“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” ―Denis Waitley
I love this quote. I remember reading it a few years ago. It was an epiphany for me. It forced me to ask, “What do I do with my time?” My answer at the time was a little embarrassing.
I love video games. I love movies. I love TV shows. I used to waste an unbelievable amount of time on these things. I’d work, I’d come home and flick on the TV or the XBOX and that was my night. When I look back, I realize how much time I wasted on frivolous things.
Entertainment is fine. We all need to relax our minds from time-to-time. When this entertainment takes over your life, it is no longer fine. I used entertainment to escape my responsibilities—the important things in life, like exercise, meditation, writing, reading, and learning. Now, when I am seeking entertainment, I enjoy it. It isn’t a numbing experience. It is not an escape or a means of procrastination.
There’s a good exercise you can do, to see how you are spending your time. Write everything you do in 5-minute increments for 5 working days. You don’t have to be exact. Just capture as much as you can to see where you are putting your time. The results will amaze you when you take your 5 recorded days and look at what you did or didn’t do.
We all have more time than we will admit. When I did this exercise, I discovered that I was wasting my life. I got up, ate, went to work, worked, came home, watched TV, and went back to bed. What a dismal unengaged life right?
What do you want to do with your time? Do you want to exercise? Do you want to read? Do you want to write? Do you want to build and run a business? The possibilities are endless. Choose the things you want to do and get them on your schedule. My first choice was exercise. I wanted to get in shape and feel better. So, I carved out some time in the morning to exercise every day. This is where I started.
Now, that I am retired, I structured my day with a bunch of activities. Reading, writing, learning, exercise, and meditation all take up a part of my day. I also enjoy reading the news, keeping my email in-boxes cleaned out, and interact on a few social networks. These are the things I enjoy doing. All of them contribute to the goals I have set for myself.
What are you going to do with your day? What are your goals? Where do you want to be at the end of the year? In five years? You can do whatever you want to do. It is up to you. Make choices. After you’ve chosen the areas you want to pursue, plan how much time you want to spend on each area of interest. Then get these things on a daily list or calendar.
Go out and find self-help books on planning, goal setting, and time management. Watch some YouTube videos. Take some online courses. You can also ask yourself, “What have I always wanted to do but never had the time to pursue?” If you’ve done the above time-tracking exercise, you realize how much time you really have. Go after this thing you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you wanted to learn how to garden. Maybe you want to start a coin or stamp collection. Maybe you want to start an exercise routine, take up yoga, or learn to ballroom dance. The possibilities are endless.
Life continues. Time continues. Why continue to follow the same path if you are unhappy with it? You can do whatever you want to. Weigh your options. Explore. Choose. You’ll be glad you did.
Until next time…