Are you in the all-too-common habit of working frantically all day, only to finish, exhausted, pretty much where you started? Do you dread to see your children developing similar habits? Here are the principles of using time wisely.
Secret #1: Think in terms of “investing” time rather than “spending” it.
If you started with one penny and doubled it every day, how long would it take you to reach a million dollars? Answer: just four weeks. Open your calculator app and prove it for yourself.
If you received seven dollars every day, and spent seven dollars on coffee and pastry every day, how much would you have after seven years? No need for a calculator to answer that one.
Obviously, no real-life investment doubles money daily (and few coffee-shop orders cost exactly seven dollars). The point is, “little” things can grow into great things if you appreciate their potential. Among life’s “little things” are minutes and hours. Are you spending yours saying “yes” to whatever grabs your attention—or are you investing in activities that will further your dreams, your career goals, and the growth of your children into world-influencers?
Secret #2: Center your life around a purpose that fits your unique gifts and passions.
Perhaps you aren’t even sure what your dreams are: all you know is that you’re “supposed to” follow instructions, make money, and raise your kids to become Ivy League scholars. The specter of “wasted time, wasted life” will haunt any activity in which you’re incapable of feeling personal investment. If you’re at a loss to define your personal best path, take a few personality/skills tests and talk to a life coach.
And if you’ve been pushing your children to follow “success” paths they have no interest in—worse, if you’ve been belittling activities they do have natural interest in—switch right now to helping them channel their true passions into long-term goals. The best time to define life purpose is when still young enough to see it easily, through vision unclouded by others’ definitions of success.
Secret #3: Understand that no prominent success is really an “overnight” success.
It may be that you, or your child, are meant to achieve something very visible: write a world-changing novel; start a major reform movement; discover the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. If so—it’ll still take a long period of bit-by-bit progress before the big payoff manifests. Regardless of how it may seem when a new face bursts into the headlines, they all got there by persevering up long, often discouraging roads.
And that’s a good thing: “succeeding” too easily might only lead to delusions of entitlement, and to a premature apex from which the achiever sees nowhere further to go except into despair. Whether your own life goals involve winning international recognition or raising a happy family, never let yourself stop and settle for less just because progress takes its time becoming obvious.
Secret #4: Give self-nurturing and relationship-nurturing their fair share of your time.
And never let yourself become so busy working toward long-term goals that you forget to make regular time for relationships, staying healthy, and just plain enjoying yourself. Time that generates genuine happiness—and keeps you strong for purposeful work—is never wasted.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!