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  • Gabriela Moreira

How do you choose to use your time?

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

An article with a range of distinctions, experiments and possibilities for you to assume a new relationship with time.


Take a timer. Put 1 minute. In that determined time just follow the first impulses that arise in you. What do you choose to do in that one minute? Observe the thoughts, the feelings, the directions that your attention goes. Go!


Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...


What was it like for you to experience that one minute? Did it go fast? Did it go slowly? What did you notice? What did you miss? What did you decide to do with that time or what did you not decide? (not deciding is also a decision). What filter did you use to determine what action you did or didn't do?


I started this minute by looking at two birds that were in the tree in front of me as I wrote. Seconds later, frantic impulses started in my mind: "What if you make better use of this minute to do something more useful, maybe reply to that person's message, or send that e-mail, or finish that flyer, or make a publication on insta." "Are you really going to waste time looking at those birds?" I didn't give in to those thoughts, I continued watching the birds, but now I was biting my nails, trying to unload and anesthetize the fear of "doing nothing" and wasting time, "I want to finish this article".


I realize that I am squeezed into the patriarchal system and the capitalist empire. I notice in a simple exercise like this one that I use the filter "time is money, I can't waste time on useless things" as a starting point for my decisions. If in a minute I'm experiencing reality through this filter, what then happens in a day? And in a month? One year? Where are my actions coming from when I say "I don't have time"?


From a very young age you learned to do useful, productive things, you learned to be effective. You've learned to put your focus, your presence, and your attention on selling at auctions so that you're told the next thing to do, the next report, the next task. You learned to value the "doing" to "have", and thus having, being. Be happy, be successful, be accomplished.


You create your days, months, years, in order to direct your focus on urgencies, priorities. Suddenly you find yourself tired and without energy to dedicate to what nourishes you, to what really matters to you. You chose, unconsciously, to be consumed by time.


How you experience time is determined by FOCUS. The focus is where most of your attention is. When most of your attention is on your mind's worries about next week's bills, then your focus is on the future, in your mind. When most of your attention is on the sensation of your feet touching the ground, then your focus is on the present.


Your focus is as malleable as air, it goes from one place to another in a millisecond. In the information age your focus is even warred on by corporations, who make glitter, colors, bouncy animals and fried food to hook you. There's even something called the Attention Economy, which approaches human attention as a scarce commodity that can be bought and sold to generate profit for the big companies that are killing Gaia.


Focus is a muscle that is atrophied and rickety in the world.


WHAT MAKES YOU LOSE YOUR FOCUS?


1. Trying to avoid something

You lose your focus when you try to avoid things.


Don't think of a giraffe. Don't think of a pink elephant. Don't look at your hand. Don't think about your feet.


Without realizing it, your focus has already gone to these four places. You automatically thought of the giraffe, the pink elephant, your foot and looked at your hand.


Your reptilian brain works to focus on what you don't want, because that's the survival part of you. From the moment you are trying to avoid something, you unconsciously direct your focus, therefore your energy, to that thing.


When you say, "I don't want to think about it," that's exactly what you're thinking about, ruminating on, until you get sleepy and fall asleep. When you block out your fear, your anger, your sadness, because you don't want to feel pain, then your focus goes to numbing and masking that it's not there. Your body uses an immense amount of energy to keep the cry from surfacing, to keep the scream from being expressed.


2. Praising others

If you don't have your focus, then you get other people's focus. You make other people's urgencies your own. You take your time not to feel your fears. You become the savior of the world so there's no room left for you, because when your focus isn't on someone you feel it. You feel the pain of abandonment, you feel the sadness of loneliness.


When you walk into a room with friends or work, where is the first place your focus goes? If you're the type of person who walks into the room and the first thing you automatically do is scan each person for their expectations and needs, then your focus is distributed, it's on each person.


When you have a clash between the amount of things to do and the 24-hour time frame, that's when you feel overwhelmed, tired.


The physical sensation is as if you put part of yourself on trains going in different directions. You cut your heart out and put it on a train, put your leg on another train, your brain on another train, your arm on another train. At the end of the day, of the week, all these parts of you are broken into a thousand pieces and you are no longer whole. You are divided energetically between different people.


3. Immediate pleasure

One of the most efficient strategies to avoid feeling pain is to look for immediate pleasure that brings a high dopamine spike, such as: scrolling on instagram, leaving and entering apps, games, sex, chocolate, drugs, series, binge-watching makeover videos on youtube.


The pitfall of dopamine spikes is that your system becomes addicted. After a dopamine spike your brain is flooded with euphoria and a sense of relief. A while later, this dopamine line drops drastically, beyond the natural line, which generates a feeling of tiredness, drunkenness.


