“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs
Each and every single one of us has a finite amount of time. Just 24 hours in a day. Nothing more. Nothing less. But how often do we squander the time that we have, wasting it away on things we shouldn’t be doing? Once that time is gone, it’s lost forever. It’s not like money that can be spent and saved and earned and invested. You only get time once. Not twice. And that’s why time is so important. It should be cherished like the precious resource it is rather than thrown away.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some of your time to enjoy yourself. You absolutely should. It just means that you shouldn’t be careless with your time. You’re only going to get this very moment, right now, one time. That’s it. After that it will be gone. We don’t realize the preciousness of time until it’s taken away from us. Until it’s ripped away from us, we often can’t comprehend why time is so utterly important.
So I sit here today, taking the time to write this, to ensure that you value your time. Don’t let it slip through your fingers, wasting away into nothingness. That wouldn’t be fair to you or the people you love. Rather, invest the time into doing something productive and good for yourself and others all around you. That’s where your time should be placed. There’s not better way to invest it than in building something good and extraordinary.
How To Use Your Time Wisely
Since time can never be re-created, you have to use your time wisely. You have to do the things that you’ve been putting off for the longest, and do them first. Right when you wake up. There’s an element of momentum that builds when we start to work on something early on in the day. That’s just the way it goes. So, promise yourself, that for just 15 minutes, you’re going to work on that thing you’ve been putting off for so long.
That’s how you use your time wisely. I call this the 15-minute rule. All it takes is just 15 minutes. Now, it doesn’t matter what it is that you need to do. If it’s your taxes, balancing your checkbook, organizing your kitchen, working out or planning a healthy diet, it just takes 15 minutes. Here’s how you do it:
- Grab your smartphone or another timer
- Start the timer and begin what you’re doing
- Work on that task for just 15 minutes then stop
You know what will happen when you reach 15 minutes? First, you’ll probably want to continue. That’s just the way momentum works. Because you started, you’ll want to keep going with that task. Remember, an object in motion stays in motion. And an object at rest, often stays at rest. We’re conditioned to work this way. The hard part is just breaking that cycle of inaction. If you can power through that, then it’s all downhill from there.
Since we’re such creatures of habit, doing something that we aren’t conditioned to do is hard. It just is. We always revert to what we know and to the way we’ve been conditioned to behave. You know that just as much as the next person does. If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, then you know it’s hard. In fact, the hardest part is the first attempt. Did you know that habits take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to make or break? That’s pretty powerful.
The hardest part of breaking any habit is that first attempt. It gets considerably easier after that. When you have a few days behind your belt, it becomes more automatic. After a few weeks, it’s almost habitual. Your neural pathways are rewired and you start thinking and behaving differently. You barely have to give it a thought. It moves from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind.
Don’t Waste Your Time
Every moment is precious. If you’ve ever had someone close to you pass away, you already know that. But just knowing often isn’t enough. We still waste time because we’re creatures of habit. We’d rather not deal with the pain associated with taking massive action for fear of failure. What will everyone think? What will they say when they see you try and not reach whatever goal you’re trying to reach?
At the end of the day, other people’s opinions of you don’t matter. Life is short. Don’t waste it. Pursue your passions. Wake up feeling energetic and go out into the world and do something great. Add value. Give. Help. Contribute. Learn from others. And grow in the process. Become a better human, willing to serve your fellow man, giving to others even when you feel like you have nothing to give.
I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about time. It’s so important. Instead of pilfering it away, use it for good. Instead of binge watching series on television, go out there and donate the same time to others. Do you know how good that’ll make you feel? Just step outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t make much. All it takes is a willingness to break the shackles that bind you to your old habits and ways.
But even if you don’t contribute your time to others, don’t waste it. There is so much that we need to accomplish and so much that we need to achieve that wasting time doesn’t serve you. Anything that will zap your energy, will take away your time. So don’t engage in things that’ll make you feel depleted. Avoid drinking, doing drugs, wasting time with friends for hours on end, endlessly surfing the internet, and so on. Instead, direct the time towards good endeavors that will help you and others.
Your ‘Why’ Is Important To Your Time
What do you want out of life? What are your goals? Have you ever taken the time to write them down? How about creating a plan for their achievement? If you haven’t, now is the time to do so. But that’s not the only thing you have to do. You have to know why you want what you want. Your ‘why’ is so important to your time because it sets the bar. It gives you a destination. Something to achieve, but also a reason to achieve it.
When your ‘why’ is important, you’ll do virtually anything it takes to get there. It burns like a fire inside of you. Identifying it and pulling it out is where the real magic happens. Once you know why you want something, deep down inside, then you’ll do anything it takes to get there. I remember reading seeing a guy named Joe Stumpf speak at Dean Graziosi and Joe Polish’s 100k Group and he gave a talk called 7 layers deep.
It basically means that we all have reasons for doing things and wanting things. But often, the first reason is the superficial reason. As we go deeper and question each of those reasons, we come up with a deeper and more profound reason. When you can’t go any further, it’s your ‘why’ and that’s the reason you have for doing what you’re doing. It often starts in the mind and moves to the heart. When it gets to your heart, that’s when it becomes profound.
So, how does this work? Simple, take your big goal or idea that you have for your life, and ask yourself the following question:
What is the reason why I want to achieve or have that in my life?
For example, let’s just say you want to earn a million dollars. Why do you want a million dollars? Not because you want pieces of paper with dead presidents on it, right? Clearly that’s not the reason. So, what’s the reason? You might say that you want a million dollars so that you can buy a nice house. Okay, so that’s a superficial reason. That’s the mind speaking and not the heart speaking.
Next, you would ask yourself why you want a nice house? The answer will go deeper. You might want it so that your family has a nice place to live in a safe neighborhood. That’s going deeper, but not quite there. You might eventually say that you want to live in a safer neighborhood and have a nice place to live because, as a child growing up, you didn’t have a stable family environment or you moved around a lot or you didn’t live in a safe neighborhood.
So you keep going deeper. Then you might say that the reason you want to live in a safe neighborhood is because you don’t want your children to worry about being outside during the day or playing in the neighborhood after the sun sets. Then, you might say that the reason for that is because you want security for your family because you felt so afraid as a child growing up and you didn’t want that for your kids.
Can you see how this process goes until you get to the core? Now, this might not take you 7 layers. It might take 5 or 10 or any other number. But you keep going until the question equals the answer. Understand how that works? Coming up with a strong enough reason why you have to do something will make you be much more aware of the time that you spend on any endeavor. It’s a super strong motivator to say the least.
How To Manage Your Time
Cleary, you have to manage your time properly. You do that by getting very specific about what you want in life and making a plan of action to get there. Afterwards, it’s just a matter of following through. You set daily goals and bigger smarter (or smart) goals as well. Then, you work daily to get there. You ensure that you’re not wasting your time and that you’re pushing towards your big dreams.
I know that in my life, when I get very specific about what I want, and I make a detailed plan of action, I have an easier time sticking to it. I don’t veer off track because I know where I’m going. I also constantly analyze my progress. If on one particular day I’m falling behind, I know it and I can correct it. When you track your results, it’s easier to see that. This works for any goal that can be quantified.
And the truth is that your goals absolutely should be quantified. Otherwise, how else will you know you’re making progress. For example, if you want to lose weight, track the pounds (or kilograms) that you lose. Check your inches, because sometimes you don’t lose weight and just inches. And you have to do this every day. If it’s a money goal to save a certain amount of money, do the same thing but only with money. Track it every day and be very meticulous about it.
Clearly, there’s only so much time in the day to pursue our goals. Especially if you’re working a full-time job, you can’t expect to achieve big things when you don’t have much time. That’s why you have to squeeze every last second out of the day and make it efficient. Be careful of how much time you waste. Don’t spend it doing things that aren’t going to add to your life. Spend it on things that are going to help you and your family live the life of your dreams.
That’s why time is so important. It can truly be used for good. But it can also be used for bad. It’s the most precious commodity that we all have because no one can make anymore of it. The clock is counting down until your impending death and demise. I don’t say that maliciously. I say with the greatest intentions to help you see that you don’t have much time. Neither do I. Neither do the rest of us. So use it wisely. Don’t waste it. Invest it. And treat it with all the preciousness that you would treat a newborn baby.