Every morning we are presented with a truly tremendous opportunity: the next 24 hours will present many decisions on how to spend our time, what to focus upon, how to react to events and how to deal with our thoughts. Knowingly or unknowingly, we make many small decisions every day – decisions that cumulatively add up to form our lives.
What time do you get up? What are your morning/evening rituals? How much time do you spend watching television or playing games? What do you choose to eat and drink? How many hours a day do you devote to your creative endeavours? How often do you procrastinate and put off important tasks in favour of mindless distractions?
Are you wasting too much time on activities and tasks that offer minimal short-term benefits but no long-term growth? Do you find chunks of time disappearing? Furthermore, have you ever spent time really considering your future? Where do you want to be? How do you propose to get there?
Our daily routine – what you choose to repeatedly do every day – is something we have a lot of control over. There is much potential to be had if we excel in creating, and sticking to, a beneficial routine. To be good at anything, it takes deliberate practice: constructive routines and consistent habits over a period of time enable us to reach our goals.
Spending your evening after work aimlessly browsing silly YouTube videos, reading random celebrity gossip, watching television, or playing games – these activities may well prove stimulating in the present moment. But afterwards you find yourself drained of both your time and energy.
These are not nourishing, engaging activities – it is just passive consumption. You must dramatically cut down time spent on these activities. You may find that once you cut down, you don’t feel the need to indulge in those petty activities at all. Finally, you understand just how precious your time is.
We may feel good temporarily experiencing pleasure in the short-term, however our future is sacrificed for mere sensory thrills that have no value beyond the present. By acting in align with our goals and truly immersing ourself in the task of achieving maximum progress, we can achieve the buzz of progress which easily trumps any short-term feelings of fleeting pleasure of procrastination.
Whilst we may not have total control over our time, we do retain some levels of control. We choose what we allow into our mind and which habits we practice. We must learn to organise and plan our time carefully, ensuring that we stay on track to achieve our goals, whatever they may be. All of us have different amounts of responsibility and essential daily duties: jobs, families, companion animals, study and so on. However, just because we are busy with those essential activities, it doesn’t mean we have no time, just less of it. We must therefore be even more careful with how we spend it.
Also key to maintaining momentum is keeping a level head. We must learn to manage how we react to frustrating people, events or situations. Central to our ability to use our time wisely is to be committed and disciplined in our action – this becomes increasingly difficult to do if we let negative thoughts and situations cloud our mindset and tempt us into distraction. With deliberate practice and patience, we can train ourselves to change our mental conditioning and develop a more robust mind.
Regarding time, let us remember two fundamental truths: you cannot reclaim lost days and you do not know when your time will run out. It shouldn’t be for many years, however one cannot be certain of that. This is why we can be absolutely certain that we must strive to make the most out of each day’s potential. A day wasted is a day that you could have spent putting yourself one day closer to your goals. Instead, a day has vanished and you are in exactly the same position as the day before. You are one day older and have nothing to show for it.
We must strive to extract the absolute maximum value out of each day – if we don’t we reduce the potential quality of our personal life, as well as the impact our lives will have on others. Each day wasted is a day you will not have again; the true cost of laziness and procrastination is this limiting of our potential.