“To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”
– Bruce Lee
Time is one of the most precious commodities we have. Each of our lives on this earth will span a given period of time. Seen in this way, each tiny increment of our time is a little piece of our existence, our lifetime. The good news is that it’s mostly up to us to choose how we use our time and in this choice lies the key to a great deal of our happiness and fulfillment.
The challenge lies in the fact that we are living in the age of distraction. It has been said that the average person spends 2.5 hours a day being distracted. At any given moment, there is a wide of range of options that we can choose from to keep ourselves occupied and entertained. Facebook, Twitter, email, Skype, web surfing, TV, music, Netflix, YouTube, we all have our favorites. At a recent lecture on leadership, Robin Sharma put it best in saying that the thing that keeps most of us from realizing our full potential is that we are too busy being busy.
I have been learning that it takes A LOT of time to bring your dreams to life and to walk the path less traveled. It takes a lot of energy too and this makes the choice of how we use our time that much more important. This choice includes who you spend time with, what activities you engage in, what content you consume and even what you think about. I know I definitely have days when I’m so busy thinking and stressing about the things I need to do that I end up wasting a ton of time and energy that would be better spent just getting them done!
Making good use of our time and energy will keep us feeling fulfilled and this in turn, keeps us renewed as we move forward, whether it’s in our careers, our relationships or in any particular area of our lives.
So how do we cultivate this practice? Being aware of the quality of your PRESENCE in whatever it is that you are doing at any moment is a great start. Are you really present in what you are doing or are you just mindlessly going through the motions, procrastinating, escaping or occupying yourself to relieve boredom? If that’s the case, chances are you’re wasting time rather than spending it.
The next level of this awareness comes from being mindful of the distinction between spending and wasting time in a more practical sense. This means consciously choosing what stays and what goes in your life, and discerning between what and who are worth your time or not.
Who do you hang out with most? Who do you talk to on a regular basis? What activities do you do daily or even weekly? How do you spend your alone time? It’s worth taking a moment to consider the quality of these uses of your time in the context of the bigger picture of your life. Are your choices resulting in fulfilling experiences? Are you moving in the direction of your dreams and aspirations? When you look back, will you be satisfied knowing that you spent X amount of hours scrolling through your newsfeed, watching weeks worth of TV and being in an ok relationship with Mr./Mrs. Wrong for months or even years?
Our lives and our time here are precious. Let us SPEND them accordingly. With people we love, doing what brings us the most joy and making the world a better place for having lived in it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and spending a few moments with me.
Written for The Daily Love (January, 21st, 2012)