Saturday, February 23, 2013

Time to Spare

I had an epiphany of sorts a few weeks ago as I stood in front of a San Diego hotel, waiting for my airport shuttle bus. What struck me in the moment was that I was relaxed, calm and unhurried, even though travel will often tend to add to one's stress level. 

As my wait continued, I realized that I can typically avoid the kind of stress that comes with travel, or even with life in general, since I make sure I am prepared and ready ahead of schedule. In other words, I tend to work my life in a way so that I have time to spare

This tendency that I have always had, and the benefits of which I apparently took for granted, was suddenly seen as a major key in keeping my stress levels low and peace levels high. 

For instance, when traveling, I begin to pack a day or two early, referring to a master list of all the things I typically need, instead of relying on my memory. 

I print my boarding passes ahead and save time with check-in. 

I weigh my bag at home to be sure I won't be inconvenienced if my bag goes over 50 pounds. 

I pack snacks, reading material, etc. etc. in my carry-on so I will be comfortable and entertained.

Before returning home, I repack my bag the evening before, keeping what I will need aside for easy access in the morning. 

At home, I have back ups of various food items that I use frequently, so when I run out I won't have to make a quick run to the store in the midst of cooking or baking. 

I use lists to help me remember what is needed to be done on that particular day.

I double recipes and freeze food for quick meals for a future date. 

I schedule exercise time for myself as I would an appointment with someone else. 

I respond to emails on a timely basis, rather than allow them to accumulate in my inbox. 

I allow time in between my client appointments, just in case we go a bit long. 

I leave my home a few minutes early to allow for any snags in traffic. 

Okay, I could go on here, but I think you get the picture. When I (and you) anticipate what is needed and prepare for it in such a way that we avoid last minute inconveniences, life is easier. 

Simple? Yes. Easy? Maybe not for some, but I guarantee even a bit more anticipatory thinking in your life will eliminate unnecessary stress. The elimination of little stressors that can accumulate into bigger ones, will give you time to spare to do the things you love. 

The most wonderful part of having time to spare for me is having time to take a breath and when I (and you)  have time to take a breath, there's room for peace.