and the possibilities seem endless. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook etc. suggest that others manage to lead perfect lives as they jet from their dream holiday to their dream job.
The main question is: how are you dealing with it right now? And what is it doing to you? And once you’ve answered these questions, there’s the next step. What can you change, and what do you want to change? How do you want to handle your time?
For many people, these questions aren’t at all easy to answer. In everyday life, there’s (seemingly) hardly enough time to even think about it. This creates pressure to step out of your everyday to find answers. A typical novel handling this thought is “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
But you don’t always have to travel to the other side of the world to find answers to these questions. After all, the answers are already within you. You just need time. Time for yourself and yourself alone. This might sound easier than it is, as we are no longer used to being alone with ourselves and our thoughts these days.
Observe yourself in your everyday life. When are you truly alone with yourself and your thoughts? Perhaps you prefer to listen to a podcast while cooking? Do you listen to music as you shower? An audiobook during a run? On closer inspection, you’ll notice that most of us like to distract ourselves. It’s not really important to work out why this is. It’s just important to identify that it happens. And if you feel rushed in your life or at work, it’s even more essential to create moments of calm for yourself.
Take this time and – as Ferstl so aptly put it – the time will give you something back. Your (mental) health will thank you.