This is a continuation of the “How to Manage your Time doing the Important Things you Love” and the last in the series. The first post in the series can be found here.
What does it mean to live consciously?
Living consciously does not only mean one having awareness of oneself and their surroundings, but it can also include being aware of the shortness of time and how one should make good use of it when they still can.
All this talk about the shortness of life provokes memories of a wise Roman Emperor who wrote down a particular meditation, or call it a piece of positive psychology, that perfectly described my thoughts on being conscious of the apparent dwindling thing called time…
“Live each day as if it were your last”
~ Marcus Aurelius, ‘Meditations’
The emperor’s words should prompt you towards managing your time for you to do the important things that will eventually benefit you and others in your life.
What’s the difference between psychological and chronological time?
1. Psychological time is one such illusion created by the mind that involves the past, present and future. This particular time must not take precedence in your life as it can produce impediments such as fear and procrastination. One must aim to live in the here and now (the present) and not to carry the burden of the past or fear of an unknown future and project them into the present. One must take each day as it comes and to instigate meaningful actions immediately if and when it’s called for.
Living in the past can cause:
- Guilt of something you know or that you have done
- Regret in not doing something positive when you had the chance
- Fear or low self-esteem because of a past traumatic event
- Stagnation of your personal growth and development because of the above past burdens
Living in the future can cause:
- Fear of the unknown and anxiety of what may or may not come
- Too busy making plans whilst neglecting the present moment
- Delays action – something positive that can be done now will be postponed until tomorrow, and so it continues
Fear and regret are the most debilitating factors in regards of psychological time…
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”
~ Fulton Oursler
2. Chronological time is the one you must master in your life, and for you to take the opportunity to use it when free for your own self improvement and personal growth.
Obviously, we have to take in account certain daily tasks which we are obliged to do for either survival (attain money through working) or duty (looking after a relative who is not able), but despite these time consuming activities that you or may or may not want to do, you should still be able to find the time in-between to do what you enjoy.
What do I spend my time doing that can help me learn something of worth?
These are the following things I try to fit into my life for as much time as possible:
- Friends and family
- Reading books
- Writing (especially this blog which takes up too much of my time)
- Exercise (I got to be honest with you, I’m quite out of shape at the moment due to neglecting myself for nearly a year since my girlfriend gave birth to our baby)
- Watching educational talks, interviews and documentaries
Personally, these make up the key elements that go towards enhancing my self-learning, mood and personal growth.
However, it is one thing being able to do the above, and another thing trying to find the time to fit them all within a busy schedule. That is the reason you must be able ascertain what is most important to you and gives you the most joy. Once you have realised the things that provide you with both the lessons of self improvement and contentedness then you will need the spiritual motivation to presently act upon them.
What things do I avoid spending too much time on in life?
These are the following things I try not to do or waste too much time with:
- Work (strictly 9 to 5, 5 days a week for me. Overtime? No chance! I’m not career orientated and treat work as a means to an end, that provides money for me to put food on the table and a roof over our heads)
- Watching Big Brother, Pop Idol, Coronation Street (well, maybe sometimes – I’m trying to cut down on this addictive soap…promise) or any other trash on television
- Reading glossy celebrity magazines
- Negative recreational activities
- Chasing superficial and conditioned means to happiness and achievement such as; status, position, success, title, possessions and money (although, I could do with the extra bob or two towards buying Baby J’s 1st Liverpool FC kit for his upcoming birthday – I’m serious!)
- Following man-made ideologies, political structures and organised religions (again, all of these are external to you and maybe false, go against your nature and restrict your self growth)
Work, unfortunately is unavoidable and will form a large part of your life if you want to secure means to live for you and your family, but that does not mean that you need to live to work (for all you workaholics out there!). During your working life you will probably spend more time at work than with your family and friends, which doesn’t make sense to me.
Don’t get me wrong, you maybe in a fulfilling job and you may love the work you do – but seriously! Don’t you think there is more to life (as well as your mind and spirit) than picking up a monthly wage packet doing something that may not contribute to your own self improvement? I’m sure, there will be plenty of debate over the virtues and vices of working (not to mention the length of hours we work and percentage of our wages the government steals from us in taxes) so I will leave that subject for another day.
What can you do to manage the time doing the important things you love?
These are a few things you can do:
- Think seriously about what is and isn’t important in your life, so you can make a much wiser choice of what will benefit you in the long run
- Create a weekly schedule so you can better plan and organise when and what you will spend your time doing
- Take every opportunity to do something positive for your mind, spirit and body even when your time is taking up by a necessary task. For example, I love to read books so when going to and from work I read on the bus. When at work during lunchtimes, I’ll read and then take a nice walk round the block whilst clearing my mind doing some self-reflecting – killed 3 birds with one stone in an hour!
- If you have any days totally free such as weekends it would be a good opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Maybe arrange for your friends to come around for dinner or maybe go to the park for a picnic. It’s free (so no excuse for those with no job or no money) and you get to spend the day with the people you love – you can’t get any better than that.
- Lastly, make the most of any spare time you may have because they don’t come round that often, especially in this short busy life.
You have to wake up and realise what is important to yourselves and what gives your lives meaning no matter what the outside pressures dictate to you. To fulfil your purpose you must gain the knowledge and wisdom to ascertain what time consuming activities are conducive towards liberating the mind, strengthening the body and motivating the spirit for the better.
I warn you from now, this is no dress rehearsal where you’ll get the opportunity to repeat your life until you get it right. This life will be your first and final act. The world is your stage so use what little time you have left wisely to provide the best performance you can…
“It’s not the length of life that’s important, but it’s what you do with the little time you have that counts.”