WHAT MOTHERHOOD TAUGHT ME ABOUT TIME

I need to make time for working out.

You should make time for the kids.”

He needs to make time for his check-ups.

These are just random sentences, from everyday lives, but notice how they all use the phrase ‘make time’. How do you think this phrase originated? I mean come to think of it, you can’t make time. It’s there already, right? Did the English make a mistake? Remember how Amitabh Bachaan says in the movie Namak Halal, “English is a fun-ny language”? Not really. There is a lot of wisdom in that phrase.

Why we say ‘make time’ is because, even though time itself is infinite, we have only a finite amount of time to do everything that we want to do; we have to fit it all in those few minutes, hours, months or years that we have. Making time means shifting around your finite amount of time, to make space for that something that you have been sitting on. Ultimately, it’s upto you to manipulate your time to find the time to do something.

These days everyone is busy. We have jobs, bills to pay, our homes to look after, families to tend to, and social events to attend. Getting a breather is difficult and we’re often even working on vacations and on days off. We are so busy that we don’t have time to call, pay visits, celebrate festivals or events with those who matter to us. We just text them  or WhatsApp them and tell ourselves, ‘That should do. They’ll understand because I’m busy’.

But are we busy? Or are we hiding our laziness behind our ‘busyness’?

Do we really have no time to spare, no time to ‘make’ for things that we want or ought to do?

 

Why am I patronizing? I’m no less.

When I was working full time at a law firm, I used to think that I was the busiest person on the planet. I had no time for anything at all. No time to meet friends or family, no time to care for my health, no time to indulge in my hobbies, no time to prepare for my CS exams. I would always cry, ‘I have no time!’ Yet, I would find time to watch the latest flicks, chit-chat non-stop with my homies or go our on shopping sprees with my besties.

Then I got married and suddenly, even though I wasn’t working anymore, I was busier than before. Boy, those late nights watching reruns of shows or Whatsapping friends over the phone, were history. Chores at home won’t end. One would finish and the other would line up for my attention, and by night time, I would be dead tired. But then I enrolled for Masters in Law. And then everything went for a toss! Days blurred into each other as I tried to cope up with the syllabus and the truck-loads of assignments. My family used to complain how they never got to hear from me for days on end. But even then, I would find time to hang out with friends, go out, work out, what not. I hope by now, you’ve noticed something.

But motherhood changed everything!

Time is elastic. When you’re a parent, suddenly you’ll feel like time is flying by and you have no control over your own life. And yet there are moments, like when you’re trying to put your child to sleep, or in my case, when you’re trying to make her eat, you’ll feel like time has come to a standstill. There were days when I had no time to brush my teeth, take a bath or even change my clothes! Everything took a backseat and the one thing I was giving all my time to was my baby. Eventually the baby grew a little self-dependent, but I still found myself struggling with time. Then came a knee injury which finally put things into perspective for me.

I realized that I need to ‘make time’ for doing all that I want to do – like getting a job, or working out to keep myself in sound health. I realized that my excuse of not having time was just a farce for hiding my laziness. I also realized that if I carried on this way, I’d have a lifetime of regrets of never being able to do what I want. That’s when I started working as a freelancer, started my blog, picked up all those hobbies that I’d left behind, reconnected with friends and family that I hadn’t spoken to or seen since forever. In short, I started managing my time so I could ‘make time’ for all that I wanted to do.

I realized that time management comes from constant practice, trial and error, but most importantly, from trying.

The two most important lessons that Motherhood taught me are –

  • While you care for someone, you must care for yourself too.
  • No one will give you free time; you must make it for yourself.

Two years down the line, I’m happy to tell you that I’m a happier person. It doesn’t matter whether my job is working out for me or not, or that my blogging or hobbies are going unnoticed, or that I don’t get to see friends for more than a few hours every once in a few months. But it matters to me that I’m doing all of this while not sacrificing my duties as a mother or as a wife. I’m not giving myself the excuse ‘I’m busy’ anymore. I’m keeping busy in the real sense of the term.

To optimize the use of your time, you have to prioritize and compartmentalize your time so that you can squeeze the most from the very last second of your day. Read a book while you’re putting your child to bed, or call a friend while you’re taking that train to work. If you keep telling yourself that you don’t have time, or keep turning down opportunities on the pretext of ‘being busy’, then you’ll never get anything done, not even your jobs, because there will always be a part of you aching to do something else.

