How do your spend your time?

Our Most Important Asset

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p>This may be the best question you can ever ask yourself….How do you spend your time?

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p>Time is far and away the most important commodity in your life. First off, you never know how much you have left. According to the highly scientific deathclock I have 1,319,850,379 seconds left.

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p>Second, unlike money you can never make more or get back lost time. As the infinitely quotable Ben Franklin says, “Lost time is never found”.

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p>Third, how you spend your time ultimately determines what you will accomplish in your life. Also, with the exception of extreme natural talents, how much time you put toward a given activity will determine how skilled you become at it. Examples of this abound. Michael Jordan was still working on his jump shot for hours a day before the rest of the team even when he was the best basketball player in the world. Stephen King never lets a day go by where he does not write — even on holidays.

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p>So now that we agree that time is so important, the question becomes, what are you doing with yours?

How do we use it

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p>Remember Bill Murray in Groundhog Day where he is cursed to live the same day over and over? He finally learns to take advantage of this curse and begins doing things like taking piano lessons everyday until he becomes a virtuoso. This movie is an excellent illustration of our lives. We are given a set of seemingly endless numbered days and the questions is….what do we choose to do with them?

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p>One of the best excercises that we can do is to track our time for a week. You might be surprised what you’re actually doing with your time. Other good excercises are journaling or blogging which forces you to think about how you’ve spent your day. If writing a paragraph or two is too much work than an even simpler option is using Twitter which allows you to regularly microblog about what you’re doing (you can force yourself to write 135 characters…right?).

How should we use it

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p>Once you see how you’re using your time, you will probably want to redirect it to fit in with your goals for life. This is one reason that all the productivity gurus correctly emphasize planning and time management. You should plan big goals for the year and set up daily tasks that help you get to these goals. Covey has a good description of this process in his 7 Habits and First Things First books. I also like the simpler approached spelled out on Zen Habits. The bottom line is that you should have some process to make sure you’re using your time wisely.

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p>Now, there is a flip side of this argument…what if we don’t want to go through all this complicated goal planning? What if we just want to watch the latest reality show all day? Do we really need to use our time wisely? The simple answer is no, feel free to do whatever you want with your time, but I think it’s a shame when people don’t live up to their potential. Just think if Einstein decided physics was too much of a pain and he should just focus on the violin….

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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