How to manage your time| A much needed guide on time management

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A still world

Einstein believed that time is an illusion, relative to the observer and differs depending on your speed through space. This accentuates the old saying “time fly’s when you’re having fun”. It also gives some truth to the idea of time being relatively slow when you’re trying to complete a somewhat tedious task.

That being said, it’s fair to assume that based on Einstein’s theory if you were to reach complete stillness, a complete lack of speed, you would presumably die. Though of course, even at rest our bodies are constantly moving and working internally to maintain homeostasis, so stillness, though it produces very little speed, doesn’t count for a complete lack of speed, as cells within ourselves are constantly moving by converting chemical energy; from the constituent parts of food and allowing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our bodies main energy source, to capture this chemical energy and convert it into mechanical energy, resulting in the movement of cells and whole body organs, even if it’s involuntary. 

We are constantly moving, our cells themselves are constantly active, in this battle against time it’s important to know how to use it to our advantage.

Many people may struggle with time management and keeping up with the demand of life. As time goes past it feels almost impossible to get a grasp of what it is you’re trying to achieve throughout the day and by the time you know it much of the day has already gone and becomes lost forever.

Now, I know that many of you who have clicked on this post may feel as though you can’t cope with the speed at which time moves and if that’s the case you may also want some ideas and tips on how to better manage your time.

Well, regardless of who you are, whether you’re a; full-time student, a person with a busy schedule or career, this post will give you some ideas that will, at the very least, provide you with a better perspective on how to manage your time and more importantly what you should take into consideration with regards to how you spend your time. 

The grand clock

Plan your time. It is better to have a plan and make small adjustments to that plan knowing that you’ll eventually reach the same, if not a greater, end goal than to not have a plan at all.

Everyone, regardless of who you are as early on in life or right this moment should have a plan for the next few days and the next few years of your life. These can be minor plans or life-changing ones; From planning what to eat for dinner tomorrow in order to save time or moving countries for better career opportunities.

Whatever you do, before you take a single step into that door called the future, plan it out. You will thank yourself later and you will be a more prepared person because of it.

While planning our lives, however, we tend to forget the present and instinctually take it for granted. We get so carried away with what’s to come we never truly appreciate our current moments of happiness, however small or large they may be.

I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of living too far ahead into the future as we tend to forget how to live in the moment and get so caught up with trying to achieve our future endeavours that the present moment slips away, but, we’re learning and slowly but surely we’ll all be able to feel life in all its essence as it passes us by and bid it farewell as we move to a better future, but never take it for granted and always appreciate it in the current moment. 

Appreciation in meditation

One way to appreciate your current moment is through the act of meditation. There are many forms of meditation, from mindfulness techniques to repeating a sort of mantra to remind yourself of all that is right in your life and what you should be thankful for.

Whichever form of meditation you use it is in your best interest that you allow yourself to be completely immersed in the current moment, whether it is in the form of completing certain acts such as meditation or everyday activities such as eating, they will both allow you to focus on your present self.

For instance, the next time you take a bite out of an apple really take that bite, again we tend to worry so much about future endeavours to the point that activities such as eating become almost robotic; eating out of sheer necessity, instead of appreciating what we’ve been given in the current moment.

So next time you bite that apple, enjoy it. Taste it and allow yourself to appreciate its complexity; its shape, its taste, its colour everything about it. Then you will understand how it feels to truly immerse yourself in the current moment. Of course, don’t spend an hour eating an apple, prioritize and plan your tasks, but those few minutes it takes for you to enjoy it, enjoy it thoroughly.

The race against time

At the end of the day, in life, there are absolute truths and there are absolute lies. Your absolute lie is called life and your absolute truth is death.

I know for some its a scary thought but hopefully, you’ll learn to accept the truth no matter how bitter and be able to carry on living and learning, being useful to yourself and those around you, but most importantly at peace with your being. 

Before we die I’m sure many of you, myself included, have plans and goals that you want to carry out in the hopes of achieving them. So, before your passing, get your affairs in order, know exactly what it is you want, and start doing those very things, lest death shall take you and you pass a lesser person than you initially set out to become. That in itself is one of life’s biggest regrets. The meeting with death before the completion of true life.

However, don’t confuse this with lesser self-worth, if you’re consistently aiming for betterment then it is not your fault for not achieving everything, death is, of course, unpredictable and to be satisfied with less is one of the various keys to happiness.

How not to waste time

While knowing how to be more pro-active in the way you manage and use your time you also have to take into consideration how to not waste time. One of the things most people tend to waste their time on is over-thinking.

A lot of the time, when you are so focused on an end result you may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of difficulty associated with achieving that result. This, in turn, equates to greater feelings of worry, stress and anxiety, all of which are detriments towards the pursuit of effectively completing tasks.

The best way to counteract these detriments is to acknowledge their existence as soon as they occur and utilize previously mentioned practices, such as mindfulness meditation, to push forward and complete your set tasks.

Another waste of time is social media. While it’s great in the sense that we can connect with vast amounts of people, it’s also a huge waste of time as most, if not all, of us tend to spend time on social media subconsciously comparing our lives to the lives of others, while simultaneously setting a standard to what true happiness is, independent of what happiness genuinely means to you.

This, whether you acknowledge it or not, is harmful to your well-being as it causes you to associate materialistic objects and superficial characteristics with happiness. Instead of trying to identify what truly makes you happy, you give in to someone else’s form of happiness, which may, in turn, cause you to believe that if you don’t attain someone else’s form of happiness you’ll never be truly happy, and that is far from the truth.

Instead, look at your happiness objectively and try to pinpoint what it will take to satisfy your yearning for happiness. I will write more about the idea of satisfaction in a future post.

The third waste of time is preparation. To an extent, preparation is needed to make tasks much easier to achieve. However, there comes a point where too much preparation leads to a lack of execution, thus limiting your potential to complete tasks. To counteract this waste of time, try to limit the amount of time you spend on preparation.

In the book ‘Algorithms to live by’ Brian Christian, a programmer and Tom Griffiths, a cognitive scientist, state that the mathematical solution to making a decision is 37%.

This is called ‘optimal stopping’, the idea that if you have a certain amount of time to complete a decision 37% of that time should be dedicated to preparation.

For example, if you have given yourself 30 minutes to complete a task, you should only allow yourself to use 11 of those minutes to prepare for the completion of that task. After that amount of time you should begin your task.

The overall amount of time can be set by you and must be realistic in order to gain quality research necessary for the completion of the task. Remember, life is too short, do what needs to be done as soon as possible.

As always I hope that you’ve gained some guidance and something of value from this post. Feel free to email or message me on social media regarding any topics you may want me to discuss on my next blog post. All links are on my home page. Until next time, keep questioning, keep being contemplative and always be mindful. 

 

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About the author

The scholarly mind

I'm a Writer, life-style blogger and a lover of knowledge. I aim to help those who may need it, whether its self-improvement, productivity tips or the occasional love advice, I'm here to help.

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