As a result, their bodies gradually lose the possibility of experiencing contentment when doing things that generate dopamine in a more stable and constant way, such as reading a book, spending a day at the pool with friends, enjoying the sunset, and having a deep and intimate conversation with your partner. It's like life loses color, and you're always looking for more and more intensity to feel alive.

Your gremling has clever ways of blackmailing, manipulating and convincing you to get distracted in this cycle so that you can avoid responsibility for your life and become a victim of not having enough possibilities to change. An example is your gremling taking a task, making it bigger than it is, adding layers and layers of complexity, until you have enough reason to be distracted: "oh, I'll just take a look at this message, then I'll finish this." That is the seed for procrastination.


WHERE DO YOU CHOOSE TO PLACE YOUR FOCUS?

Time is not something you own. It's not a thing or an object that you have or don't have, so saying "I don't have time for that" is a fantasy world.


Time is about focus and decision. When you choose to put your focus on something that's where your energy flows, so that's where you're creating.


Where you put your time is a choice. Not choosing is also a choice. Time is a limited resource for you who have a body with an expiration date. In this biological time that you inhabit, where do you place your focus?


EISENHOWER QUADRANTS, applied to the context Possibility Managment


Urgent is what needs to be done now. It's the time pressure to get it done. Importance is what you attribute meaning to, what matters to you. This map can be drawn by you with 3 lenses: Ser, Gremling and Box.


What do you use to determine that something is important? What makes something important or unimportant? Is financial "stability" important to you or your cashier to feel in "control"? Owning a home, owning a car, being "successful" is important to what parts of you? Where do you choose to put most of your time? Is your priority always what is urgent? How much time do you dedicate to each of these quadrants?


1. NOT IMPORTANT AND NOT URGENT

In this quadrant are the distractions. Things that you don't have an urgency to do, and that aren't important to your Being either, but you do because you want to distract yourself, "want to relax", unwind.


These are things that don't require your presence, you can do them almost automatically, like eating doritos, playing candy crush, smoking cigarettes, checking and rechecking messages.


Usually when you spend time doing things in this quadrant you feel drained, frustrated, tired. It's basically your gremling's party.

2. NOT IMPORTANT AND VERY URGENT

When something isn't important to you and you do it anyway, then it's because you're taking someone else's urgency.


Have you ever tried to set a day without any commitment during the week, and exactly on that day, several people are looking for you to try to schedule something? These people arrive "I really need to talk to you, it's urgent, I need your help." They have a high urgency and "need" to see me. And then comes "she needs help, I need to provide, I need to create space for these people's urgency". And then bye, the day that was empty now has 4 things marked.


The question when someone arrives with an urgency could be: How did this become an urgency?


The person did not take care of this thing in the time when it was not urgent. Now it has become urgent and now this person presents the urgency to me and I choose (unconsciously) to take that urgency for myself as well. In the blink of an eye you have a plate full of things to distract yourself from other people's problems and then have a delicious feast for your gremling to delight in blaming others for not having time for you.


If you are addicted to losing your focus on other people then you will have a hard time distinguishing between the urges of others, the urges of the voices in your head and your own urges. The result of this is that you create your life in such a way that you are constantly tired and overwhelmed.


This quadrant has a certain disillusionment, because you've convinced yourself that you have to do all these things.


3. VERY IMPORTANT AND VERY URGENT

In this quadrant, things start to demand you, because they are important and urgent. There's no way you can say no. It demands a precise focus on the now and can take up too much or too little time.


The part about something becoming urgent most of the time is connected to you numbing your fear. Fear is the energy that warns you "it would be better if you checked these government rates, if you leave it for later it could have a lot of interest", "it's time to have a check up with the doctor and take care of your health". Fear warns you before things go to shit and get urgent, it tells you "watch out for that", it's time to do it.


How many people feel symptoms in the physical body, for weeks, months, sometimes even years and never check what it is. Then when it becomes urgent and important they rush to the doctor in sheer stress and worry and discover something serious.


Many things that were small before, become so important and so urgent because you didn't take care of it before. This quadrant is always full and full, generating stress and then there is no focus and space for what is really important.


Important elements that can contribute in this quadrant are inviting to collaborate, delegating, asking for help, calling someone who is happy to do this and inviting them.


You don't have to do it all yourself.


4. VERY IMPORTANT AND NOT URGENT

While in the other 3 quadrants energy is invested, in this quadrant energy is returned. It's about what brings you fulfillment, fulfillment, satisfaction, life. It's about what really matters to you.


In the urgent, it's you delivering your center and focus to time. Time is determining the next thing to be done, the next deadline to be met.


In this quadrant, it's you choosing and determining what's important, what's the next thing to do.


