This topic comes up a lot in conversation with people I initially meet because it’s an area in my life that I’m always seeking to improve and hopefully in the process extract pointers from people who I feel have developed a good grasp around managing their time.
I’ll be honest. I don’t recall anything significant I did with my time prior to having kids, which is kinda sad. Yes, I traveled a lot with my then girlfriend now wife, but as far as those moments I had to myself where I could have worked on something on the side, honed a craft, or have had a deep enough interest in people far more knowledgable than I, as oppose to sitting back, relaxing thinking “free time” was the ideal time to do nothing. I did none of that.
Luckily becoming a parent has taught me the value of time and so when I see younger co-workers, or people complaining about not having the leisure to do simple things that matter in their life such as prepping their own lunches so they’re not spending $14 a day on junk food, or the inability for them to fulfill their commitment of getting back into shape because they lack the willpower or “time” to make it to the gym… I’m baffled by it all.
I’m no expert in this thing we call life but I can tell you that the underlying theme in all the books, articles and podcast I lend my attention to is that the one thing “successful” people do is treat their “free time” as such:
“They see it as the only time they have to do the things they really want to do in life — and they don’t take a minute for granted. “ - Nicolas Cole
The trick to this advise is that it only works if you’ve already taken the time to become fully aware of what you want in life, or perhaps areas in your life you want to improve on. It’s no different than walking into a gym. There’s nothing more disorienting than walking into a space with life-changing equipment and not having a set of specific exercises you’re hoping to execute on that day. If you’re walking around wondering what to do, you’ve already defeated the purpose of this whole life-reflective moment…you’re wasting time.
As Nicolas Cole says, “be deliberate with the way you invest your time.”