Mindfully managing time stress requires that we take stock of what is most important to us. We have all these great labor and time saving devices available to us such as dish washers, microwaves, computers, e-mail, and instant messenger. Instead of giving us more time, we seem to actually be busier. This comes from being bombarded with information and requests all day long thanks to all this great technology. We can find that we are spread incredibly thin as we try to deal with everything thrown our way. We want to live in the present, but when we are spread thin, worry about future and how we are going to accomplish all that is on our plate has a tendency to leak into our present moment.
With everything thrust at us every day, it becomes necessary to prioritize. Our priorities ought to reflect our values. We must take time to make time to get to a place where time is not our master. This involves taking some time to determine what deserves our time and attention so we aren’t spinning our wheels on those things that don’t align with our core values. By letting go of instant gratifications we can realize a deeper, more satisfactory present. If we let our desires for immediate gratification rule, then we are a slave to those desires. We can get caught up in certain things that don’t align with what we value. For instance, we may say we value spending time with our family, but then spend time watching TV or messing around on the internet instead of spending time with them. In our quest to live in the present and reduce time stress, we must evaluate what is drawing us to those pursuits that don’t align with our core values. We desire them because they give us some kind of satisfaction. Perhaps it is the excitement of the ball game, or the satisfaction of being in the know about current events, or it is avoidance of something we aren’t looking forward to addressing. We are getting some kind of reward for spending time on things that are not related to those things we claim to value most. Through this kind of examination, we can begin to refocus our mind on what is most meaningful to us. When we know what we value, we can continually ask ourselves, does this activity align with that I do value. In that way, we can eliminate some of our time stress by freeing up our time spent on trivial pursuits and then dedicating it toward that which we truly love and value.