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Hi Friend,

How often do you find yourself saying: ‘Time Flies’ or something similar?

I seem to say it on a daily basis these days. Whilst just yesterday, I was chatting to a former colleague who reminded me that 5 years have passed since we last met. ‘Unbelievable’ was my response.

Time is a key theme in this month’s Healthy Habits, not only because it goes fast, but because it is a finite resource. In truth, we are here for such a short period, and the older I get, the more I appreciate this fact.

How much would you pay for getting time back?
It was a question posed to a billionaire business man on a podcast I was listening to the other day. His response surprised me. He would give his entire fortune for just three years back! "You can get money back", he said, "but your time is gone forever".

Some years ago, I decided that I wanted to slow things down in my life. I needed to. Up until that point, I had lived my life in a constant rush, striving for more and missing so much in the process. I wasn’t particularly happy with the situation, and so I decided to change. Books like: ‘The Power of Now’ by Ekhart Tolle had a profound influence on my thinking and my behaviour.

Today, I’m by no means perfect, but I do I feel that I have a more healthy balance between my professional and my personal life. Whilst some days, that definitely isn’t the case, over the course of a month, it balances out.

Organising Your Time Into Chunks
A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Singapore and that long flight got me thinking about how time seems to slow down when you want it to go quickly. Have you ever noticed that?

It was a 12 hour flight, and I organised the time into chunks:

  • 3 hours reading,
  • 7 hours sleeping,
  • and 2 hours watching a movie.
The 12 hours flew by, literally, but that wouldn’t have been the case if i didn’t have my books to read, and the movies to watch. This was a point made by Steve Taylor in his book: Making Time: Why Time Seems to Pass at Different Speeds and How to Control It.

To slow time down, Steve argues, all you need to do is be bored, and avoid activities that absorb you.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing
One of the things I read on that flight was a research report on ways to enhance wellbeing in order to make the most of our time. The report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) was based on The Foresight Report, a UK Government sponsored study conducted in 2008. It outlined The Five Ways to Wellbeing which have been used by health and educational organisations and individuals all around the world. I wanted to share these Five Ways to Wellbeing with you as they provide a useful framework to help develop habits to support you in your day-to-day life, putting your success on autopilot.

For example, here are some practical habits within the Five Ways to Wellbeing Framework that you can develop and integrate into your lifestyle:

We all have energy to give. Whilst giving money is always useful, giving your time to help others to solve problems can make a massive difference to both other people and yourself. A habit that I enjoy, for instance, is writing blog posts on wellbeing and marketing which is really easy these days. If you’re not a writer, then how about creating how-to-videos for Youtube, or posting recipes on Instagram which are always popular.
Our bodies are not separate from our brains, and the chemicals released in our brains when we’re active has a positive impact on our overall wellbeing. Whenever I come back from a run, for instance, I feel amazing. If running is not your thing, trying going for a daily walk, or swim, or doing yoga. The key thing is to do something that you enjoy so that you can sustain the habit and it becomes part of your personal support system.
From a return on investment perspective, a book is probably one of the best investments you can make as the ideas you learn could help you change your entire life. We’re developing a learning programme at RBI, and it has been quite interesting finding out people’s preferences for learning, and the limiting factors. We interviewed 15 people as part of our discovery, and asked them what their main perceived blocker to learning was. Any ideas? If you said time, you’d be right. However, committing to read a book for 15 minutes per day is all you need to give yourself a burst of knowledge. Depending on how fast you read, this 15 minutes per day reading habit could result in 30 books over a year!
Connecting with other people is very important for our wellbeing, whether you’re an extrovert or introvert. If you work in a big company, like I do, it can feel very easy to connect with other like-minded people, but that isn’t the case if you’re at home all day, or can’t go out for some reason. My mother has been in the latter camp for the last few years, and I have got into the habit of calling her every single day to check-in and see how she is. Whilst my days can feel extremely hectic and pressured at times, I’ll always make time to call no matter where I am as I know that the call makes a difference to her.
The pace of life is getting faster with multiple projects, tasks, targets and looming deadlines. With time going so fast, if you rush through life focused on your ‘to do’ list, you can easily miss the bits that really matter. Unfortunately, as I have learnt, real life doesn’t have a pause button, but I have found that the practice of meditation every single morning has made a profound difference to my day, helping me keep grounded and take notice. Similarly, the daily habit of keeping a gratitude journal, noting down 5 things that I’m thankful for every day has really helped me appreciate my situation; and balance the negative bias we have as humans, with a more positive perspective.

Finally, to wrap up, and bring this back to where I started:

Time is a finite resource and keeps going. When I decided to slow my life down, I didn’t actually change anything in my external world, but what I did change was my perspective which has ultimately resulted in my stress levels going down and my productivity going up. Let me leave you with a wonderful poem that I first read over five years ago:

Slow Dance by David L Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask "How are you?", do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
'cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it's like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn't a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.
Could you invest 2 hours for a better life?

I know what it’s like to be super busy, very driven and very focused on building a successful career and business.

I also know what it’s like to be so driven and so focused on one aspect of your life, that others - physical and emotional wellbeing in particular - suffer.

Over the years, to help guide me, I have developed a powerful tool and process I use each year to keep me focused and productive.

This process and toolkit is now available to you. It’s called: 'A Better Life Workbook’, a simple, but powerful 6-step process to help and encourage busy people like you to start thinking about what really matters and create the energy and resources to take action.

In just two hours, I’ll walk you through my proven 6 step process and help you take stock, articulate your dreams, break them down into manageable goals, take action, keep track and get the support you need along the way.

It has taken me years of planning to design this simple, but powerful process, and I’m confident the ‘A Better Life Workbook’ will help you gain the clarity you need to make meaningful progress, no matter where you’re starting from.
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