Being busy does not just mean working at a desk job. You can be busy being a parent, or busy being a student, or even as a couch potato. But being busy doing just that one thing, is a waste of a lifetime, because life has so much to offer.

So ‘make time’ for all that you’ve wanted to do – be an artist, a dancer, a photographer, a tourist or just spend time with those you love and want to connect with. Call instead of texting. Meet instead of calling. But don’t hide behind the excuse that you’re busy.

You have just one life. Make the most of it.

 

Pradita Kapahi

GOOD HABITS AND VALUES

Man is a slave of habit. If he does anything for a prolonged period of time, he gets habituated with it. Waking up at a certain hour, eating a certain kind of food item at a particular time or wearing a certain type of clothing all are what man is habituated with. Habits are incorporated within us in such a way that it becomes our identity. We can identify individuals by their habits. We all are habituated with something or the other.

As children we were always told to nurture good habits which included our personal hygiene, respecting elders and performance in academics. But as we grow older these become a part of our life and stay till the end.

However, there are some habits which when nurtured transform into values and later act as a shield against the atrocities that come to damage us. These values, in the true sense, need to be practised till the end of life as they are not in-built. Sometimes they may seem uncomfortable as they give us temporary pain and suffering which is the reason they are not practised by most people. But these are the values that take us to purity. The values of honesty, love, dignity, punctuality, perseverance, truthfulness, faithfulness, loyalty, trust, accountability, acknowledgement etc., are the ones that gain perfection but only when practised. Therefore in order to stay righteous and rewarded till the end say ‘yes’ to these values and habits and discard what is contradictory to them.

Get identified for the right values!

Ruth Samarpita Sarkar

BENEFITS OF BECOMING AN EARLY RISER AND HOW TO BECOME ONE

Recently, a friend of mine asked me about my habit of waking at 4:30 a.m. each day, and asked me to write about the health benefits of rising early, which I thought was an excellent question. Unfortunately, there are none that I know of. However, there are tons of other great benefits.

BENEFITS OF RISING EARLY:

Now, let me first say that if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back. Here are just a few:

  1. person-110303_1920Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, “Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up,   I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my  energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the  benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry  or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can’.” 
  1. Amazing start. I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing through things while being late for everything. Not a great start to your day! Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience. 
  1. woman-601568_1920Quietude. No babies crying, no quarreling, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe. 
  1. Sunrise. People who wake, late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereo-vision each and every day the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. Sometimes I do an early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” 
  1. cereal-556786_1920Breakfast. Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than shoving something down on the way to work. 
  1. running-573762_1280Exercise. There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be cancelled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never cancelled. 
  1. Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some hardcore studying in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or website stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family. 
  1. goal-976853_1920Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning. 
  1. personal-885550_1920Appointments. It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare. 

HOW TO BECOME AN EARLY RISER

  • Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
  • Allow yourself to sleep earlier. You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give in. And if it is the early rising that gives in, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed early, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed, or practice relaxation techniques like deep-breathing etc. for falling asleep. This way you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
  • Put your alarm clock far from you bed. If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.
  • Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to go straight to the kitchen and make a cup of tea. By the time I’ve done that, brought it to my study, sat at my desk and started drinking it, I’m awake enough to face the day.
  • Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.
  • Have a good reason. Set something to do early in the morning that’s important. This reason will motivate you to get up. I like to study in the morning, so that’s my reason. Also, when I’m done with that, I like to read all of your comments on my website!
  • Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. A good reward is to read a book that you want to read, after working for about 2-3 hours in the morning. I read spiritual books at this time, which fill my mind with peace and prepare me for the rest of the day. Other rewards might be a tasty treat for breakfast (smoothies! yum!) or watching the sunrise, or meditating. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
  • Take advantage of all that extra time. Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on studying, working on any pending stuff, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my daily goals), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day!

Author’s Bio: Sulagna Dasgupta has been writing about self-improvement and relationships for more than 5 years. Her websitewww.loveinindia.co.inis India’s first dedicated relationships & marriage blog, also offering FREE unlimited anonymous relationship counselling. Her mission is to facilitate more open thinking about love & relationships in India in the long run.