Some of my readers will know that I have recently had some major health issues to contend with, and whilst recovering it made me reflect a little on my life and how I spend it, and whilst I’m very happy with my overall contribution to both my family and others, I’m also very conscious that perhaps my true life purpose can sometimes get lost in the day to day run of the mill activities and so I don’t always make time for what is important.
How much time do you spend on the most important aspects of your life – you know those activities that add to the fulfillment of your life purpose? Has your life changed considerably in the last year? The last 10 years? At your current rate of progress, where will you end up 10 years from today?
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Many of us live the same day repeatedly. We get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. The next day is a re-run. We all have other things we’d like to accomplish, but it seems that we run out of day before we have time to work on the more meaningful parts of life.
Try these activities to make time for what is important
- Create a to-do list each day. Spend a few minutes each evening and make a list for the following day. Decide how you’re going to spend your time each day. Include tasks that address both short-term needs and long-term objectives.
- List your focus for the next year. It might be to get a promotion, increase your skill on the piano, or become a more effective parent. It’s not possible to reliably create a fantastic life or accomplish amazing things without being aware of them beforehand.
- Focus on progress and forget perfection. Perfection takes too long. It’s also not much better than doing the job well. Perfection is often used as an excuse to spend too much time on a task. Do the task at the appropriate level and move on.
- Take a moment several times each day to evaluate your progress and activity. Are you spending your time wisely? Is there a better action you could be taking? It’s easy to be caught up in meaningless tasks. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything meaningful.
- Stop multitasking. It’s time for everyone to give up the notion that multitasking is efficient. Studies repeatedly show that multitasking is less efficient. Just because you’re better at multitasking than everyone else doesn’t mean it’s the optimal solution. Do one thing and then move on.
- Notice how you waste time. When you’re bored, how do you amuse yourself? What do you do when you procrastinate? Social media, television, web surfing, and texting are the more common activities. Notice how you waste time and recognize when it happens.
- Just say “no.” That simple word can be challenging to utter. We don’t like to disappoint others. Once you have a reputation for saying “yes,” the requests never stop. You’ll be driving your neighbor to the airport and get stuck baking the cake for every office celebration.
- Refusing requests is a way of respecting your time and goals. Avoid biting off more than you can chew.
- Schedule time for yourself. Outside of work, meals, and sleep, most of us fail to schedule adequately. If your dream is to author a novel, build time into your daily schedule to sit down and write.
- Declutter your life. Sure, get rid of the extra junk on the shelves, but there’s more to a full decluttering. Drop the activities, people, thoughts, and ideas that take up time or energy without providing an acceptable level of return. Let go of the things that prevent you from focusing on your life purpose.
It’s easy to squander away your time. With much of our days filled with work and sleep, it can be challenging to find the time for other activities. Define your purpose and make it a priority. Your life will be enhanced immeasurably.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor