Time is the most precious commodity for any living thing. In reality, it is the only thing in the world that has intrinsic value. There is nothing else more valuable than time because time can’t be bought. You are given a certain amount of time you can spend in your life.
Once you run out, you’re out. There is no buying back in. There is no borrowing or creating. What’s worse is that you’re not informed on how much time you actually have. You could have another couple of decades, or you could merely have another couple of hours. You’re almost never given a head's up when you’re about to run out, making death almost always a surprise. You never know how much this next upcoming minute is really worth, as it could very well be your last.
Unfortunately, most people don’t think about the value of time. You can’t slow down how quickly you spend your time and you can never stop it; you will run out no matter what. Yet, you are most likely one of the billions of people in the world who are wasting their time away. Every hour of your life you spend poorly is a piece of your life wasted.
1. You’re glued to your phone.
You should count how many times you pick up and check or use your phone in a day. Calculate how many hours – it’s almost certainly hours – of a day you waste texting, tweeting, Facebooking, writing down or commenting on your own life or the lives of others instead of living in the moment. Technology is a necessary part of life now.
There’s no denying that, nor should it be avoided. However, how we use this technology and how often we use it needs to be regulated. Instead of living experiences, you’re creating memories you won’t care to remember. You could have used an extra hour to do something new or meet someone new. You could have spent it getting more work done so you can stay ahead and possible take an early vacation. You could be living more each day if you spent less time on your phone and tablet.
2. You don’t leave your comfort zone.
Life is about making choices. Do you choose to do this or do you choose to do that? When you choose one path in life, you actively abandon another. This moment can only be lived once and in one way. You will never again experience the second that has just past; you spent that second. If the worth of your life is truly the sum of your experiences, which I basically believe it to be, then you should do your best to maximize the joy and pleasure you receive from those experiences.
The pleasure derived from any single experience declines with each repetition. The first time is always the best because the excitement that novelty brings is present. One could very well argue that the best way to maximize the pleasure you receive from experiences is to experience as many different experiences as possible, using your better judgment to choose which experiences ought to be lived.
3. You spend money on things that don’t matter.
Time is money: true. And although money isn’t time, it is a useful tool in making the time you do have more enjoyable. If money isn’t an issue, that doesn’t mean you still couldn’t put that money to better use and enjoy life even more than you are now.
You can be happy completely broke, but why? Why not enjoy life’s luxuries? Do so responsibly and wisely. Don’t waste money on trivial things when you could be using it to do more for you and for the world.
4. You spend time doings things that you shouldn’t be doing.
We all have our own list – a list of habits and guilty pleasures that we more than likely either keep to ourselves entirely or lie to ourselves about, convincing ourselves we’re making good decisions. But we don’t always make good decisions. No one does. Why? I’m not sure, but it probably has to do with the fact that it feels good to make poor decisions from time to time; we call them indulgences.
It’s giving into our wants more than we should at the expense of neglecting our needs. You want certain things and then you need certain things. As long as you get what you need, you can enjoy what you want. However, once enjoying your wants results in ignoring your needs, you’re in trouble.
5. You don’t take care of your body.
Physical health is one of the most important things in life. It literally allows you to stay living. Don’t think of health as something you use up to the point you die. Physical health is something you maintain for as long as you can. The better your physical health, the more likely you are to live longer. Not to mention, you’ll literally enjoy your life more.
You may hate the thought of giving up certain aspects of your lifestyle, but think about this: When was the last time you heard an exceptionally healthy person complain about feeling sh*tty?
6. You don’t take care of your mind.
Your mind requires maintenance, just as your body does. If you neglect it by not eating right (your brain needs certain nutrients to produce certain chemical reactions), by not exercising (our bodies help our minds to stay clearer and healthier, and vice versa), or by not getting enough sleep (our brains need to be rested just as our bodies do), then you’ll enjoy your life less.
Your mind needs to be healthy in order to be happy. Happiness is not some mythological creature; it’s a combination of chemical reactions.
7. You don’t get enough sleep.
As mentioned before, your mind needs sleep in order to stay sane and to stay functioning properly. Your body, likewise, needs sleep in order to perform well. The better your mind and body perform, the better you feel.
Many people believe it's a smart idea to spend less time sleeping and more time awake. Well, that depends – not if the time you spend awake yields less total enjoyment than it could were you to sleep more. It’s not the amount of memories you have, but the joy and pleasure you experience as a result that counts. Sleep more if that means living a better life.
8. You spend too much time with people who don’t matter.
People should either matter to you or not matter to you. Of course, every human should matter to you, but I’m speaking on a purely social level. Most people we interact with are people we shouldn’t be spending our time with.
Most people would serve us better were they not a part of our lives. Most people will take away from your experiences, waste your time, expose you to unpleasant and forgettable situations, and possibly damage you emotionally for an extended period of time. If they don’t make your life better, they automatically make it worse – if only because of what you lose by not choosing to spend time with someone better.
9. You’re working a job you don’t want to be working.
Forty hours a week is quite a lot of time. That’s over 2,000 hours a year. If you work for 30 years, you will have spent nearly seven years of your life working. Could you not spend those years more wisely? Sure, you need to make money in order to support your life, but is there no way of enjoying those years working while you make that money? Of course there is; there always is. If you’re going to waste time, then waste time looking for that perfect job. In the end, it won’t be time wasted.
10. You’re living a life you don’t want to be living.
Are you living your dream life? Forget about the cars, the yachts and all the other material things you wish you had. The fact is, living your ideal, perfect life may not be possible. And if it is, there is a much better way of getting there than the way you’re traveling now. Instead of waiting to live the life you want to be living, start living it now.
Make better choices. Take time to think about your decisions and where you’re headed in life. Understand your circumstances and figure out the best possible life you could be living right now. If there is even a single thing you could do right now to make your life better, go for it; do it. Don’t wait and let life take control of you. Take control of your life by actively designing it as you go along. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the life you should be living.
Photo credit: Nicholas Scarpinato