Sometimes, my attempts at productivity, organization, and time management come naturally.
And other times, my efforts are like a train wreck waiting to happen.
Through the years, however, there has been one time management tip that I go back to over and over.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 19 or 90, this quick tip will help you stop wasting time, and allow you to focus on the things that really matter in life, like faith, family, and friends.
So, what is this gloriously simple, yet profoundly valuable piece of advice?
Stop wasting time by asking yourself one question
There is a sobering, yet simple and insightful question that can help you stop wasting time and put your busy schedule and life in perspective.
The next time you’re contemplating how to spend your time, ask yourself…
Will this matter 100 years after I’m dead?
I can almost guarantee it will stop you dead in your tracks (pun intended!).
As financial advisor colleague, Carl Richards, points out in the photo at the top of this post, what we spend our time and money on reveals what we truly value in life.
And sometimes, what we communicate we “value” through our time and money, isn’t all that valuable.
A few real life examples
Take a look at the graph below from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics to see how the average American spends their time…
(Click here to enlarge)
While some of these activities, like sleeping and eating, are necessary and can’t be avoided, several of them can either be eliminated or spent in a way that better reflect your life’s actual priorities.
Take television, for example (the majority of the “leisure and sports” category for most Americans).
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with an activity that allows you to rest and recuperate from a hard day’s work, I’ll bet that 99% of you reading this won’t lay on your deathbed thinking, “My only regret is that I didn’t get to watch all 27 seasons of American Idol.”
Then there’s social media.
Although social media can certainly be used as a valuable tool to connect and reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues, the majority of our culture has simply been sucked into watching the 437th viral video of a cat that can play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture…using it’s nose…while standing on one leg…and wearing a monkey suit.
Don’t waste your time…or your life
Yes, the examples above are exaggerations, but they illustrate how ridiculous some of these activities can become in the grand scheme of things, especially when you stop to think about how little time you really have on this side of eternity.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14 (ESV)
So, stop wasting time on trivial things. Even a little time goes a long way.
Because a little time…just might be all you have left.