So many things are held to such high value, but to me, the most valuable thing is time. You can always make more money, you can always buy new things, but you can’t get back your time once it’s spent. Because of this I am extremely careful of how I spend mine.
What Time Is It?
So many people zombie through life and miss out on all the amazing things around them. There are golden opportunity to impress ones boss, learn a new skill, meet a new friend, and these slip by so quickly. Even if it’s simply enjoying the moment, being present, and keeping an essence of child-like wonder about your environment. Because of this when someone asks “what time is it?” it make you wonder two things:
- How are you so lost in time that you continually lose track of it?; and
- Even if you’re totally in the moment, does it really matter what time it is?
The first question can be a positive if you’ve lost track of time because you were completely present in a moment and enjoying it. However, too often it’s the opposite. So many are trapped in their heads, thinking about the past and dreaming about the future. Or worse, ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. Either way, if you’re in your head, you’re not in the moment.
The second question can be tricky. I feel that as long as you are following your passion and enjoying life, it really doesn’t matter what time it is. However, it’s important to realize when fun should be put aside in order to progress in your passion. “Do what others won’t, so that you can do what others can’t.” This has been thrown around in various formats all over the internet and may seem to have lost its power, but I do believe it is important.
To me, when asked “What time is it?” my response for the longest time, literally on autopilot, has been “It’s Game Time!” For those football players out there (past and present), I’m sure you remember this chant in the locker room. The one big lesson I learned from football, is that if your head isn’t in the game, you’re doomed before the ball is even hiked. So to me, I try to treat every moment like I’m in the game, in the moment, playing life.
However, to me, the game is always changing, and it’s important to be in control of it all. So how do I make sure I’m enjoying life, being present, but still kicking ass and taking names when it comes to my dreams and aspirations?
It’s Game Time!
The best thing I started to do to be sure I was optimizing my time was to keep track of it.
For a little over a year now, I’ve been using an app to keep track of everything I do throughout the day (aTimeLogger 2 [ iOS / Android ]). The first thing this did for me was point out how often I was simply wasting time. Playing video games by myself, playing games on my phone, randomly scrolling through Facebook, etc. It was eye-opening.
Now the reason using this app had such a tremendous effect on me was that I made sure to build it into a habit. I used it every day whenever I switched between tasks. By doing so I created a trigger—the switching of tasks—for my action. Interestingly, the reward I received was only gained when I did the “right thing.” Now the right thing can be different to you, but to me it works like this: If I am not having the most fun I can with people I love, then I should be spending all other time on improving myself.
The Power of Habit
So when I began noticing how much time was being wasted, I began to change my other habits. Slowly, I began to read more consistently, take more online classes, clean my apartment (still need work on that), work on my business, and more. Conveniently this began removing time wasted simply by filling my days with productivity. Because of this I felt better about myself, hence the reward.
Charles Duhigg‘s book, The Power of Habit, discusses the philosophy and science behind habit formation. First you must set a trigger, to take an action, that reaps a reward. This app was simply an action I could take while I triggered and rewarded myself. Coincidentally this resulted it better actions taken following the tracking simply to receive a better reward. I felt this was such a powerful life hack I began sharing with everyone I knew. And now, I’d like to share it with you!
So, let me know what you think! Leave any comments or questions you have, and if you try out the app, let me know how it works for you. Also, if you found anything in here useful to you and think it can help others, please share with the icons below.