“Life is long, if you know how to use it.”
Quote from on the shortness of life – Seneca
I work with a lot of students that want to repeat Matric… actually “want to” is the wrong description, they really don’t want to, but feel they have to. They feel that they are loosing a year of their life, while the rest of their friends are moving on in life by pursuing their studies. Actually, nothing can be further from the truth because taking time to get direction and perspective can actually save more time than it looses!
You see, for a young person one year in their life feels like twice as long as for someone twice their age, because 1 out of 20 is twice the value as 1 out of 40. The problem is that most people just leave school and haste into a career path thinking that success in life is about getting a successful career. It’s not. Success in life is about making the time you have count! Taking a year or even two after school to truly discover your purpose and passion in life, could save you up to 10 years of studying and working in an environment you were never created for!
Investing in Time
By thinking about things before you attempt it – you are investing in time. It is therefore really important that we think about things before we attempt it. Wasting time doing something that adds no value to your life, is time you will never get back. Time is the most precious commodity in your life because you can never get it back. Planning your days, weeks, months and even life is therefor the most precious use of your time because it allows you take stock of your time and make sure you spend it optimally! Yes, it takes time to plan, but investing time into planning your time is like taking money to invest in money – its returns with compound interest – very high compound interest.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you have to take time to prepare for your next endeavor, like upgrading Matric marks for example, don’t think of it as a waste of time, but rather an opportunity to invest time into planning that next phase: getting clarity, direction and perspective.
This is what happened to me: I studied Actuarial Science, and in my second year became a born again Christian. At that stage I was already 21, and knew that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. I failed one subject and decided to take a gap year to redo the subject and also discover why God made me: what was the purpose of my life? I did a Christian gap-year course called Metamorpho – one of the best decisions of my life! I discovered that I am a teacher. I went back to finish my degree and then did a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Less than 5 years later, I owned my own online school.
The Whole is the Sum of the Parts
In order to truly be successful in making full use of our time on earth, we cannot just plan the large scale future goals. Our lives consist of years, months, weeks and days. Even hours, minutes and seconds. If we want to make a success of our lives we must make a success of its parts. If we want to make our lives meaningful, we should spend the days it consist of doing meaningful things. If it takes planning to make our lives meaningful, it will take planning to make our days meaningful. If you don’t make your days meaningful then do not expect your life to be.
So here are some practical steps to make your day meaningful:
Plan your day
Spend at least 30 minutes at the start of your day to make sure you are going to make the best use of your time.
Allocate the first part of your day to do the most important “must do things”.
· Switch off your phone, close Facebook and YouTube and avoid emails
· Just hunker down and get the job done
Spend some time THINKING
Just think. At least some part of your day must be spent thinking:
· What is really important?
· What is wasting your time?
· What would you want to have done by the end of the week?
· Who can you include in your life, day, project, etc to add meaning to it?
· What are you doing that you don’t have to?
· Was yesterday a meaningful day?
Write some of these down – somewhere you can often see it, especially the big things that you should take not of!
Don’t sacrifice on time with people you love – for nothing!
Nothing adds more value to your life than the people in it! Do not sacrifice the time you have with them for anything: not work, not your career, not your hobbies, nothing! The most effective use of time is time spent with the people you love, doing things that you love, making a difference in the World. The most meaningful career you could have is one that spends your time doing all of this – that is something worth spending time on discovering.
I hope you are encouraged by this and that reading this was 5 minutes well spent. Now read this prayer below, put down your phone, close Facebook and spend some time thinking on how you can make the rest of your time today meaningful.
LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. (Psa 39:4)