We all have a limited amount of time. With 24 hours in a day, minus 7 to 8 hours of sleep, how many time-worthy activities do you do in the remaining 16 to 17 hours every day?
Be honest with yourself: Do you spend every minute and hour of your day on activities that are truly worthwhile?
How many hours do you spend scrolling through social media? Or on television?
How many hours do you spend working with laser focus? How many hours do you actually spend talking to your family or playing with your kids?
If you spend more than half of your time on things that aren’t very important, it’s alarming. This can imply that you have already wasted half of your life.
In this article, you will learn about the concept of “time-worthiness” and discover the strategies for making the most of the limited time we have available. You will also find out if you actually lack time in general, or lack high quality time.
Table of Contents
- What Is Considered to Be Time-Worthy?
- Why You Should Aim For Having More Quality Time
- What Causes Us to Degrade the Quality of Our Time?
- How to Ensure We Only Do Things That Are Time-Worthy
- Final Thoughts
What Is Considered to Be Time-Worthy?
There is a right time for everything, and a wrong time for everything else.
When you do the right thing at the right time, you are doing something time-worthy, and this period of time is known as “quality time.”
These are the principles for what creates real “quality time”:
The first principle is when your time is “Authentic.” This is the point at which you recognize your current time constraints and focus on doing the right thing during that time period while avoiding focusing on the wrong things.
You have to tell yourself,
“I’m making a conscious choice to do this right now because this is the right time to do it. I respect this by not allowing the wrong things to get in the way.”
For example, when you’re having dinner with your partner and choose not to think about tomorrow’s client meeting; or when you’re spending time with your children and make the conscious decision to put your phone away.
Quality time is time spent with intention. That is, you don’t get quality time by chance. And this aligns with being “Authentic.”
“With Intention” means that you have a sense of focus and purpose in what you’re doing, and thus do it deliberately. It also means you’re deliberately allocating time for something, no matter how big or small it is.
This is the opposite of simply “going with the flow” without real focus, which happens when you don’t know what you want and instead focus on the “next” thing. When time is eaten away piece by piece by forces beyond your control, you begin to wonder, “Where has all the time gone?” while feeling as if you haven’t accomplished anything meaningful.
Now, this doesn’t mean that there must be a “goal” to be achieved at every moment. It doesn’t mean you have to be productive or efficient 24 hours a day.
You can have 10 minutes to just relax and stare out the window. But instead of spacing out for half an hour without realizing it, you do it WITH INTENTION. When you do it on purpose, you will feel truly rested, whereas when you don’t, you will likely beat yourself up for being lazy. One is in control, while the other is not.
Why You Should Aim For Having More Quality Time
Always aim to devote your time to only time-worthy activities because those are the things that will provide you with fulfillment and satisfaction.
Here I’ll explain:
Increased Sense of Accomplishment
High quality time can bring a sense of fulfillment and happiness to our lives because it allows us to focus on what is most important to us and feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
When we are able to effectively manage our time and utilize it to accomplish the most important tasks, our confidence and sense of wellbeing can increase. Imagine completing the long-desired organization of your storeroom!
Increased Sense of Control
By ensuring that we do the right things at the right time, we are in control of our own time and not being interrupted by anything else. This keeps us from feeling overwhelmed or burned out and provides us with a sense of control over our lives.
On the other hand, if we do not devote enough quality time to the things that are important to us, we may come to regret it.
For example, failing to spend enough quality time with your children when they are young can lead to regret later in life after they have grown up and moved out. Similarly, if you work when you are not at your most productive, you may find that you work slower or make more mistakes than usual, affecting the quality of your work and leading to feelings of frustration or regret.
Simply be more mindful of the quality of your time and your overall well-being and sense of satisfaction will be improved.
What Causes Us to Degrade the Quality of Our Time?
Most people desire more high-quality time, but what prevents them from doing so?
The quality of our time may be degraded because of these:
1. Lack of Focus
It can be difficult to fully engage with the task at hand and make the most of our time when we are constantly interrupted or distracted.
Notifications on our phones, alerts on our computers, and other distractions in our environment can all cause us to lose focus. In addition, we can become distracted by our own thoughts and feelings. It might be difficult to focus on the task at hand, for instance, if we are worried or anxious.
This article entails the types of distractions we all face today.
2. Lack of Priority
When we do not organize and prioritize our tasks and activities, we may find ourselves wasting time on unimportant activities or feeling pressed for time to finish important tasks.
