Self improvement: Part 2 / Use your time wisely

Nobody’s fate is determined at the time that they’re born. Everyone has the ability to change their fates at their will.

Use your time wisely

Imagine that every day you wake up, your bank account will be filled with $86,400. However, if you don’t spend this entire amount in one day, it’ll be gone – put to waste.

The next day you wake up, you find that your bank account is yet again filled with $86,400.

So, how should you use this money?

In fact, there are 86,400 seconds in a day. No matter how you spend it, you’ll receive another 86,400 seconds the second day.

If it were money, you surely wouldn’t be wasting it. So why do some of us choose to waste our time?

Author Li Shanglong in his book “The Way Out” (roughly translated from Chinese) mentions “fragments of time”, meaning the fragments of time that we spend, for example, waiting for public transport, riding on public transport, waiting in between meetings, or otherwise waiting for something to happen.

What do people usually do during these “fragments of time”? Nowadays, most of us are scrolling through social media, playing mobile games or watching TikToks…

So it’s safe to say that many people are underestimating what we can do with these “fragments of time” in order to increase our productivity and better ourselves. If we combine these fragments together, they equate to a larger mass of time. It could be an hour or even many hours per day. So, how much time does this then equate to per month? Or per year?

It’s therefore important to value our “fragments of time”. At the same time, we should also try to cut down on distractions. In doing so, we’ll be able to achieve what Li Shanglong calls “flow”.

What does “flow” mean? Basically, it refers to your mind’s state of being when you’re extremely focused on something in particular. You forget your sense of time, sometimes you’ll forget to eat or go to the bathroom…

People who have mastered their “flow” or concentration won’t easily be distracted by external happenings. It’s possible through practice to also increase your discipline and focus.

In this day and age, we have so many distractions – the most prominent of them being our mobile phones. For many of us, as soon as we receive a notification, we feel an urge to check it immediately. This takes us away from what we’re actually supposed to be focusing on.

When was the last time you concentrated on something for hours with no distractions? For example, the last time you read a book, did you read it for five minutes, then proceed to play on your phone for the rest of the day?

It’s because of these distractions that our flow of concentration ceases. As a result, our concentration levels become increasingly shorter. Of course, it’s not realistic to completely ditch our phones and cut off communication with the outside world. However, we need to learn how we can improve our concentration while not neglecting to connect with our friends, families, colleagues, etc.

If you don’t take control of your time, time will control you

If you’re not in control of how you use your time, other people or things will control your time for you. Think about it – the push notifications you get, or your friends’ Instagram, Facebook and Twitter updates – how much of it do you actually care about or want to know about? Do you really care about where so-and-so is vacationing at the moment? Do you really care about which celebrities are together or have broken up? Most importantly, these updates – how much of it is true and how much is made up?

I’ve found it useful to minimise the amount of notifications I get from the various apps I have on my phone. I turn off all notifications except for my Wechat and Messenger because I hate my phone being cluttered with a million notifications that aren’t even relevant to me.

I’ve also found it helpful to not get into the habit of responding to messages immediately. My friends and family know that due to work and uni, I’ll respond to messages in my own time. It’s not that I’m ignoring or disrespecting them, but I don’t feel obligated to respond to messages instantaneously if it’s not important to do so. Plus, it just distracts me from focusing on completing my work.

Another useful tip is to plan out how you’re going to use your “fragments of time” ahead of time. For example, if you have two meetings in a day with half an hour in between, you can plan in advance how you’re going to spend that half an hour. You could go to the gym, read a book or listen to a podcast.

If you don’t plan on how to use your “fragments of time” ahead of time, this time will be consumed by your phone. At the end of the day, you won’t even remember what you’ve done on your phone.

Published by Steff

Professional copywriter.

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