I recently realized that more than 1.140 billion seconds (or more than 19 million minutes) of my life have flitted by; and I ask myself, “Did you spend that time wisely?” To be honest, I had to answer “not always.” How about you? How wisely have you spent the minutes, or the small change of your life?
Each of us wastes a lot of time. In one year, for example, you can waste a hundred hours – the equivalent of four full days – merely by not using the last five minutes of each working or classroom hour (if you’re a student). The time wasted does not include the first few minutes of every class, study hall, meeting, or the breaks in between classes or work time.
You can use your minutes more wisely by resolving to use those few minutes in a productive way. Here are some suggestions:
- Write a note, a part of a letter, a quick poem, a thought, or a description. Every little bit improves your writing ability and nudges you nearer to finishing a particular piece of work.
- Do homework. Perhaps do two or three math equations, a question for philosophy class, or a chemistry problem. The more often you do this, the more you’ll be able to “switch gears,” and with a minimum effort you’ll be able to mentally return to the spot where you left off.
- Plan ahead. Plan your schedule for tomorrow, what you’re going to wear this week, or what you’ll say to your date.
- Dream creatively. Imagine yourself succeeding – on the physics test, on your next interview, in your sports activity, or in your life. Just make sure you don’t always “freeform” daydream; have a basic goal and think about how you’ll achieve it.
- Work on a big project a bit at a time. If you plan ahead, you can break that big problem down into small portions you can manage in 5- or 10-minute spurts.
- Read. Even if it’s just a few pages or a few lines, you’ve used your time wisely. No one can take away from you what you’ve learned.
- Study others. We learn by mimicking others: our parents, our teachers, our friends. By studying the behaviors of others we learn how to act as well as how we don’t want to act. Observe other people (but don’t stare).
- Think about what you do well. This is a method of affirming yourself and of counteracting the negative vibrations you might get from other people. Focus on the positive. See yourself succeeding.
The end result of all this is that you’re a step ahead of those who don’t use their time wisely. And in the highly competitive job market you’re heading toward, that step—or half step—might put you over the finish line before your competition.
There’s also a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have used your time wisely. Don’t underestimate the power of knowing you’ve conquered yourself.
Finishing a project, an assignment, or a piece of work not only elicits the feeling of satisfaction, it also frees up larger blocks of time for fun. And during those free times you won’t suffer the pangs of conscience that you feel when you know there’s still work to be done.
Who knows, you could even gain a little fame and fortune with the idea you just conceived during those precious little minutes.