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Choosing how you spend your time


As I have shared previously, I am really into learning about and applying productivity skills. That does not mean I am a time management expert – there is no such thing. You cannot manage time, only how you spend it. Time passes at the exact same speed for each of us. Make intentional decisions about what you do with your time or it will just pass anyway.

This starts with being clear about your goals. Envision the life you want. Where would you be living, and with who? Would you be working? If so, doing what? How would you spend your free time? The more specific you are about that life the better. Think about what you would wear, what you would see out your window, even the kind of car you want to drive.

As you think of your envisioned life, how would living that way make you feel? Here is the key to setting goals. It’s really the feeling you are after, much less so than any material things or relationships or jobs. With many of my coaching clients, they want to feel they are making a difference in the world. Others want to feel more in control of things, or to slow down their rushed lives and feel they have time to enjoy things.

Brainstorm about what it would take to achieve the feelings of your envisioned life. You may find that you can create aspects of that life today. Here is an example related to having too many obligations. When our kids were younger, we did not sign them up for multiple sports, lessons, and other activities. We found things they wanted to do and that kept them active and engaged with other kids – but they could only choose one or two things in any “season.” Other parents would complain about driving all around every night and weekend because of their kids’ activities. It was like they could not see that they could change that. Our kids are awesome by the way.

Working backwards from your envisioned life, what goals do you need to set today to achieve it? If you want to live a long life, you need goals about a healthy lifestyle now. If you want to be a writer, start writing (and reading) now. If you want to live by the ocean, you need to figure out what that would cost and make sure you will have that money. You could achieve that by earning more, spending less, and/or looking at different places that might have wildly different prices. You know what to do, and if not, let me recommend the Internet. Just read more than one article.

Each of us have different aspects of our lives that matter to us – family, friends, relationships, career, education, mind, hobbies, health, fun, financial, spiritual, etc. Think about each of those areas and what goals, if any, you need to work towards to achieve your imagined life. What can you do today to feel the way you will in your envisioned life? I hope that your goals include being joyful – so crank up some music and start dancing. Five short minutes from now you can feel the way that you want to feel in the future.

Look at how you are currently spending your time and the goals you have been pursuing. How does that line up with what you want to achieve? What should you stop doing, and how can you do that? This is not me giving you permission to walk away from your job or your other obligations. You made decisions that resulted in the life that you have. Make decisions to get the life that you want. Take consistent action starting right now to create what you want from life – because it is too damn short to do otherwise.

Now, go make it happen -- Tom

PS - I would love to hear from you -- leave me a note or send an email.