A Mindful Approach to Time Management
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Just imagine being able to get 4 hours work done in less than an hour. Yes, improving productivity by that margin is very much possible.
It is an illusion that the speed of time is fixed. We are not as enslaved by time as we think.
The passage of time, the speed of our breath and the state of our consciousness are all interlinked.
So, if you feel there are not enough hours in the day, or that time is speeding up, a solution is at hand.
This course is time management training but not-as-we-know-it !!
By changing your thoughts, you change your mind and change your relationship with time as a result.
This training consists of four sections containing over three and a half hours of mind expanding audio tracks and some simple Mind Mapping exercises.
NEW MODULE : This course now contains a brand new lecture to help reduce the effects of jet lag !!!You can complete the whole training over a period of four days but you may find taking a section on a week gives better results.
At the end of the training, you will learn how to manage your time more efficiently. You will realize productivity improvements.
Some unexpected byproducts of completing this course are an increase in your luck, your vitality, your overall well being and even your attractiveness - in both a business and personal context.
NOTE : THIS COURSE CONSISTS LARGELY OF AUDIO TRACKS THAT TAKE YOU INTO ALTERED AND RELAXED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS. IT IS BEST ENJOYED WITH HEADPHONES AND IN A QUIET ENVIRONMENT.
WARNING : DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY OF THE AUDIO VISUALIZATIONS IN THIS COURSE WHILE DRIVING OR OPERATING MACHINERY
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|Section 1: Beating Procrastination|
Welcome to Bending TimePreview
The normal human mind can only have one thought at a time. So if you mull over the past or fret about the future, you will lose focus on the present.
This is why blockage clearance and goal setting is the focus of this first section, which might at first seem out of place in a time management programme.
There are many great books out there on time management. I’ve read a few and they have some fabulous tips on how to save time by eliminating procrastination, reducing interruptions and prioritizing tasks.
I don’t want you to waste any more time or get distracted by reading any now but have listed the ones I recommend in the Other Resources area at the end this programme.
Time is simply not as fixed as we think it is. More specifically, the manner in which we think directly affects the perceived passage of time.
For example, I am sure you have been in an airport lounge at the end of a holiday, having read all your books and with a flight delay. Hours seem to extend into days.
Conversely, you might have gone away for a fun packed weekend that seemed to end all too early and just fly by.
We can both speed up and slow down time.
One aspect of our mind that we don’t often consider is that the ‘normal’ human mind can only experience one thought at a time. I say ‘normal’ as some of you may find this changes by the end of this programme.
So if we think about a thought we just had, the original thought gets replaced by the new thought. If we think about the direction our thoughts are going in, we lose our thread and stream of consciousness.
You can try this now.
This is biologically programmed into us to prevent everything from happening at once and to give us the illusion of time.
So in this first section, Clearing the Decks, we will address two of the biggest Time Bandits and stealers of time and that’s mulling over the past and worrying about the future.
The exercises that follow might not seem like they belong in a programme on time management but you will see why they fit in and are so crucial as ‘time’ progresses.
If we spend ‘time’ going over past events, this means our consciousness is directed away from what is happening now and away from the focus of current attention. The same is of course true if we spend any time thinking about future events.
There is of course nothing wrong with reviewing past events either in reminiscence, fond memory or so that past experience can be learned from. Also it is pleasurable to dream about the future. We might prepare a speech or think about how we will approach a tricky conversation.
What is debilitating is when events that are past, or have yet to unfold, block and entrap us in the present.
So in this first section you can release yourself from blocks that have been holding you back.
In addition, you can set goals based on what you want to learn such that you can forget about the future as your perfect future will be happening magically anyway.
Once you have worked through the simple exercises in this module, there are three vizualisations to listen to which will introduce you gently to the art of holding a quiet mind centred in the present.
Note you will need just blank paper and coloured pens or pencils to complete the exercises in these modules.
We all dream about how our life could be. In this first exercise, think about what external blocks are stopping you from achieving them.
Use the map below as a template or download the template from the Extras section and print it out.
Slowing down is the new speeding up.
The next ‘task’ involves nothing other than taking some ‘me time’ out with some headphones on for less than 20 minutes listening to this visualization.
This visualization introduces you to the real purpose of breathing. It will also teach you more about how to achieve the state of a quiet mind. The less said about this, the more you will get from listening to it.
Ideally, listen to it first thing in the morning, lying down, and it’s OK if you fall asleep.
It is entirely optional to do more of ‘nothing’ too and add these to any existing meditative practice - plus you can continue with the rest of this progamme in parallel.
The reason falling asleep is not a problem as they work at an unconscious level.
Of course, DO NOT listen to this while driving or multi-tasking in any way.
Once you have listened to them for five days, the next ‘task’ is also to do nothing and just observe.
You may find also that some old fears or not-so-desirable scenarios that you have to deal with also surface. Your reaction here is not to throw your toys out of the pram and blame this guide or these visualizations. That would be like shooting the messenger.
Just observe that they have arrived and notice where they affect you in your body. Get into the habit of actually thanking them for turning up but take only minimal action to deal with them and then notice how with no action they tend to dissipate. Note that this may take a little practice and nerve.
What really stops us are our internal fears. Such fears are a good thing. They keep us alive and warn us of danger.
There are real dangers in this world that can harm and even kill us. There are also dangers that just exist in our mind, many of which are conditioned responses to previous or imagined events. They can be installed in our neurology unintentionally by parents, teachers or, increasingly, the media.
Although there may be an external component to these fears, at the end of the day, there is only one person who is responsible for them and that’s us.
When a fear arises, the best thing we can do is not to suppress it but to acknowledge it. They are messages from previously unconscious processes emanating from sense organs in our bodies informing us that we need to pay attention to something.
Crafting and nurturing an open and healthy relationship with our fears is one of the most evolved acts we can take. Learn to thank them when they arise for alerting you to something.
The ones that emanate from your gut mind are stirred into action 5 to 10 seconds ahead of your conscious awareness and they are always right.
It is amazing how cathartic it is to get any existing or residual fears out on the table. If even doing this exercise makes you fear-full though, add this act to the list.
Complete the below overleaf to give your fears a much welcome, and safe, airing. Again, either start the map from scratch on a blank sheet or download the template map and print it out.
After completing the Mind Maps from the previous two lectures, this visualization gently allows you to let go of the fears that may have been holding you back.
It’s best if you sit up for this visualization and you can do it any time of the day.
Your Goals Of Learning
This visualization connects you with a version of you in the future having achieved your Goals of Learning. Once you connect with this version of you, you become inextricably entangled and drawn towards this new state of Being.
You can sit up or lie down for this visualization and do it any time of the day.
|Section 2: Subjective Time|
The speed of time is not as fixed as is thought. It varies depending on how and what we are thinking.
This module shows you how to slow and even stop your thoughts such that time expands.
You will even learn how to do it with your eyes open.
Have you ever wondered why a fly can move out of the way if you try to swat it?
The answer is simple. The fly has a much faster reaction time than us being so much smaller.
Simply, signals from its eyes don’t have that far to travel to its brain. It literally sees you coming before your newspaper can reach it.
While there is a link between the size of an animal and its reaction time, when it comes to internal chatter and self-talk, something more mysterious is going on.
It’s thought that ‘thought forms’ travel at close to the speed of light. When inside our brains however, they are slowed down as they pass along and through each neuron and this allows us to experience them.
Have you noticed your thoughts roughly flow at the speed you might speak them or say at the speed you are reading this. This is just one of the peculiarities of thought that we often don’t give a second thought to.
The secret to controlling the speed of your consciousness, is to control your inner chatter and self-talk - sometimes known as “the monkey mind”.
This module introduces you to several meditative practices that teach the art of working with a quiet mind.
The first vizualisation demonstrates the fluidity of our perception of time. It's a temporal ‘amuse bouche’ which introduces you to the idea that time isn’t as fixed as it first appears.
