Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, Organized Executive, and Success.

A Dozen Ways To Slow Down Time

Does the pace of life sometimes seem like it’s just too much to bear? Over the past 15 years I’ve been working with groups to help them identify and deal with some of the things that cause them to feel as if their time has sped up. Some techniques for “slowing down” the clock, fortunately, are accessible to nearly everyone. Here are 12 ways to gain a new-found feeling of peace and serenity in your workplace:

1. Clear your desk of everything except the immediate task. Some people say, “A busy desk is a sign of a busy mind.” Balderdash! You work most effectively on only one thing at a time. Keep in mind the…

Ten Commandments of Deskmanship:


I THOU SHALT CLEAR THY DESK EVERY NIGHT.
II THOU SHALT CONTINUALLY REFINE WHAT GOES ON THY DESKTOP.
III THOU SHALT NOT USE THY DESKTOP AS A FILING CABINET.
IV THOU SHALT PREDETERMINE WHAT BELONGS INSIDE THY DESK.
V THOU SHALT KEEP 20 PERCENT OF THY DRAWER SPACE VACANT.
VI THOU SHALT FURNISH THY SURROUNDING OFFICE TO SUPPORT THY DESK.
VII THOU SHALT TAKE COMFORT WHEN AT THY DESK.
VIII THOU SHALT KEEP CLEAN THY DESK AND THY SURROUNDING AREA.
IX THOU SHALT LEAVE THY DESK PERIODICALLY.
X THOU SHALT HONOR THY DESK AS THYSELF.

Refer back to Commandment Five. Remember that we live in a society which keeps throwing information at us, so it’s a given that more is coming. We need to keep vacant space ready for it. Studies of executives reveal that 80 percent of what is put in filing cabinets is never used again!
2. Watch the clock for three minutes, then cover it for the rest of the day — we’ve become so motion oriented that it’s hard to watch a clock for even one minute. This exercise emphasizes how much time there is in three minutes. You can accomplish quite a bit in that small space of time. To have more control over time, you have to appreciate how valuable it is. Covering the clock helps you work at your own rhythm.
3. Close your eyes for 60 seconds and visualize a pleasurable scene. Any time you can do this, it’s like resetting your internal clock — a time-out, free from interruptions, almost like mini-vacation for the mind.
4. Eliminate three items from your to-do list WITHOUT doing them. How did the items get on that list? Sure, there are some that your boss or spouse told you to do, and you can’t get rid of those. There are many that you put on the list because you think you should do them, though in retrospect they aren’t that important or urgent. Try this exercise: if you can find old to-do lists or appointment calendars, read them and evaluate how important they are today and how important they were back then. You’ll find that in many cases there were activities which occupied a great deal of your time that weren’t important and didn’t really pay off. Begin crossing out a couple of things each day, and never do them. Keep only a few priorities — you can’t pursue dozens! Your to-do list has to be rooted in reality.
5. With your eyes closed, listen to music with headphones — this is another method of resetting your body’s clock. When you’re concentrating solely on the music and you’re giving it the undivided attention of one of your senses, time will begin to expand.
6. Meditate — to some people, this has some New Age spiritual connotation. Yet, meditation is merely a way to listen to your inner voice without disturbance. It’s simply being quiet and comfortable, and listening to what that voice is saying. When we’re bombarded by input, we can’t hear our inner voice. Reflect on your goals and challenges, and listen for the wisdom in your inner voice.
7. Look at the ground intently from your office or airplane window — CEOs have their offices on upper floors for this very purpose. When you’re elevated above the earth, your vision expands. You’re able to see and understand more. You can then think more deeply because you’re getting a perspective that you don’t normally get when you’re on the ground. If your office is on the ground floor, go somewhere (a roof, for example) where you’re high up.
8. Choose to feel in control — years ago when Maria Shriver was a co-host of one of the morning talk shows in New York, she would fly in each week from her home in California and return home at the end of the week. Criss-crossing the United States on nearly 100 trips per year is a considerable amount of travel, not to mention disruption. Shriver minimized the effects of thousands of miles in the air, and still maintained balance. Each Friday evening, when heading back to California, she took the same flight, at the same airport, on the same airline, leaving from the same gate, at the same hour. She even reserved the same seat. She often flew with the same pilots and same flight crew, and occasionally, the same passengers.

Rather than having to be physically back at her house or touching down at the L.A.X. airport, she felt at home when she boarded the plane. In essence, she minimized the effects of a rigorous schedule by transforming her seat in the sky into a welcomed sanctuary. She felt at home in that seat. Likewise, you can feel at home without having to be at home. Choosing to feel at home (when you are not) enhances your sense of breathing space and diminishes the feeling that you’re not in control of your day or your time. Think of it as an opportunity to be fully present in places where you otherwise might have been thinking more about being elsewhere. Choosing to feel at home frees you to experience the present moment, with its surrounding scenery, to the fullest. Given no fear for safety, some human beings can feel at home anywhere on earth.
9. Interact with your pets, your children, and your hobbies — look at the fish in your tank, or watch your cat. If you have a baby, observe him/her very closely. You are able to share their pace when you watch them, and this helps relax you and expand your sense of time.
10. Allocate time for reflection — too often in the workday world we think we have to stay in motion and look busy. In an information age, you have to get your information mostly by reading (i.e. books, journals, online data, e-mail). Take time to reflect. Don’t worry if other people think you’re not “busy,” because in the end it’s the results that count. Instead of starting your workday with a pile of things on your desk, spend a few minutes and just contemplate what you’d like to accomplish and how you’d like the day to turn out. Your whole day will go better.
11. Procrastinate creatively — if you really, really just can’t get started on a project, undertake other important tasks that you need to do anyway. In that way, you’re taking care of other important business and not wasting time. Once you’ve finished the most important task, all of these smaller tasks will be done as well.
12. Linger — for one minute, whenever you want to, simply linger. The clock will stop racing by, and you’ll be no less productive. In fact, studies show that you’re likely to be far more productive if you linger for about ten individual minutes throughout each work day.Although time itself is linear, the way you perceive it is elastic. By following these 12 tips, you’ll be able to slow down your sense of time during the workday, and gain breathing space in your life.


Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 65 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 886 presentations to clients such as Lockheed Martin, Eckerd, Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
  • Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, USA Today, Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website www.BreathingSpace.com.

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