One month to live, part 3
How would you rate your time use?
On a daily basis, are you using it maximally, moderately or minimally?
Although I’m very productive some hours of the day, I will be the first to admit that I waste too much of this precious commodity called time.
I love being challenged to improve my time use, and the book "One Month to Live" by Kerry and Chris Shook helps me do just that.
The authors write, "If you knew you only had one month to live, certainly those remaining minutes, hours, and days would become your most precious commodity.
"Like a billionaire who suddenly discovers he’s down to his last hundred dollars, you would immediately stop taking your time for granted and would be aware of how you spent every minute. You would want each of them to be rich with enjoyment, significance, and investment in others."
To reflect on and analyze time use, they offer these questions to consider:
» What consumes most of your time each day?
» How meaningful and satisfying is it?
» How much of any day do you spend time doing what you do best?
The authors add that if our days were numbered, we probably would spend them carefully and deliberately.
How deliberately are you spending your time?
Spending time deliberately would certainly rule out tolerating time wasters.
Television and the Internet can be major time wasters for many. If the purpose is for relaxation, that’s fine, but when, as easily happens, the watching or Internet surfing extends for hours and hours, and when there’s no purpose or real interest or enjoyment in what is being seen, then it crosses the line to become a time waster.
Here ARE more questions from the book to consider:
» What activities are wasted time?
» What was your biggest time waster this past week?
» What was the payoff for you?
» What keeps you from using that wasted time in more meaningful ways?
If I had a limited time to live, I would regret spending hours aimlessly watching television or surfing the Internet.
Spending time in more meaningful ways requires identifying some alternative activities.
Opting for those alternatives instead of comfortable time wasters involves jumping off the path of least resistance and making a conscious choice for the alternative.
What ARE some possible alternative activities?
» Reading. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar recommends reading something educational or uplifting for at least 20 minutes each day. For the average reader, that amounts to 20 books a year!
» Exercising. Improving fitness is one way to add years to your life.
» Organizing or decorating. For those who are enamored with the organizing and decorating programs, an alternate activity might be actually putting the good ideas to use and organizing and decorating the home or office.
» Other alternatives include volunteering, finishing unfinished projects, developing a new skill and getting together with friends or family.
The authors pose, "Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend life so that if you discovered you only had a month to live, you wouldn’t need to change a thing?"
That’s my goal, and I invite you to join me in that pursuit.
Have a happy, purposeful day!
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Her column runs the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.