“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thorough
“Hey, we’re going out for tacos tonight, you wanna come?”
“Nah, I got work to do right now.”
And I end up watching three episodes of Arrow.
But we all have the same time. We’re all living the same 24 hours, we just spend that time differently. We prioritize things differently. Some people will make sure to watch an episode of The Bachelor or Friends a day. Other people will fit in 90 minutes of weightlifting every day. We all spend time doing the things we care about. I’m a mix of both. I’ll try to exercise five times a week for about 30 minutes and I’ll sneak in a movie on the weekend.
Heres How I Use My Time:
I have a reminder going off each day at 8am reminding me of my purpose. “I’m a child of God and I am loved right now and whatever I do, success or failure will be seen as a success to God.” Following my “How I Get Things Done” post, I prioritize my physical, mental, spiritual health and working on building this blog. Everything I do must contribute to my purpose otherwise it’s a simply a distraction.
SINGLETASKING not multitasking.
We can’t multitask to the extent we want it to. Simple as that. We can multitask small things like listening to music or podcasts while driving, but we can’t write blog posts while watching an episode of Arrow at the same time. I do maximize my time by blending my commutes with podcasts. Warren Buffet says commuting is THE BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME. So by pairing that activity with one that will give me growth, I’ll turn a useless activity into a meaningful one.
We all also have a great ability to start things, but not finishing them. Singletasking is a great method for finishing your goal. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, let me ask you this question. How do you eat an elephant?
One Bite at a time.
Start small and only focus on one. That task is gone. Let’s move onto the next. Before you know it, you’ll hit all your daily tasks out.
SACRIFICE is a big word for me.
I’ve given up a lot of things that won’t help me forward. I limit my entertainment to only the NBA. Watching the NBA takes up a lot of time (2.5 hours), during the season, I force myself to either only watch the second half or the last six minutes of a game. I can keep up with the game on my phone through the app just by looking at the score and stats of the players. To me, a game is only worth watching if it’s close or if a player is making some statistical achievement.
For my diet, I sacrificed eating processed foods in my daily meals. I will eat them when I go out, but for my breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home, all my meals are identifiable (I know the ingredient of each item) and simple. Each item must belong to one of the food pyramid categories: fruit, veggie, grain, dairy, protein. I don’t drink sodas or any other carbonated beverages. Water, milk, and sometimes a beer are the only beverages I ingest. It also helps I don’t have a sweet tooth and have a big savory tooth. Doing this has helped me naturally keep my body in shape, healthy, and functional.
We live in a world where we want to be distracted. Our phones and social media apps were DESIGNED to be addicting. Instagram’s algorithm, for example, caters posts you interact with a lot be seen more and the ones you interact with less be seen less. I tend to use distraction as a defense mechanism from my priorities. At the grocery store when I’m standing in line, I would sometimes hold up my phone and look at social media instead of interacting with people around me. This habit built a wall around me.
I also procrastinate on certain things. I remember buying plane tickets and needing time to think. Instead, I was looking through social media and once I was done, I hit full send. Our world trains our brains to be distracted, with information that only affects us instantly, but not long term. By being on my phone at the line at the grocery store, I just lost out on the opportunity to meet new people. By being on the phone before I was thinking, I did not undergo the pros and cons of making this big decision.
Delayed Gratification is to push back instant pleasure for a better pleasure later. There’s a rule I follow called the rule of 10. When making a decision to do something, I ask myself if this decision would impact me 10 days from now, 10 weeks from now, and even 10 years from now. This exercise keeps in check about my priorities and my purpose, it makes me see if this activity now will give me instant gratification or delayed gratification.
Maybe watching The Bachelor or Friends is a reward for you. Finishing your tasks and then watching one or two episodes at the end of the day is enough. There’s a saying my household has for each other to motivate each other and I hope it motivates you. “We’re contributors of this world, NOT consumers of this world.” This world feeds you mental junk food and it’s not healthy. Which is why we have to give back to the world the healthy food it needs.
I’m also human. I can’t use my time with 100% efficiency. So I also ask this question. “Will doing this make me happy?” Will watching NBA make me happy? Will eating out with my friends make me happy? For me, these will be yes and yes. Applied with the rule of 10, NBA won’t matter to my purpose 10 years from now. Eating out with friends, it depends, because eating out with friends is a way for me to build relationships and to strengthen relationships.
This is how I use my time. Defining what my priorities are and following through with these priorities. Time is the one resource we cannot get back. So let’s use it wisely. Other things are a distraction and I can’t let them drown my life. Sacrifice the things that are distracting you from your purpose. Delaying gratification, the rule of 10, and asking if this activity will make me happy are methods you can take to make better use of your time. You’re important to this world and the world needs you. Don’t deprive the world of yourself and your purpose.