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Friday, 31 March 2017

Ebere Sylvia: Make Every Minute of Your Time Count

This article was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine a while back. We talked and reminisced about a few things and the one that stood out was my birthday a couple of years ago. For the first time, he asked me how old I turned that year and I told him. Then we started to chitchat for a minute. We remembered every single detail of that day, the friends that came, the food, the dress I wore and unbelievably we remembered even the reigning songs that played that night. It felt like yesterday, the memories were so fresh; but guess what? That was 5 years ago. 5 years had gone by unnoticed.

This event brought me into an uncommon awareness that: fear is not the enemy; failure is not the enemy; time is. We have unlimited time to work with, and when we are not accomplishing enough while time still counts down. This can put a whole lot of pressure on us. Time is the most precious resource we have, and yet the biggest enemy to humanity. I remember a friend telling me that determining whether you are old or young depends on your accomplishments. What have you done with your most precious resource time? What impact have you made with your time? What have you invested your time in? With this understanding we can see that everyday we point fingers at everything else – the economy; our family background; our failures; our fears; the government, forgetting that if we had unlimited time to get things done, all that won’t count.

The big question truly is how can we make the most of our most precious resource. What people and things are worth our most precious resource and what things are not? Time is of the essence, and here are but a few do’s and don’ts.

Spend your time with the people you love and care about
Obvious right? The secret sauce is in the ‘how’ and not the ‘knowing’ that you should spend time with them. I wish I could say spend time with the people who love you, but the honest truth is that, it is up to those people who love you to invest their time in you. Remember it is your most precious resource and should be used in caring for the people who matter to you the most. Let’s be selfish for a minute: it’s all about you. It is your time we are talking about here. Spend as much time as you can with them; not sitting around with them at home, but consciously choosing to do things together, things that create memories – memories that you will collectively appreciate, and live off of, in the future.

Spend your time doing the things that make you happy
These are things that resonate with you. We live in societies that try to determine what happiness means to us. A society that equates happiness and fulfilment to getting an education, getting a job and of course getting married. Spending your time on the things that make you happy, definitely brings about happiness and eventually fulfilment. Living a life that resonates with your authentic self, and not the life the society is encouraging, is a sure way to maximising your time. A life that resonates with you is a life that your heart beats for.
Spend your time creating that life, irrespective of what the society thinks. I stumbled upon an article written by Bronnie Ware. Bronnie was a nurse in a palliative care unit. She took a pool of the regrets of the dying people she was looking after and documented it. In that article, the top regret of the dying was “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself” Living a life true to yourself simply is, living the life that makes you happy – a life that resonates with you, doing the things you have always wanted. It is not just about the life family, friends and society expects of you. Time should be used to live our dreams.

Spend your time on productive activities
Activities that yield nothing is a no-no; your time is too precious for that. What is the outcome of those relationships and things your spending your time on? Ask yourself if the things and the people you’re about to invest in will yield. Will it yield things like a good friendships, a good marriage, a business idea, a collaboration, a job or spiritual growth? I mean, what is the outcome? What are they bringing to the table? Your time is your money, and you would never invest it in unproductive people/activities.

Spend your time contributing to a cause
Caring for humanity is another way to effectively invest your time. Being a part of something greater than you is a good way to give back to humanity. Time, as precious as it is, should be invested first in ourselves, and then in our society at large. Giving back to the society or to the universe can be done in so many ways; helping the poor, the sick, the orphans or supporting a cause that would benefit others for good is a good way to invest your time. That is your contribution to humanity.

Do not spend your time on things that bring you temporary happiness
A lot of things may cause us a lot of happiness in the now, but may be detrimental to our tomorrow. It might make sense to cut corners and engage in a lot of dubious and self-sabotaging activities to get by. But that would mean sowing bad seeds into our lives; your time is your life. One way to ensure you’re not investing time in temporary happiness is to always ask yourself if a few years down the line, the decisions you have made or about to make, would be something that would look good on you.

Do not spend your time on wrong, negative and toxic people
If you learn to observe and look around you, you may find people who always try to make you look bad, feel bad or plain trying to take advantage of you. They are people who think you’re not good enough, and go all out to show you that. They have absolutely nothing positive to contribute to your life; those are the people I’m taking about. They may be amongst your family, friends, colleagues and may even be the person you’re in a relationship with. If you know how precious your time is, you would spend it with the right people not the wrong and toxic ones.