How to meditate when you feel like you don’t have the time

By Amber Murphy, content manager of Declutter The Mind.

Are you getting serious about meditating but you feel like you don’t have the time?

You’re not alone.

The most common excuse preventing people from meditating is a lack of time. In most cases, it’s simply failing to make the time. 

First of all, if meditation is a habit you really want to form, repeat it to yourself and make the commitment to do it consistently. We need to remove the obstacle we created within our own mind!

It could be as simple as writing it down. We want to internalize our goal.

We need to immediately create a direct connection between “saying” and “doing”.

The point is that what you don’t plan is not realized because you can’t do something that you haven’t planned to do. It isn’t enough to say “I want to do it”. You have to internalize it, just like any other goal you wish to achieve..

Now that we know we’re serious about making this a regular habit and part of our daily routine, let’s look at a few tactical ways to make time to meditate.

Set a meditation length that’s realistic for you

For beginners, the ideal is to try to start with just 10 minutes. 

If they seems low to you, you might be just a little too ambitious. (That’s okay though, we love that!) But if you’re struggling to find time as it is, keep it simple. 

Keep the meditation length to something like 10 minutes, and stick to it in the beginning.

Find the time (and make it if you have to)

This is one of the more challenging parts for beginners. The most difficult is actually “showing up”, which we’ll talk about later.

To find time, it’s usually about making time. Making time might mean something like waking up 10 minutes earlier in the morning, eating lunch 10 minutes earlier or later to squeeze in a session, or using downtime in your day to practice mindfulness.

The reality is nobody is actually too busy to meditate. Think about how much time we waste every week. Think about how much down time you have.

If you need a recommendation, wakeup 10 minutes earlier and practice a quick 10 minute session before having breakfast.

If the mornings aren’t a good time for you, try during a lunch break at work.

If you feel guilty taking a break to meditate during the day, think about it as an investment in your productivity. Those 10 minutes you spend to sit and observe the mind can yield dividends. It can make you a happier, more focused, and productive person. 

And worst case, if you absolutely think you can carve out time but still want to, use your down time to practice mindfulness. You don’t need to close your eyes to meditate. You can practice mindfulness while you drive to work, while you do dishes, or while you wait in line at the grocery store.

Schedule it 

If you already use something like a task planner or calendar to plan and manage your time, slot in your meditation sessions. 

This is extremely important.

Just like you would treat a meeting with a client or friend seriously, treat the meeting with your mind seriously. Find the time that works for both of you, schedule it in your calendar, and show up on time.

Set reminders and use technology to keep you accountable

Technology is interesting. Your phone can be the most distracting thing you ever will own. It can also be the thing that helps you be the most mindful you will ever be.

We recommend using a meditation app, like Declutter The Mind, to not only teach you how to meditate, but to keep you accountable.

An app like Declutter The Mind can set reminders for you, to remind you everday at the time to meditate.

Plus, apps like this gamify the habit a little. It tracks the amount of minutes meditated and the number of sessions you’ve had. This gives you a bit of self-satisfaction while also helping you form the habit of a regular practice. 

Just show up

Now that everything’s in place, what’s left?

You just need to show up.

Just like when people set a goal to go to the gym regularly, have the battle is just showing up. Meditating is like going to the gym for the mind. It takes a lot to just show up, but when you do, you’re more likely to actually go through with the meditation practice.

Whether that means you set a space to meditate or time, make sure you at least show up. Even if you’re not feeling like it. Even if you think you’re too busy. Even if you’re in the middle of something. 

Stop what you’re doing, take your seat to meditate, and see how you feel. 

Feeling anxious, bored, or uninterested in meditating can be a part of your practice. Notice these feelings and bring them into your 10 minute session.

Good luck!