It's Mad Not to Meditate
The rate we breathe at directly affects the speed of our thought. This visualization introduces the principles of samathic meditation and entering the alpha state.
It is also worth considering this:
Giant tortoises breathe around 4 times a minute and live to 150 years. Elephants breathe around 8-10 times a minute and live to 80 or 90 years. Our natural life expectancy only 200 years ago (pre-technology, medicine and sanitation) is around 50 years. So, by slowing our breath down, it is thought we can extend our lifespan by natural means.
|This vizualisation introduces the concept of how to change the speed of our thoughts and stop them in their tracks.
This is the key to vipassanic meditation and getting the brain into delta and theta states.
|This vizualisation takes you through a procedure whereby you can enter the meditative state with your eyes open.
This is a really good technique to learn if you engage in any creative activity or while working with clients therapeutically
|Section 3: Symmetrical Thinking|
It is an urban myth that our left brain is logical and our right brain is creative.
It is more accurate to say the left looks at detail and the right the whole picture (but only in most people). The left also sits in space and time and the right, everywhere and 'everywhen' else.
Learn how the hemispheres intercommunicate and how to get your whole mind focused on the same task.
|The visualization is a great warm up exercise that you can do before you start any creative task. It’s also good to do if you ever get stuck and I have been told it even clears headaches.
If you are a teacher or trainer, it’s also a great warm up exercise you can do with groups.
The visualization introduces one method of alternate nostril breathing from the yogic tradition.
We breathe through different nostrils without thinking about it during the day. By doing it consciously we actively oxygenate alternate brain hemispheres.
The next part of the visualization is an eye movement routine which gently confuses the brain, in a nice way of course.
The diagrams below show pictorially how to do it. If you find one direction more difficult than the other, then practice that way more in order to strengthen the associated neural pathways.
The visualization ends by taking you into the vipassanic state ideal for the creative task ahead.
How We Process Words
How We Process Numbers
So in the last task you experienced a task that started in the left brain and ended up being processed by the right.
With the word exercises, we start in the right brain and end up in the left before going back to the right again.
At no time, I imagine, were you consciously aware of which side of the brain was doing what. If you think back though to the leaps of intuition you made with the long phrase and large numbers, this is you right brain in full flow.
In this next task, we will get both halves of the brain working on one task and that Mind Mapping.
Our minds don’t think in lists, they operate through associations.
When we map our minds, it’s almost like our left brain says, “I do the maps around here, let me navigate.” While our right brain sees the left brain is busy and sneaks under its radar.
This technique can be used to give insight on an opportunity or enlightenment on a problem or issue.
By way of example, a year or so ago, I was stuck on chapter 9 of of my book on Light Bulb Moments. It wasn’t flowing so I used Tony Buzan’s technique of free association Mind Mapping on the words ‘light’, ‘bulb’ and ‘moment’. Now had I mapped using the phrase “light bulb moment”, my mind might have been lead to ‘Edison’ and then ‘phonograph’ or ‘Topsy the Elephant’ (Google it) or to ‘Eureka’, ‘Archimedes’ and ‘bath water’.
Instead, the word ‘Bulb’ took me to ‘tulip’ and to ‘Amsterdam’. The word ‘Moment’ in isolation made me realise we can have both a moment in time and the moment of a lever around a fulcrum.
As a result, I started a series of podcasts called “Moments of Light” in which people talk about how they had a light bulb moment and did something with it.
The word ‘light’ as you might imagine provided a deep and wide source of metaphor and association. Light of course can be split into a spectrum of component colors. It made me realise that quantum physicists ascribe many attributes like spin, color and flavour to exotic particles like quarks. Then a light bulb moment came in.
Is it possible that thought itself has properties like color or flavors? At that point, the writer’s block vaporized and the result was a chapter called “Flavours of Thought” which I didn’t plan to write. This led to writing a whole book of the same name a month later that I didn’t plan to write either. It was full of Recipes for Fresh Thinking that I didn’t plan to concoct.
This then lead me to doing more research into the very nature of consciousness that has lead me to devising this Bending Time programme.
None of this was planned, none of it was foreseen. This all shows the power of a good Mind Map.
This visualization takes you through the principles of completing a free association Mind Map.
You will need a randomly chosen book, colored pens or pencils, a note pad or scrap of paper and a sheet of A3 or tabloid paper. A blank template is attached you can print out but you may get better non-linear results if you start with a blank sheet of paper.
I have also attached my original ‘light’, ‘bulb’, ‘moment’ map below for further illumination.
This visualization has no voice over, just 30 minutes of blissful ambient music.
Again it is best listened to with headphones as it puts slightly different signals into each ear and side of the brain to get the hemispheres working in harmony.
You can use it to relax to with your eyes closed for morning meditation or to get you to sleep at night.
Alternatively, you can have it in the background while working on a creative task.
|Section 4: Whole Mind Time|
|If it was news to you that inside our heads, our two brain hemispheres run at different times, then be prepared for a bit more of a shock.
Inside our bodies, we have neural systems that operate at our throat, heart, gut and root that also run to different time frames.
Outside our bodies, it is thought that we are all connected through a collective consciousness that operates completely outside space and time in higher dimensions.
Now some of these theories belong at home in the fields of both metaphysics and cutting edge quantum physics (they are the same). Whether they are true or not is somewhat academic.
What is remarkable is that just imagining they might be true seems to be enough to generate real world, tangible results.
Current thinking is that it is our very consciousness, and specifically our left brain, that creates the illusion of the passage of time. Different animals and plants with different neurologies also have an alternate experience of time. Ask any dog!!
By connecting with the awarenesses inside and potentially outside our bodies, we can jump out of linear time into Whole Mind Time.
When we do this, all sorts of possibilities become open to us. For example, we can tap into ‘future memories’ and become pre-cogniscent.
We can even send ‘messages’ back to ourselves in time and forwards in time to remind us to do things we might otherwise forget.
|If you did biology at school, you may have heard about vestigial organs. These are parts of our anatomy we used in our evolutionary past which have now atrophied to a become remnant.
Examples include the skin flap in the lower corner of our eye near our nose. Our appendix is another.
You have heard and used phrases like, “It’s on the tip of my tongue” or “My heart goes out to you”.
We talk about how we ‘can feel it in our water’ or that our ‘gut tells us something’. Our language gives much away about what is really going on.
There is a conventional view that it is the complexity of the human brain that generates self-awareness. As we have evolved, the frontal lobes of our brain have taken on the very onerous role of processing not only our thoughts but our feelings.
This is why you may be, “In two minds over something, with your heart telling you one thing and your head the other.”
Alternatively, you may find yourself saying, “I think I’ll go with my gut on this one.”
These utterances are no accident. They are a reflection of what is actually going on in our bodies and all of our minds.
From an evolutionary perspective, our self-awareness was the last feature to develop. It’s now become so dominant that we’ve forgotten about the other mind centres.
Our minds actually inhabit every cell of our body and some think the mind may exist outside our physical form.
Our brains act as a sort of central processing unit that generates the illusion of reality based on the input from our primary senses. Its function is to process and to allow us to think and express ourselves.
Such is the dominance of our self-awareness; it’s understandable that we’ve come to believe that our brains and minds are co-sited.
At various points in our body we have conglomerations of neurons in areas like the larynx, the heart and the gut.
These are just three of the most well known points in and around our bodies which sometimes referred to as chakras. They are like portals to different aspects of our awareness and we have over two hundred of them. With a little training you can even learn to see them and energise them.
It turns out that these centres are much better adapted to processing certain types of thoughts than our brains. It appears also that they run to different time clocks and time frames.
So this visualisation takes you on an inner exploration of these mind centres and how our brains interact with them.
Enjoy and I hope as a result you will always trust your gut, follow your heart and speak your truth.
|When you experience a moment of light, it is quite simply magical.
If you happened to have an Magnetic Resonance Imaging [MRI] scanner handy at the time, and you stuck your head in it, you would see every neuron in your brain lighting up as it connects with its neighbors.
