XI – Time

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‘Lost time is never found again.‘  Benjamin Franklin

‘As the present now, will later be the past’ Bob Dylan

‘Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.’ Jean De La Bruyere

‘As we get older time seems more important. When we were kids we seemed to have an endless supply of it and the feeling we could do anything with our body because it would take it.’ L.G. – My dear friend

 

Time is the only resource (I can think of) that once spent can’t be renewed, recycled or reutilised. Yet, most people act like there’s an infinite supply of it. This can be seen as a good thing – we believe to be younger than we are.

We often hear saying that there isn’t enough of it. That there aren’t enough hours in the day for doing the immense number of things we “need“to do. We claim to utilise our time in what we call our priorities, but our actions tell the lie to our words.

We keep postponing the things we know we should be doing, the stuff we claim to be our priorities:

  • ‘Being healthy is my priority’, but one keeps eating fast-food and not exercising.
  • ‘My goal is to spend more quality time with my family and play with my kids’, but one keeps working 50-60hrs/week and turning on the TV the moment one gets home.
  • ‘I really want to learn how to play the guitar’, but one picks up the brand new guitar (bought impulsively on a moment of excitement), an average of 15 minutes/week.

One can come up with all sorts of arguments to justify why one’s time is not spent in their priorities. “I need my job”, that sounds fair enough to me – one’s first priority should be to provide for the family. But if one has to spend an unreasonable number of hours at it, at the sacrifice of family-time and even one’s health, maybe it’s time for a change. “It’s hard to find another job in this market”. Diversify, reduce your needs, cut on your costs and earn your pay check by doing something completely different.

I have found that it is possible to “find“more time in one’s day. It requires sacrifice, but mainly discipline.

  • Get up earlier than you do now. This is the only way I found to extend my day. Start by getting up 15m earlier every day for a week, the following week take another 15m and so on until you find your ideal time. Use this time to exercise, play the guitar, cook, gardening, write, read or whatever you claim your real priority to be.
  • Schedule. Book time in your calendar for me-time, play with kids’ time, exercise time, hobby time. When that reminder rings, stop what you’re doing and just do what you scheduled to do. Imagine it’s as a meeting with your boss; you can’t avoid it, only it will be to do something a lot more rewarding and less stressful.
  • Arrange with your better-half to have the time for yourself. Catarina and I usually give each other 1, 2, 3 hrs/day to do our own thing while the other looks after the girls and whatever household task is at hand.
  • Say no. This one can be extremely hard, especially on the job front if you have already set the expectation of being seen in the office at 7pm. It’s easier on other social commitments.

It does not matter what mind tricks we use to convince ourselves that we are spending our time in our priorities. It is extremely easy to know what your priorities are. I can tell you, without a doubt, what they are…

Your priorities are the things that you actually spend your time doing.

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