Setting up this quadrant with some groups, I realized that this was the one where people took the most time to think of examples. People weren't clear about what really mattered to them. Much of what they thought mattered to them was actually what mattered to their mother, their boss, their son, and society. "Save money", "Have a successful marriage", "Be happy and successful".


It's painful to realize that you've been putting most of your focus where you don't really want it. That you direct your precious energy to create things that you thought were important to you, but in reality you only mattered from external expectations of what others expect you to be. I invite you to allow this pain to be present, it is a catalyst for something to change.


Taking away everything that is important to others, what is left? What are you angry about in the world? What do you feel sad about in the world? What really matters to your Being?


Have meaningful conversations with people? Walking with your feet on the ground? Create time to play with your children? Support space for people to make crossings in their internal worlds? Empower people to blossom their essence? Creating an external support network so that Human Beings can develop their maximum potential? To be with people so that they awaken your fire of life?


If you choose to put 50 to 60 percent of your time into what's important to you (not your ego, not your gremling), then your life gets a boost of energy and you start to get things done before they do. become urgent. You start doing all the other things in the other quadrants because of that quadrant.


You gain the possibility of no longer having a to-do list, because everything you do is from a place of catalyzing your purpose in the world. You brush your teeth as Love, you pick your child up from school as Adventure, you attend a meeting at work as Clarity, you become the bright principles of the Universe.


You regain your power to choose what you want to do instead of what you should be doing. You stop being a victim who doesn't have enough possibilities. From that place you gain the possibility to access much more energy to deal with the other quadrants because your soul and your heart will be nourished.


To get out of confusion, overload, procrastination, one of the main muscles to practice is that of conscious anger. It is through this energy that you are able to access what you really care about.


If time, focus, clarity, decision is a problem in your life, then I invite you to a space to practice these skills that is the Clube da Arage.


Dates for upcoming Practice Rage Spaces:

  • Rage Club in Portuguese - 5 meetings, starting March 29th, Wednesdays from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm BR and 9:00 am to 11:00 pm PT

  • Rage Club in English- 6 meetings, starting April 11th, Tuesdays, from 7am to 9:30am CET timezone.

  • Rage Club in Portuguese - 5 meetings, starting May 16th, Tuesdays from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm BR

To ask questions about and apply write to me here.


EXERCISES


1. What strategies do you use to avoid pain?


For a week write in your diary all the things you've been trying to avoid, a tip is to pick up phrases with "I don't want". "I don't want to have this discussion with my partner about my marriage", "I don't want to talk to this person", "I don't want to commit to this project", "I don't want to eat sugar anymore", "I don't want to skip the gym anymore".


After that write in front of each of these things you've been avoiding what the feelings are behind that thing. Like: I'm afraid I'll put shit on the table with my partner and he'll choose to end the relationship with me; I'm afraid of not stopping eating sugar and gaining weight, I'm afraid of committing myself to this project because I'm afraid I won't be able to do it.


And then you look for a space helper to complete that emotion and thereby find what you want. You find through feeling what you want, rather than what you don't want.


Instead of "I don't want to eat more sugar" you can choose "I commit to taking care of my physical body and nourishing it with Love".


Instead of "I don't want to have this discussion with my partner about my marriage" you choose "I am Integrity and Honesty in my marriage."


By doing this not just mentally, but in every body, where your focus is going changes. It ceases to be in the thing itself, because you are avoiding it, and becomes directed towards what you actually decide to create. The flow of energy takes on a new direction.


You can test it yourself and find out what happens.


2. Take 3 sheets of paper. Draw in each one the 4 quadrants of importance by urgency. On the back write SER, GREMLING, BOX.

Start mapping from the perspective of these 3 parts of you, where you place your focus from the perspective of each of these parts of you. What does your box (ego) consider as important and urgent? How does your Being fill these quadrants?


Use this as a basis for researching where you've been investing your time.


3. Invite a friend to do this exercise with you. You will experience accessing your anger and fear consciously to speak what matters to you.


Your partner, partner will put on the timer 7 minutes. You will climb onto a chair and stand right on the edge of it. You will ask that person to ask you angrily: "What are you angry about?". And then you will start talking. Allow yourself to be surprised, let the words come out before you think. As you speak, your partner encourages you to go higher, to keep going.


After 3 minutes this person will ask you: "What does this anger show you that you care? What do you really care about? Let the dragon inside you speak. Go!". It is important that you, as a partner, are with the person, saying go, repeating the question.


After 7 minutes, you switch roles. Those who supported the space now have a chance to speak.


Hint: Put your cell phone to record. In this exercise, surprising things come to light that you've never said before!


Lots of fun and experimentation for you!


Material used to this research: - My own experiments

- This worktalk held space by Ana Norombuena

- This workshop I held space


With Love, Gabriela

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