Over 10 billion neurons would light up in harmony shouting “Eureka” at you.
Moments of light like this are more commonly referred to nowadays as light bulb moments. As Archimedes, Newton and Saint Paul could testify though, we experienced them well before the light bulb was invented.
They are a special mode of consciousness where, in less than a second, you see the whole picture. Apparently, Newton intuited the complete theory of gravity in that split second and it took him the rest of his life to tabulate them. They seem like they occur in less than a second because, for that moment, you have jumped outside space and inside time.
It is assumed they are random yet it is possible to enter a special type of meditative state, with your eyes open, where you can experience them on demand. The first step in achieving this state of being is to understand what blocks such moments of light.
Imagine if someone cuts in front of you, into that safe gap you left, on the motorway. You feel affronted. Perhaps, if your life was endangered, you may utter an expletive or even flash your lights at the offender.
At that exact moment, certainly what won't be happening is that you will be having a moment of light. Just by a subtle flip in your thinking though, you could have had an idea for a new novel called Road Rage or a safety device for a car which told the driver the gap was too small to pull into. The issue is that your thoughts are controlling you, not the other way around.
If you are in any kind of heightened negative emotional state, be it anger, sadness, hurt, fear or guilt, light bulb moments are stopped dead in their tracks. Your emotional see-saw gets thrown off balance.
Even if you had a bright idea, there is just no brain space for it to surface. Any inspiration you might be feeling gets outweighed by heavy emotion. You will have to wait for the extreme emotion to abate.
This is why it’s best not to make a decision or send that email when you are angry. Take a few deep breaths, even wait for 24 hours and you will end up with a better outcome. You may even have a bright idea of how to respond to achieve a much more satisfactory outcome.
For most of the time, and most people, hopefully our brains and minds are running on a more even keel. Instead of rage, anger or grief, perhaps you are just beset with the daily worries of life. From this position, you can begin to enjoy flashes of inspiration and good ideas can get an airing. However, if you are in anyway fearful of the outcome of expressing or executing an idea, you will remain in stasis. You won’t go forward and you won’t go back. Everything will just be fine and dandy and the boat won’t get rocked.
This visualization takes you on a journey connecting all the internal mind centres with the collective consciousness. It also shows you the role of the breath in the process of creativity.
Listen to this any time you want to tap into inspiration.
|Carl Jung, and many others before and since, postulated that there is something called the collective consciousness. It has many names such as the cosmic consciousness, the Akashic Field, the Noosphere, the Morphic Field and the superconsciousness. You will also find it called
names like Satori and Brahman in theological and mystical literature. Some even refer to it as the ‘mind of god’.
I make no such claims here and only refer to it in its usefulness as an unlimited resource for us to tap into.
The concept of the superconsciousness, the term I prefer to use for its brevity and clarity, is quite attractive insofar as it seems to explain many everyday phenomena.
The idea is that all living, and non-living, things are connected in some way. Some physicists have theorized this happens in higher dimensions.
Have you ever thought of someone only for the ‘phone to ring and to find it’s them? Have you heard about those stories that dogs sense people are coming home? How did Leonardo da Vinci have the prescience to come up with the idea for both the helicopter and the parachute?
The superconsciousness is said to sit outside our time and space, acting as a storage mechanism for all thoughts, feelings, wisdom and knowledge. It is the domain of Kairos.
If this is true, the very thoughts you and I are having now are passing to and from the superconsciousness. Every man, woman and child (and animal and plant) that ever lived is also tapped into it. This also includes versions of you and me in the future and the past.
In terms of the you in the past, it could explain how we retrieve memories, or not.
As for tapping into the you in the future, this would explain so-called psychic phenomenon such as precognition. Actually, when you hyphenate words, you get to understand their true meaning so, for example, pre-science and pre-cognition indicate their underlying true meaning.
If you accept that the superconsciousness stores all thoughts, this could explain how sometimes you have an idea and don’t act on it only to see someone else come out with your invention a year or so later. How annoying is that?
