Making the Most of Time

The hour is late and I should be asleep instead of writing this, but it’s been another long day at work and I’m tired. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle I’m still able to string words into coherent sentences. My eyelids are falling and my words–the ones in my head that I’m not even speaking aloud–sound like they’re slurred. But I’m pressing on, anyway.

You see, this year I promised myself I’d blog consistently. At least once a week, I said. On Thursday, I said. But this week came and went and in the midst of a couple of long days at work and the emotional day that lies ahead tomorrow, I’m here after 10:30 pm, writing.

In other words, I ran out of time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. And, in particular, Benjamin Franklin’s approach. “Dost thou love life?” he asked. “Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” I scribbled this quote in the margins of my bullet journal last week and they’ve been echoing in my head ever since.

In spite of his many other shortcomings, Franklin was a master at time management. Volumes have been written about his about his productivity, so I’ve been determined to emulate his methods to make the most of the my time.

A milestone birthday is on the horizon, and it’s a reminder that my days are finite. It’s scary and sobering but I’ve also been inspired to use every moment in a manner I can be proud of when I look back over the landscape of my life.

That approach has changed some of the ways I approach living:

Work

As much as I love my job and what I do, I’ve stopped giving my employer a “blank check” for my time. I’m much more conscientious about being focused at work when I’m there and closing up shop when it’s time to go home. In doing this, I’m free to pursue my other goals and passions.

Play

Social media, I love you, but you’re a time suck. Nowadays, I use the timer on my smartphone to limit the amount of time I spend on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter. As much as I enjoy sharing in other people’s lives, I also need to be busy living my own to the fullest.

Sleep

This one’s a biggie. I have a hate/love relationship with shut-eye. Although I hate that sleeping basically cuts the time we actively live by one-third, I’ve recently realized how much better–and more productive–my waking hours are when I’ve slept for roughly eight hours.

Until recently, I’d been getting by on between six to seven hours of sleep. We’ve had a colder than normal winter here in Seattle and on many nights, I found myself getting under the covers in the evening and falling asleep earlier than I wanted and sleeping for a full eight hours. But then the strangest thing happened. The brain fog that had been plaguing me for years lifted. My thoughts became less sluggish. Clearer. Sharper. I began to feel like my own self again. And with greater clarity of mind, I’ve been better able to focus on hitting my targets. Who knew?

With these changes to my routine in combination with an improved focus on my goals through bullet journaling, I’m confident this year will be a year I can look back on and know it was successful because I made time for the things that matter most to me.

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