With the introduction of more channels on the television set, the Internet (which was not prominent before 1993), and all the consumer choices that exist, there are many things that compete for your time and attention. If you cram that into the same 24-hour day or 168-hour week that you have always had, your perception will be that time is speeding by.
For example, if you talk to a friend, watch a single television show while doing nothing else, read a book, or engage in any singular activity for one hour, you will have a certain perception of how quickly that hour will pass. But, if you pack more tasks into that same hour: the television being on, trying to read a book, maybe eating, maybe watching a 4-year-old; maybe a friend calls; maybe fiddling with an iPhone, and so on, then your perception of time changes. So, the more things that you can fit into that hour, the more things compete for your time and attention, and the faster that hour will seem to pass.
Does this seem like all the makings of a chaotic life? We each have 24 hours in a day, so how are you supposed to fit in all of your daily tasks without getting so stressed out or frustrated that you cannot finish any? The answer is: less is more.
You can only eat one meal at a time. Focus on the task at hand and reflect on that ’60s phrase, Be Here Now! You can actually taste the food when you are eating. You can actually watch the show that you are watching. You can actually play the sport that you are playing. Have the emotional and financial strength to let go of all the peripheral items competing for your time and attention and focus on the activity at hand.
The message that is being disseminated in contemporary society is to practice multi-tasking. “Do multiple things at once.” “Click here.” “Push here.” “Turn me on.” “Switch me on.” Every place you look, you are besieged by more items competing for your time and attention. Now, people actually have dwindling attention spans. They lack the ability to remain focused on the same subject for more than a few minutes and, sadly, some people for more than a few seconds.
The key to reclaiming your time is to practice the art, something I call an art, of doing one thing at a time. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Focus on the task at hand and be present in the moment.
Jeff Davidson’s ground-breaking book, Breathing Space, reveals how to avoid racing the clock and gain more control over each day. His Amazon Kindle #1 best-selling book, Simpler Living, with a foreword by Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul, is the definitive work on simpler living, offering nearly 2000 tips arranged by every aspect of life.