Time: a limited resource, a valuable commodity and something we never seem to have enough of. We can’t buy, barter or sell it in order to get more. We can have more friends, more money and more stuff, but we’re running out of time every day. In fact, some people believe we’re born with a certain number of days. I don’t know about that, but I do know time is limited and most of us don’t use it wisely. We squander it on activities like Facebook, Candy Crush, the web, or searching 400 TV channels for something to watch. We disrespect it by getting caught up in gossip and arguments, or by fretting and stressing about stuff that never amounts to anything. We disregard its value and importance in our daily lives.
We put a lot of time into working long and stressful hours so we can invest money in a 401(k) and retire to a relaxing life. Yet during this time of encasing ourselves in stressful work and home environments, we don’t invest in ourselves and our relationships. Isn’t it crazy that we’re careful to ensure we have a nest egg for our retirement, but we don’t invest time in our emotional and physical health to ensure we’ll reap the fruits of our hard work in the form of an enjoyable retirement? My hope is that this article causes you to reflect upon how wisely you use your time, and to ask yourself whether you’re making the most of it.
Most people say they don’t have time to exercise, eat better or mend a relationship. We know the real truth. We don’t need a lot of time for these feats. We just need a consistent, wise investment in small amounts of time. If we spend 30 minutes a day exercising, over the course of a year, we’ll have a healthier body and mind, maybe a lower resting heart rate and better lung capacity, possibly lower cholesterol and normal blood pressure. Conversely, what if we invested that same 30 minutes a day on our favorite social media site? At the end of the year, we’d have …? Right. And, I’m not even sure it’s possible to spend only 30 minutes a day on social media because it pulls you into the black hole. It’s the constant, small deposits of quality time in the key areas of life like health and relationships that make all the difference in the world.
Conversely, a consistent unwise use of time is cumulative. If we choose not to exercise or not to communicate with family, time and time again, the negative consequences will reach out and find us. If you think these areas are too time consuming or require too much effort, just wait until you get a bad report from the doctor or divorce papers from your spouse. Then and there you’ll realize the enormous expense and time that you’ll need to deal with it. Neglect is easy to do, but it’s costly.
Here is my challenge to you: In the course of each of your days from now until the end of 2016, track the random uses of your time. The minutes and hours spent on social media, TV channeling, surfing the web, overindulging, complaining, worrying about things out of your control — all the things that add up and steal your energy. Then, minute by minute and day by day, replace the misspent time with small amounts of quality time that will add up and result in great things for your body, mind, spirit, relationships and life. After all, in the areas that matter the most to us, we can’t pull an all-nighter to make up for misspent time. What are you waiting for? Time is running out.•
Sharon Buechler (formerly McGoff) is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches Inc. The opinions expressed are those of the author.