1-Sentence-Summary: The Art of Stopping Time teaches a framework of mindfulness, philosophy, and time-management you can use to achieve Time Prosperity, which is having plenty of time to reach your dreams without overwhelm, tumult, or constriction.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
What would you say if I asked you what the most valuable physical object is on earth? If you guessed gold, you’d be wrong. Rhodium wins by a long shot at almost $20k per ounce!
And yet, there’s something even more valuable than all of these “precious” metals. It’s more valuable than anything else on earth, and you can’t even touch it. It’s so valuable that when people die, their only wish is that they had more of it.
The answer to this riddle is time. Its value is immeasurable because of what you can do with it. You can become anybody you want with enough time. And possibly the most sought-after thing in the world is time with loved ones.
The trouble is, this resource is scarce. And what’s worse, you’re running out of it. But what if you could somehow stop time? What if, as crazy as it sounds, you actually have more time than you think and can get your “lost” time back?
These answers and more are the subjects of Pedram Shojai’s The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People.
Here are the 3 of the most helpful lessons this book taught me:
- Not all time is created equal, its usefulness depends on your energy, mindfulness, and what you’re doing.
- Think of your time like a garden that you have a limited amount of resources to nurture.
- Slow time down by being mindful.
Ready to discover the power you have to stop time? Let’s go!
Lesson 1: What you get out of every hour of the day depends on what you’re doing, how much energy you have, and whether you’re present or not.
Say you had a time machine that only had the power to stop time. It would be pretty amazing to have infinite hours to work, rest, play, or do whatever else you wanted, right?
And yet, what do you tend to do with the free time you get now? Do you spend it glued to your phone, wasting precious minutes scrolling through social media? If you’re in that habit now, chances are you might not use your new time machine so wisely.
If you look at time from a mathematical perspective, it’s very fixed. An hour is always 60 minutes or 3,600 seconds. But not all hours are created equal. You can get more out of an hour if you wisely manage these three components:
- How you spend it
- Your energy
- How mindful you are
Let’s first talk about how you spend your time. An hour spent on meaningful, useful, interesting, or pleasurable activities is much more valuable than if you use it to surf the internet.
Wisely choosing your activities improves your life and gives you more knowledge, money, or fitness, depending on how you use your time.
Energy comes next. You know how hard it is to do anything worthwhile if you’re exhausted. And when you’re well-rested it feels like every hour goes better and is more enjoyable.
Finally, we have mindfulness. When you’re in the present, it’s a lot easier to enjoy your time. But if you’re stuck in the past or future, you’re either sad or anxious.
Lesson 2: You only have a limited amount of resources you can use to make your time garden flourish.
Imagine your life is like a garden full of plants that you’re trying to grow. You want to nourish each plant so it can do well and produce fruit. But the problem is, you only have so much space and water.
Each plant in the garden of your life is like an area of life you want to grow. It might be spirituality, relationships, finances, or fitness. You may want more than this, but if you want these plants to flourish you’ve got to be selective and only pick what’s essential.
Once you do identify your priorities, you have to manage your resources carefully if you want your life plants to thrive.
The “water” in your garden is like your time, energy, and attention. Use it wisely, because if you pour too much into one plant, or area, you could kill the others. Some people overfocus on their work, for instance, and their relationships and health suffer.
Sometimes you get opportunities to add new plants to your garden, but be cautious. These can take resources away from your more essential plants.
Say you have an old friend come back into your life but you don’t have much in common anymore. You might hang out with them to be nice, but that takes time and energy away from your work and family, which are a lot more vital.
Lesson 3: Mindfulness is the key to slowing down time.
Do you ever finish eating and wonder why your food seemed to be gone so fast? And don’t you hate how you don’t get to savor your food when that happens?
It’s a regular thing for me, unfortunately, usually because of how quickly I eat. But I’m realizing now that I eat so fast because I usually am on my phone while I eat. And that’s why I don’t get to enjoy my meals as much anymore.
I hate that experience because I love food!
The way we fix this is also the key to slowing and even stopping time, in a sense. And it works no matter what you’re doing. All you have to do is put down your phone or whatever else is distracting you and mentally concentrate on the experience.
Try it at your next meal and see how much better it is. Don’t just remove distractions. Actually, enjoy your food. Think about the smells, flavors, and textures with each bite. Eat slowly and enjoy every piece of your meal.
As you try this, you’ll start to experience the miracle of mindfulness and its power to slow time down. The minutes, and the experience of eating, will actually register in your brain instead of being a weak afterthought.
Try this with everything you do and you’ll start to find that everything will slow down. And maybe, with enough practice, you can even make those little moments feel eternal and stop time.
The Art Of Stopping Time Review
I’ve summarized so many books about time management and mindfulness that they all seem to blend together. But The Art Of Stopping Time merged the two in ways I hadn’t anticipated, and I was pleasantly surprised. These principles might not be new, but they are important and that’s why they get repeated.
Who would I recommend The Art Of Stopping Time summary to?
The 48-year-old who has just discovered mindfulness and wants to learn ways to apply it, the 31-year-old that recently got a promotion at work and is busier than ever, and anyone who has ever wished that time would just slow down.