If you then extrapolate this idea a bit further, there must be a version of you in the future who knows just what you need to do now to evolve into that person. How useful would it be if you could connect with that person?
Well, if you haven’t been left behind with the farfetchedness of all of this, the key to tapping into the superconsciousness is accessing the meditative state.. Getting the left and right
hemispheres in synchronization in the last module was just a bit of a warm up.
To understand how this might all work, we have to see our minds using a slightly different structure than with the conventional left and right brain model.
We have our consciousness and self-awareness which is fed from an unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is everything by definition you aren’t aware of like your blood sugar level or your big toe on your left foot, until I mention it.
We need to extend the model a little and introduce the idea that there is a layer of our mind which sits between the unconscious mind and the superconsciousness.
This layer of mind is again one that instinctively we feel we possess.
It has many names but we will call it the Higher Self. You could equally call it the Lower Self, the Inner Self or the Outer Self. This is because it sits outside our normal three space and one time dimensions and its thought to be the part of our mind that is connected permanently with the superconsciousness.
The Higher Self can also be thought of as a part of us that directs us through our life experiences, both good and bad. Ask yourself if you have ever felt as if you were been guided or pointed in the right direction. If so, that is an example of your Higher Self in operation.
It is completely optional if you want to ascribe any spiritual attributes to the term.
This diagram shows a two dimensional representation of how the past, present and future versions of you are connected via the superconsciousness. I stress this is just a model helping us to get our heads around something outside our dimensional space.
This last visualization takes you on a journey outside your body and connects you with these past and future versions of you.
I must stress that it doesn’t matter so much if this is true or not. Only the real world results you get from it validate its usefulness.
This visualisation will help reduce the effects of jet lag.
|Section 5: Natural Time|
In Tune with the Moon
Intuitive astrologer, Louisa Tanner Munson, explains how we can base the timing of our activities on planet Earth based on what's going on above our heads.
Note that, if you think astrology is bonkers, note that it's said billionaires often use astrologers but millionaires don't.
|Section 6: Talking Temporally|
Esoteric writer and modern mystic Joanna Bristow-Watkins in conversation with Tom Evans on how time isn't quite as fixed as we think ...
Anne Jirsch talking about how time isn't quite as fixed as it seems. Anne also takes us on two guided visualisations – the first to cut the cords that hold us back and the second to help us create the perfect world collectively.
Ana Isabel talks to Tom Evans about how time is not quite as fixed as is thought. It is malleable, stretchable and can be slowed down or speeded up, just with thought alone.
How to Live Timefully
John Taylor : A Man of Our Time
|Section 7: What's Next?|
Managing Your Time
Creating a To Love List
Case Study : How I Wrote & Published a Book in just three weeks
Sixty Second Time Tips
Tom is an author, author's mentor, creative catalyst and writer's unblocker.
He has been called, by others, a healer, a modern day mystic, a seer and the wizard of light bulb moments.
Using a set of elegant techniques, he teaches both how to tap into an unlimited flow of inspiration and how to make ideas actually come to fruition.
He has spent 30 years in the cutting edge of product development in the broadcast and Internet industries. He has a knack for explaining complex concepts in simple terms. More recently has been researching the psychology and physiology behind inspiration and is lifting the lid on the mystery of where ideas, and thought, come from.
His passion is in making the esoteric (unknown & hidden) into the exoteric (known & understood).
He has written three books on the creative process.
Blocks explores what stops us being creative and how to get over our fears and procrastination to tap into our creative flow.
The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments is all about those special types of thought that appear in less than a second, yet change our world forever- and how to stop good ideas from getting away.
Flavours of Thought is an exploration of the different types of thought that appear in our heads.
His latest books, Planes of Being and This We Know, are philosophical explorations into what it means to be human and where we might be going as a species.
He has also written a book of poetic life stories, called 100 Years of Ermintrude, which explores our relationship with time. A short story lifted from his forthcoming novel, Soulwave, explores how we got here and where we are going.
His latest book, along with its companion Udemy ecourse, is called The Zone. It is an exploration of how we get in that special creative space and how we stay there !!