“I can’t believe it is already mid-July.”
“[Insert name of child] has gotten so big! How did that happen? When did that happen??”
“Today flew by. I feel like I got nothing done. Why does life go so fast?”
“I wrote down 2016 instead of 2017 on a document at work today.”
“Was college really [amount of years since your graduation] ago?! I don’t believe it.”
“Every time I get on Facebook there is a new engagement, wedding, or baby on my feed. When did my friends start growing up?”
Is Your Life Moving Too Fast?
Have you caught yourself saying or thinking some of these statements in the past 2 weeks? Well, don’t worry because you are not alone.
The older I have become the faster I realized that each day and week will go by faster than the previous one.
I was once told that there is a ratio for time, which is…
This ratio is changing EVERY DAY!
For example, when we are one year old, one year probably feels like exactly that- a full, long year. Do you remember watching a timer for 30 seconds as a child and it felt like an eternity?
But as a 10-year-old, the ratio being 1/10, we start to realize it won’t be much longer until we will be 11 years old. A year feels closer.
The ratio quickly starts to feel out of our control- with a blink of an eye we are 27, and then another blink and we will be 40. With each passing year, time seems to go by that much faster.
Were you born around 1990? Then definitely don’t click on this Buzzfeed link.
It seems that 20 and 30-somethings are starting to realize that life is moving fast… life is moving WAY too fast… and are becoming more anxious as they feel less in control.
Does this hit close to home? Do you believe life goes by too fast? If so, check out some helpful tips below.
1. Be Present in This Moment
Right now, this very second is different from the last. Be curious to notice the slight changes between this moment and the previous one.
Notice your breathing. Are you breathing into your chest or your stomach? Is there any part of your body that feels the tension that you can release? What is the furthest thing you can hear right now?
Tapping into your mindful self can help make the time ratio feel less anxiety provoking by giving you a sense of control. I believe that the older we get we also have more things to worry about.
Having a never-ending to-do list can wire our brains to be constantly thinking about the future and miss out what is happening right in front of us!
Take advantage of this moment to pause and be present.
2. Intentionally Take the Time to Reflect and Process
“How was your weekend? What did you do?” Have you ever struggled to answer these questions because you honestly don’t remember?
When we are operating in a stressful time in our lives, our brains become more equipped to think about the future instead of the past or present.
Depending on the amount of stress, it can feel challenging to recall any memory. Reflecting and processing your day is a simple mental workout to strengthen your brain.
Around bedtime, think through your day from waking up to you doing the reflective exercise in the present moment.
For example; I woke up, took a shower, got dressed, drank a smoothie for breakfast, went to work, talked to Dave about a project…and so on.
A research study by the University of Texas at Austin revealed that practicing a reflective exercise daily will help consolidate memory, boost your learning capability, and enhance your mental health.
3. Journal Daily
Write down 3 things you accomplished and/or 3 things you are grateful for every day. These entries can be as simple as…
“Today I brought in coffee for a co-worker and it clearly made her day. I also have a college friend in town and it was great to catch up with her during lunch.”
Having tangible pages with your thoughts written down can also boost the results from tip number two.
Journaling gives you the power to process today and review yesterday- stimulating your memory and learning capability. This exercise has another favorable outcome: an increase of well-being and overall mood.
4. Write Down Your Goals
Think of 2-3 things you want to accomplish today, this week, this month, and this year. Write them down. Track them.
This simple time management skill can prevent this dreaded thought or one similar from happening- “Wait, it is already 2017? I told myself I wanted to run a marathon by then. Oh well.”
Which leads me to my next suggestion… Write down your plan to accomplish your goals and schedule in time to do it!
Do you want to get a raise? Create a list of things you can do for your company between now and next year to make it happen!
Ask my boss to lunch at least once a month, go to a conference, speak at a conference, write for a journal and get published, do at least 5 marketing presentations by January. You got this!
5. Prioritize Time with Friends and Family
One of the hardest parts about being a 20/30-something is the pull between having a successful career and a personal life. When job demands start stacking up, that is when I find time moving quicker than I would want.
It can become too easy to tell family members, “sorry, I can’t make it this weekend. I need to work on a project.” Next thing you know, it’s been over a month since you’ve seen your family.
This can be a difficult transition for emerging adults. It wasn’t too long ago where all you had to do was go across the hall to see a sibling or go to school to see your friends.
Intentionally scheduling in times to see supportive friends and family members is important for your well-being but also slowing time down.
I don’t have a scientific article to link for this, but there is something about being around a child that makes time stand still.
Ask someone to lunch you’ve been meaning to catch up with- don’t let the time pass anymore!
So, What Are You Waiting For?!
All in all, this is much easier said than done. If you feel ready to try these steps, know this will be a daily practice, not be a destination. However, the silver lining is when you notice you forgot to practice these steps (and you will), you are still practicing step number one!
The main goal of all of this is to simply notice the present moment without judging ourselves. It will be a constant detach–reattach. Detaching from thoughts about the future or the past, and reattaching to the present moment (while free of judgment!).
Mindfulness has incredible health benefits—so I highly encourage you to start there. Once you are able to have a daily practice (and if you are curious how to start, look here) you might be amazed how time truly slows down and time to practice other self-care skills opens up.
Now drop your shoulders, soften your jaw muscles, take a deep breath into your belly, and know you can do this!