Make the Most of Your Time
October 21st, 2010
I was thinking over the weekend just how precious time is and how quickly it seems to pass. It reminded me of a great book I read over a year ago. I went to my library and pulled it off the shelf and re-read almost the entire thing. The book was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. He was a Carnegie Mellon computer professor, visionary and much loved teacher. After being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in his late 40’s he decided to give a Last Lecture, the posting of which was seen by millions on You Tube.
The written form of this incredible lecture filled with life lessons, wisdom and the importance of seizing the moment is now a great lesson to all of us on living. It occurred to me that nobody understood the value of time better than Randy Pausch did in the last months of his life. I also wondered why so many of us don’t value life enough until we are faced with its’ possible end. In the profound words of country singer Tim McGraw I think many of us could benefit if we “Lived like we were dying”.
Pausch also gave another lecture on time management in the last months of his life and in this lecture he stressed how time is so much more important than money. If you waste time you never get it back. He encouraged everyone to decide what has value and what does not and to make sure we are focusing our time on what really matter to us. In his down to earth tone he stated, “A very small number of things in your life are going to mean anything. Shove the other stuff off the boat”.
I think for many of us deciding what really has meaning can be a challenge. Sometimes it can take time to realize what truly matters to us. Once you do, make sure you plan to spend time with those things. As they say failing to plan is planning to fail. He suggests following a format of the great Stephen Covey which breaks tasks down into four categories:
- Important and do soon,
- Important and not do soon,
- Not important and do soon and
- Not important and not do soon.
The key is to make sure that the important and not do soon takes precedence over the not important and do soon. Starting on the truly important stuff that could be put off until later is one of the keys to a life truly well lived.
Although you can never really get more time, these strategies will give you more energy to be able to get the most out of your time.
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