Social Icons


Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Great Equalizer

If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that life isn’t always fair. Some people are born rich, some born with Greek god like genes, some with the gift of the gab and some with higher order intelligence. There’s no saying how these traits will be doled out but one thing we’re all endowed with, is the same amount of time… the great equalizer. Billionaire CEO’s and day-by-day vagabond’s have the same apportioned hours to consume in a day.

Time is a commodity that can only be spent once. No matter how much of money I spend, I can always make more, but if I waste my time, I can never get it back.

If there was one super power I could wish for, it would be to control time. I certainly would get a lot more done in a day. Most people feel helpless when it comes to time slipping away but we don’t realise that we have more control over it than we think.

In a 24 hour cycle I need to go to work, spend two hours in traffic, eat multiple times, go to the gym, shower twice, cook, clean, study and earn 8 hours of sleep. When the pressure is on, exam stress kicks in and work deadlines loom, I realise how valuable my time is. 

I’ve also begun to realise what and who wastes my time.

Not everyone is worth your time. As pretentious as it may sound, it is a fact of life. If I spend time with people who don’t add any value to my life, rub me the wrong way or who are completely egocentric, no matter whom they may be or how smart they are, then I would leave the social appointment feeling as though it wasn’t worth my time, my advice and maybe even my money. Don’t get me wrong, some of the people we spend time with in our personal lives, our family and closest confidants can also waste our time, but they’re worth it. It’s the kind of relationships where we consistently express concern and care for each other. Those are the kinds of people I want to spend my time with. Big difference.
Back to the future!
Of late, I don’t have a problem writing off bad investments. It becomes a little harder when you’re emotionally invested but at some point toxic time wasters will have to be axed, well, to a certain degree at least. Be careful not to burn your bridges. Just invest more wisely and frugally.

Time offers us a plethora of selections. Cherry-picking tasks to spend time on will determine your success in different spheres of life. When I’m building consistent work ethic I often feel guilty for time that I “waste”. Playing a game of FIFA13 when I should be studying is an exemplary example. In my gut I know I should not be playing, that’s when I know I’m wasting my time. We all need time to relax and have fun but we need to strictly define those times and evaluate how much of it we really need and how much of it is being wasteful. My primary and most important form of entertainment is socializing with friends. The benefits of socializing and networking don’t need elaboration.  I rather do this than veg out in front of the tv. If I do spend time playing some xbox or sleeping in, it’s because I chose to do it because I need it… to slow down, to settle my mind and be free for a while. It's been two weeks since I switched that xbox on for more than five minutes.

I’ve limited my television watching down to a few minutes a day during meal intervals. What happened on the last episode of Suits won’t change my life, so it can wait. I’ve identified things that don’t help me achieve my goals and I’ve eliminated them. 

One of the most essential life skills that isn’t taught well enough in schools is time management. Over the years I’ve watched masters of the concept operate with superhuman efficiency. For some, structure comes naturally. For others, it’s a habit that constantly needs to be repeated and refined. Once perfected, you’ll be able to manage your life effortlessly so that time management becomes second nature. To quote Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit”.

I’m not going to weigh you down with a stringent 12-step guide on how to manage your time but there are a few key principles involved in effective time management. 

1.       1) Maintain a to-do list. Blackberry? iPhone? Of course. Make a little note and keep updating it as you go along. Having these tasks written down will free your mind, help you compartmentalise your time and keep you from forgetting essential tasks. You don’t want to wake up at 2am every other day and run through your weekly tasks in your head in case you forget.
    2) Use time wisely. Don’t waste precious moments bumming around the internet or flipping through a gossip magazine.
    3) Reward yourself. You’re not a machine. Take time to rejuvenate your body and mind. Without the brief respite from your busy schedule, you can be sure that things will fall apart. Mental fatigue is a reality. It can lead to depression and all sorts of other psychological and physical disorders. Some weekends I can only manage a 2 hour lunch appointment or a cup of coffee with a friend, other weekends I’m afforded the luxury of a night out on the town. I go to the gym four times a week and play soccer once a week. It allows me to keep my mind sharp and focused. It’s during these ‘down’ times that I’m best able to be creative and formulate new ideas for tasks at hand.

No matter how your schedule plays out, it’s up to you to determine how much rest you need and when you need it. If you’ve just gone three days with barely any sleep, skip the gym. Your body could do with a rest.
Ultimately, it comes down to how badly you want to succeed in your career, relationships and finances. Without this purpose and a passion for excellence and efficiency, all the advice in the world won’t help you.

I’ve become quite pedantic with how I manage my time. I’m learning to better focus my time on fruitful endeavours and in ways that build character and add wealth and wisdom to my life. I spend my time with people I care about and doing work that I love. If there are people or tasks in your day that waste your time and leave you feeling down and drained, ditch it. 

You’ve just given me 3 minutes of your time that you’ll never get back. It’s been spent.
The clock is ticking your life away. One minute at a time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s 7pm and I’m going for a run. Dinner needs to be ready in 90min.

Salvador Dali - The Persistence of Memory

1 comment: