“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
– Gandalf, from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
We all have the same amount of time given to us in a day, 24 hours. So, at what point in our lives do we actually make the decision and the intent to do something with the time that is given to us?
Some take their time and give in to unproductive activities, while some can laser focus that same amount of time, those same minutes of the day and achieve remarkable things. The later example might be perceived as lucky, or smarter than everyone else, but in most cases neither is true; these people simply made the decision what to do with the time they were given, the same decision that you and I have to make, everyday.
Of course, like so many things, it looks easier on the surface than it actually is (or as Gandalf says it is, because he just makes it sound so simple, doesn’t he?). Taking command of time isn’t usually something you can decide one day and everything is fine after that. You’ll probably have to reinforce and remind yourself of the decision daily, maybe even hourly, because we live in a world of never ending distraction coming at us from every angle.
So, how do you decide what to do with the time that is given to you? I’m pretty sure there isn’t just one single answer, but here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
1. Always have written goals. When you have written goals it puts you in a better position to know what to do with your time, because you can preface every decision with the question; will this get me closer to my goal(s)? If it won’t get you closer to your goal, choose carefully whether or not it’s a good use of your time. I’m not saying to be rigid and don’t have fun, you gotta have fun in life and the more the better, but sometimes (if you’re like me), you need a map to keep you on track to your destination, goals become that map.
2. Get rid of (or strictly limit) distracting and time wasting activities in your life, such as social media, watching TV, or anything else that you know might be a distraction. I’m terrible at this one, I get so easily distracted that I always have to remind myself to focus on getting one thing done at a time, otherwise I’ll end up working on multiple projects all at once and ultimately getting very little accomplished. How do I keep the distraction to a minimum? Well, as boring and unrealistic as it sounds, I schedule pretty much everything on a calendar and stick to it…well, most of the time. I schedule when to work, check email, exercise, read, and of course free time or, heck, even schedule an entire day to watch Lord of the Rings. I know it sounds too predictable, but for me I get more done and I don’t wonder where the day went.
Now please understand my friend, this isn’t easy stuff, well for me it isn’t. It took me years to figure it out, and the only reason I did was because life started veering off into directions that I didn’t want it to go. The proverbial ship without a rudder analogy. Yes, I still get easily distracted, sometimes I don’t stick to my own schedule, and there are occasionally days when I don’t know what I did with my time. But (looking on the bright side) I can say, though I don’t do it perfectly, I HAVE (in the words of Gandalf) decided what to do with the time that has been given to me, and I’ll do it with all my heart and soul.
If you have something to add to this, please do, I’m always open to doing things better.