“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
– William Penn
Ever get frustrated because you spend your whole day doing stuff you’d rather not be doing?
Do you have a passion project, hobby, or fun activity that you’re aching to do, but can’t fit into your schedule?
There are many reasons why you don’t get to it, but what’s almost always the number one reason?
Very often one powerful phrase stands between you and your doing things that bring you real joy.
It’s only five words, but it can shackle you to a lousy routine and contribute to the overall dissatisfaction of your life.
I don’t have the time.
“I don’t have the time,” is a powerful statement.
It has the power to prevent you from doing whatever succeeds it: “I don’t have the time to do [fun, creative activity].”
There are only 24 hours in a day, so there are natural limitations to what you can cram into your daily planner. But what if by saying, “I don’t have the time to do [fun, creative activity],” you feel downright miserable?
If not doing something is making you feel rotten, then it’s time to rethink your day.
My focus as a life coach is to help people discover and live their Original Medicine.
Original Medicine is an expression used by indigenous cultures to describe your unique gift or talent that you and only you can bring to the world.
In most tribal cultures the word “medicine” is synonymous to “power.” So your Original Medicine is your “Original Power.”
Many of us don’t know exactly what our Original Medicine is, and that’s perfectly OK because:
Any activity that brings you joy will help clarify your Original Medicine.
So how can you overcome feeling rotten about the phrase: “I don’t have the time to do [fun, creative activity].”?
In other words, how can you have the time for the activities that bring you joy?
There is one miracle step that fits into the most sardine-packed of schedules. It’s miraculous because it can take as little as 5 minutes per day and can lead to huge transformation.
This miracle step is the Consistent Turtle Step.
Yes, turtle step is just another way of saying baby step. It’s an expression used by Martha Beck, and a great way to say, “small action.”
Here’s how the Consistent Turtle Step works.
1. Decide which [fun, creative activity] you want to incorporate into your day.
Make sure you’re not forcing something you think you should be doing, and that you get a happiness buzz right before, during, or after [fun, creative activity].
2. Ensure that the turtle step is a turtle step.
Don’t start with a giraffe step. If you’ve been procrastinating for some time, then decide on a turtle step so easy it would be silly not to do it. And finally…
3. Be Consistent!
Consistency is the key to the turtle step’s power. Sporadic turtle steps are better than nothing, but they won’t quintuple your productivity and joy.
If you take consistent, inspired action every day in support of fun and creative activities that bring you joy, the results will blow your mind.
Here’s an illustration of how it works:
Let’s just say you’ve been aching to learn to Tango, but just haven’t had the time.
On day one, convince your partner or a friend to take Tango lessons with you. Day two, search Tango instructors. Day three, send emails to three instructors introducing yourself. Day four, hire an instructor and schedule your first lesson. Day five, pick out a Tango dress from your closet. Day six, practice to a few YouTube videos. Day seven, attend your first Tango lesson.
In seven days you’ll go from having no time to Tango to happiness buzz for adding a joyful activity to your day in a way that doesn’t overwhelm your calendar.
Our culture often teaches us that we should feel guilty for incorporating fun, creative activities into our day. It’s selfish to consider our own needs. We need to reserve all of our time for work or the needs of others.
But that is wrong.
Doing the things you are passionate about often has a ripple effect on all areas of your life.
Doing activities you love gives you more energy and allows you to live from a more ease-ful place.
When I was training with Martha Beck for my life coach certification she told a story about how she suffered from severe Fibromyalgia while working on her dissertation for her PhD at Harvard.
She was in so much pain she could only muster the strength to type for 15 minutes per day. But she did…15 minutes, every day. And the end result was a successful dissertation that was completed in a modest amount of time.
I’m not sure that writing a dissertation gave Martha a happiness buzz, but it was a long-standing goal that helped her arrive to where she is today – living her Original Medicine. By committing to sitting at her computer for 15 minutes per day…every day, she accomplished a huge undertaking.
I challenge you to choose one [fun, creative activity] that you’d like to incorporate into your day, and then to take ONE turtle step TODAY.
Say: “Yes, I have the time.”
No giraffe steps – just turtle steps. Then take a turtle step tomorrow, and the next, and the next. And in very little time watch your productivity [and joy] quintuple.
What is one activity you’d like to spend more of your day doing? Post a comment below.
If you’re interested in discovering your Original Medicine or exploring with me what fun, creative activities you’d like to incorporate into your day, then click here to schedule a 20-minute coaching consultation.