The Gist:

  • Time is a finite resource and there are only a select amount of hours and days.
  • There is no more important decision you can make than what you do with your time.
  • Make sure your priorities for the day include what’s most important to designing the day, to ensure it aligns with the life you want.

“You live as if you were destined to live forever; no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.” Seneca.

Before the pandemic the average U.S. lifespan had been growing, mainly driven by people quitting smoking, but opiates and suicide have both reversed that trend. Now we’re down to about 76 years. Seventy-six years works out to 27,740 days, including 3,952 Monday mornings and the same number of Sunday afternoons. Neither of my grandfathers made it that far, though one of my grandmothers did live to 93. I still have both of my parents, thankfully, but I’m still extremely sensitive to time.

The more I recognize how fleeting time really is, the more I realize how much of it I squandered back when I believed it was abundant. Seneca’s words confront us with the idea that the person or thing we give our time to may not be worth it. He challenges us from his grave (he was believed to be 68 or 69 years old at the time of his death) to determine what we would choose to do if today was our last.

At no point in your life did anyone tell you that you own your life, free and clear, without obligation. No one counseled you to design the life you want, to spend your days doing what brings purpose and meaning into your life—and if they did, you probably ignored them. Many are unaware of their birthright.

All You Have Is Time

All You Have Is Time

The truth is that time is all we really have. If everything was taken from you, you would still have time. Yet we often make important decisions without considering the value of the time we are spending. Every sunrise tricks us into thinking that time is an inexhaustible resource.

The great question each of us must answer is what we will do with the time allotted to us. Your life and mine are made up of where we decide to spend our time—and what we deprive of time by that choice. We are all trading one thing for another.

Robert Browning wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp/ Or what’s a heaven for?” The idea Browning was pointing at was that to achieve something worth our time, we should attempt what may be impossible. Much of the time, our grasp exceeds our reach. We tend to major in minor things and minor in major things, exactly reversing Stephen Covey’s lesson on living a meaningful life.

There is no more important decision you can make than what you do with your time.

What Are You Willing to Leave Undone?

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What Are You Willing to Leave Undone?

Because your time is limited, you must decide how to value it. Now more than ever, your attention is a commodity—even a monetized one, as many forces not only compete for your time (and attention) but measure their success by how much of it they manage to get.

In some ways, it’s easier to decide what you are willing to leave undone at the end of the day. Will you be pleased that you answered all the many emails that filled your inbox? Would you be filled with joy knowing that you complied with some bureaucrat’s request for a form? I cannot disguise my loathing of make-work and box-checking because it “steals my time,” the super-charged words that reveal my hyper-sensitivity to wasted time.

My primary recommendation here is to decide what you are willing to leave undone and leave it undone. The most common mistake we make is believing that we need to do more to improve the quality of our lives, but our real work is found in removing that which creates little or no value. That is the only way to free up time for what matters.

It's Never Too Late

By managing yourself & your calendar, you can start getting more out of your day and achieve more of your goals. Take back control of your time with this FREE eBook. Time Management eBook

It’s Never Too Late

Benjamin Franklin remarked, “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” While I agree with the sentiment, I must disagree with the wise man’s words. Wisdom only finds us late and is mainly earned by acting in unwise ways.

Make sure your priorities for the day include what’s most important to designing the day, to ensure it aligns with the life you want. It can never be too late to prioritize the life you want for yourself, regardless of your age or circumstances. Whatever time you have is still your own, and you must choose how to spend what remains of your greatest treasure. What you decide to do between the sun’s rising and its setting is a decision that deserves greater consideration than most give it.

Do Good Work:

  • Recognize that time and how you spend it is your greatest treasure.
  • Identify your priorities and dedicate the time to what is most important.
  • Challenge yourself to fulfill your goals by using your time for what matters.
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Five Controllable Elements of Time Management

Time is out of your control. Nothing you do can slow it down, speed it up, or make it stop. You can, however, take advantage of it. By managing yourself and your calendar, you can start getting more out of your day and take bigger strides towards achieving your sales goals.

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on July 27, 2021
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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