Don’t believe the myth that we all get the same amount of time. Here are 5 Tips to help you create time.
This is the time of year when the scarcity mindset around time surfaces on both sides.
On one side is the frenzy of winding down the year: frantic, hectic, hustling, rushing.
On the other is the constant messaging asking you how you will “use your time” in the New Year. Everyone wants to remind you that “we all get the same amount of time.”
The result is that we often feel like we “don’t have enough time.” We often feel like we are “behind” or “can’t catch up.”
Can you relate?
I will admit that I frequently get caught up in that cultural mindset. And then I remember that I have a super power:
I can create time.
The idea that you can’t create time is a cultural limiting belief. A sign of the epidemic of “time famine” that plagues our culture.
“Not enough time” is a mantra of the aspiring productive class.
Here’s the truth: You can create time.
It’s a skill. And it can be your secret advantage.
The Sports Context
In my weekly trampoline practice I’ve been working on my front flips. The entire skill takes about about 4 seconds. That includes the bounce. The flip itself is more like 2 seconds.
When I first took the skill out of safety lines, that time passed quickly, as 2 seconds tends to do. The rotation in the air was so quick that I couldn’t perceive anything that happened. One I initiated rotation, I had to trust that my body knew what to do and I wouldn’t land on my head.
Over the past few months, that time in rotation expanded. I became more aware of what was happening. At first, I was able to predict, while in rotation, whether I would land on my feet or land sitting down. I couldn’t do anything about it, but I knew how it would land.
Eventually, I progressed to where I could adjust my body — while in rotation — to land on my feet.
That progression isn’t unique. For a long time, I struggled to learn a Cody kick — a front drop landing that kicks through to a back drop landing. This move is now a part of my warm-ups and conditioning round. My coach observed how I did them with ease — like I had all the time in the world.
And that’s how I felt.
With practice, I created time.
This is not unique to my experience on trampoline. You can find this at work in any fast- moving sport: the way a baseball player perceives and adjusts to an approaching fastball, the way a basketball player reads the plays. Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player ever, not because of his size or power, but because of his ability to see the game unfolding at a level others couldn’t. In a fast-moving sport, he could see it at a different speed. He created time to skate to where the puck would be, instead of chasing where it was.
This applies to everything
This isn’t unique to sports. We can create time in all areas of our lives. Here are a few tips to help you create time:
In any skill we develop, the early attempts feel rushed. Time moves too quickly. It feels impossible to get it done. With consistent, focused practice, things slow down. We create time.
Patience is becoming a lost art In our on-demand world. Patience creates space for things to unfold. Creating space and creating time are the same thing. Time is merely a form of space.
Slow down. Be patient. Remember this mantra:
There’s no time to rush.
Despite the science that shows that multi-tasking is a myth, we still often cling to the belief that doing more things at once will create time. In fact, it’s the opposite: focusing on one thing at a time creates time. It brings spaciousness to every activity. And this spaciousness gives us more time.
One core principle I’ve learned in my years doing Circus sports is that the right action at the wrong time is counter productive. Learning to work with the rhythm of the swing or the trampoline is crucial. The same is true in life.
There is a rhythm to the seasons, to the week, and to our days. And, we each have our own internal rhythms. Learning to work with these rhythms gives us time. Its not just about what we do, but when we do it.
As important as right-timing is proper sequencing of activities. This can be highly individual. For example, for years I tried to meditate immediately after waking up. But that didn’t work for me. It left me tired and unmotivated. I need to start my day with movement. Meditation clicked for me when I moved it to after my fitness.
I also know that I am much more effective in my deep work sessions after a workout. If I get stuck in a creative process, I can reignite my spark by going to the gym.
That’s a sequence: exercise leads to creative flow. Trying to force creativity out of sequence will result in lost time. When I follow proper sequencing, I create time for even more in my schedule.
It’s not just about doing the right thing at the right time, but about doing those things in the right order.
You have more time than you think. But recognize that all time is not equal. We can create time by slowing down, focusing on one thing at a time, practicing our skills, doing the right thing at the right time and in the right order.
Try putting these tips into practice and let me know how you’re creating time.
For more on this topic, watch Episode 66 of My Circus Life:
Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear how you created time today.