For instance, if our priorities are unclear, we might spend a lot of time on tasks that are not important or urgent while ignoring those that are more critical or urgent. This can result in a constant sense of being rushed or overwhelmed, lowering the quality of our time.
With clearly defined priorities, however, we can effectively manage our time by prioritizing the most important tasks first. Completing the most important tasks can increase our sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
3. Low Mental Energy
Due to a constant but finite energy supply, our brains can only process a limited amount of information at once. If processing information in normal conditions is difficult, imagine how difficult it is when you lack mental energy.
When you lack mental energy, you will find it difficult to think clearly, stay focused, and make sound decisions. You may also find it challenging to fully participate in activities or enjoy your time because you are tired or depleted.
Low mental energy can be caused by a variety of factors such as:
- Sleep deprivation: You can lose mental energy and your ability to concentrate and focus if you do not get enough quality sleep.
- Poor diet: Consuming a diet high in processed, sugary, or unhealthy foods can reduce mental energy and overall well-being.
- Anxiety and stress: Chronic stress and anxiety can sap your mental energy. These emotions can make you feel overwhelmed or drained, impairing your ability to focus and engage in activities.
4. Poor Physical Health
Physical fitness refers to the ability to maintain good health and physical well-being. Health issues such as chronic pain or illness require a significant amount of time and energy to manage, which can impact the ability to focus and simply do whatever you want.
I’m the best person to talk about this because I used to suffer from severe back pain as a result of poor posture and prolonged sitting at work. My back pain was so intense that I couldn’t concentrate on even the simplest task at hand. I tried a variety of methods, including painkillers, stretching, and acupuncture. My back pain has only gotten better in recent years since I began working out regularly to strengthen my core and back muscles. My mental energy increased as my back pain improved.
How to Ensure We Only Do Things That Are Time-Worthy
By this point, I believe you want to be sure that you only devote time to things that are actually worthwhile. You can employ the following tactics to make sure that you are investing your time to time-worthy activities:
1. Be Clear About Your Goals
As discussed earlier, your “intention” is important. At Lifehack, we teach people how to set SMARTer goals. This is not the same as the SMART goals that you are probably familiar with.
The SMARTer goal includes a reflection on what is most important to you and why it matters, in addition to the typical elements of a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound). This “why” will be your driving force when attempting to achieve the goal.
You can start by considering what you want to achieve and why. This could include both short-term tasks and projects that you need to complete in the coming weeks or months, as well as long-term goals, such as career aspirations or personal development objectives.
Go to Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting to learn more about how to set a SMARTer goal.
Be Clear About Your Goals
2. Prioritize and Focus
Once you’ve identified your goal, you can divide it into a list of tasks and activities that will help you reach it.
This list can then be prioritized using Lifehack’s Superstructure Method. The key to using the Superstructure Method is deciding which tasks are Must Haves, Should Haves, and Good-to-Haves so you can prioritize them accordingly.
Let me share with you my personal example.
Some of my everyday Must Do’s include:
- My business / work at Lifehack
- Driving my sons to school / picking up my sons from school
- Playing / talking with my family
Some Should Dos which I don’t need to do every single day are:
- Helping with household chores
- Grocery shopping
Some Good-to-Dos which I can do occasionally are:
- Watching Nexflix
- My personal hobbies and interests
Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, you must also ensure that you’ll allocate your time accordingly. Schedule all tasks, whether they are Must Haves, Should Haves, or Good-to-Haves.
Prioritize & Focus
3. Stay Fit Mentally and Physically
As previously stated, poor health can degrade the quality of your time.
While being mentally fit allows you to better focus on tasks and avoid distractions, enabling you to make the most of your time; being physically fit allows you to have more energy and stamina, boosting your productivity and efficiency in your tasks.
Instead of having to make up time due to health problems, staying mentally and physically fit can help you make sure that you are spending your time on worthwhile activities.
Regular exercise and mindfulness practices can help improve both mental and physical fitness. Developing healthy habits such as eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep are also necessary for good health.
Here are some practical guides to help you learn more practical ways to boost your mental and physical energy:
We should always strive for more quality time by spending time with intention.
As we are able to focus on the things that are most important to us and make the most of our time, we will be able to live a more fulfilling life with less or even no regret.
Featured photo credit: Agê Barros via unsplash.com
|||^||Science Daily: Energy demands limit our brains’ information processing capacity|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Fatigue Causes|
|||^||Healthline: The Importance of Mental Fitness|
|||^||Health.Gov: Physical Activity Guidelines for American|
|||^||National Library of Medicine: Exercise for Mental Health|