Life is crazy, and we don’t always have enough time or energy to get through the day let alone have time for asana or study, or anything else for that matter. Here are my top five tips for maximizing your ability to life your life on your terms, in no particular order (because they are all important).
Do something physical every day.
Warrior Mage is a class of being that any of you RPG fans out there are probably familiar with. It’s the class everyone wants to like, but in reality the two skill sets just seem to not ever want to mesh correctly. Everyone wants to shoot fireballs like some sort of crazy one person Pompeii, or they want to massacre a whole group of enemies with just their fists. No one wants to do a little of both, but suck at each one.
The good news is, and I have it on good authority, that specialization is for ants. We’re not characters programmed into some game that can never break outside of the walls that were set in place for us. We are capable of a lot more, infinitely more.
Chances are, if you think of yourself as a magician or otherwise of magical persuasion, you’ll probably have far more books than exercise equipment on hand. In fact, if you are like me, the idea of physical exertion is somewhat distasteful, after all my mind is my most powerful ally. Right? Right?! Well, hold on a second. Yes, your mind is an amazing tool, but research shows that your mind works best under the influences of the happy chemicals that are released when you work out. And you’ll have more energy to squeeze in the rituals or study or whatever else into your day.
It doesn’t have to be a lot either, do a little bit every day. Even something as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood, or a little yoga at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised at the benefits you’ll gain, both in your mundane life and in your magical practice.
Create something every once in a while.
You don’t have to be an artist, a writer, or otherwise archetypical creative person in order to benefit from this hack. There’s something about creating, manifesting an idea into the world, that really boosts pretty much everything good about life. If you are that typical creative person, you already know what to do. Just make some time to do it (easier said that done, I know). And no, making art/words/whatever for work absolutely does not count. I can’t suggest specifics for actually making the time since all of our lives are so different, but I will say devise a plan of action and stick to it. If you plan on spending an hour at a coffee shop sketching, actually do it, even if it seems like a frivolous waste of time. Trust me, it isn’t.
Ok, so that’s covered, but what if you aren’t someone that has a well known creative outlet at hand?
“Dear Ashley, I don’t have anything I can create, I suck at life, and everything I make turns out crappy”
Stop right there, that’s a damn lie! Do you know how to cook? If not learn, it’s something pretty much everyone who is not a toddler or small child can do. That right there is a valid outlet for creativity, and in fact what is more meaningful than making beautiful and tasty sustenance for yourself and your loved ones? Can you garden? Create a spot in your yard or in a pot where you manifest a tiny ecosystem for you own amusement. The methods are endless, the implementation is the tricky part.
Streamline Your Meals and Grocery Shopping.
This is so important if you are crunched for time. Unless you really enjoy the shit out of grocery shopping, and I’m sure someone out there does, there are a few things you can do to minimize headache and speed up the whole ordeal.
Make a list. This is the #1 thing you can do to make sure you don’t buy extra stuff you didn’t intend to, and so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what you need for the week, which leads to…
Know what you are going to make ahead of time. Plan out all your meals, snacks, and beverages you are going to make until the next time you plan on shopping. If you try to figure out what you are going to make at the grocery store, then you are guaranteed to forget items and waste a bunch of time standing in front of the broccoli like a deer in headlights.
Buy in bulk. Having oatmeal for breakfast every morning? Only need a teaspoon of oregano? Buying in bulk is your friend. Remember, you pay extra for all the packaging and marketing for items that come in boxes. Buying in bulk lets you go around that, and if you need a lot or a little of something, you can get exactly how much you want. Legumes, rice, and flour are prime targets for bulk buying along with spices.
Plan for meals with shared ingredients. If you plan on making something with chickpeas, then you can also plan on making falafel, or hummus, or something else requiring that same ingredient. It cuts down on cost to do it this way, especially if you are buying ingredients in bulk. Buying lots of small amounts of speciality products generally costs more than getting a larger amount of a few ingredients.
Stop consuming pointless media.
I think it probably goes without saying, but there isn’t much to be gained to improve your life or to do your will by watching reality TV or cooking shows. Direct experience is always greater and more valuable than indirect consumption of other people’s ideas. I think the video below sums it up nicely, even if it does date itself by referencing Bill Clinton.
We have to be the ones to create our reality, if we ever want to be a part of something interesting. You can’t do that if all you are doing is reading about it, or watching someone else do it. Always opt for doing, if you can. Any time you spend binge watching a show on Netflix is time you could be participating in reality. We submerge ourselves so deeply into sub-realities that are constructed for us, let’s break out of the walled garden do something awesome instead.
Use your time creatively.
Chances are if you live in this world, you spend most of your time doing work or chores or getting ready for work the next day. There isn’t much time to be had in order to devote to self fulfillment so you have to use what time you do have in the most creative and efficient manner possible.
I’ll give you an example. I have a desk job, like most people. I can do most of my work on autopilot with very little actual thought involved. Instead of sitting there for 8 hours in a trance, I try to use that time to learn and improve myself via podcasts and audiobooks. Obviously this is not an option for everyone, but it’s indicative of the kind of time management I”m talking about. Work in a self fulfilling thing whenever possible. That might mean podcasts, that might mean reading on your lunch break to teach yourself a new skill. It might mean learning a new language on your commute to and from work. It might mean, for me, doing various banishing and invoking rituals in the bathroom at work. If you have any time in which little conscious effort is required, see if you can also do something that will create value to your life at the same time.
So that’s a brief overview of some things you can do to get more out of the time you have and spend it on things you want to do, or get more out of the time you are spending on something that kind of sucks. Each topic could be it’s own entire post, and it may in the future, as such it’s not the final authority on anything.
Time is the most precious resources we have. If you aren’t consciously controlling the way your time is spent, then someone else is reaping the benefit of your existence.
Don’t let that happen.