Many times, procrastination has kept me from making the most of every minute of the day. For example, yesterday my husband and I worked on a project for our business. It took longer than I expected, running well into the late afternoon. After we had supper, I looked at the clock.
I said to my husband, “It’s too late in the day to write.”
But a few minutes later, my son came to me to tell me he had only read one chapter of one of his summer reading books today. He’s going for a large number of points within a few months in hopes of earning a trophy at the end of the program.
I caught myself saying to him, “Don’t worry. It’s only 5:15. You still have plenty of time left today! It’s not too late to make today productive.”
(Though no one noticed I was busted by me – the one who should have noticed.)
Many of us have this mode of thinking that we need time off. We are told we deserve it or we earned it. But what does too much time off do for us?
If we are unhappy with our circumstances or simply have goals we’d like to achieve, too much time off can be detrimental to our success and to our goals.
Our 40-hour work week has brainwashed us into believing we should work for our 8 hours a day and then we should stop and throw away the rest of the day.
But when our 40-hour work week is the only productive time we have in our lives, what happens to our happiness and our sense of self? When our only productive time is the work week, we become our day jobs. Some people are fine with that. I am not.
I enjoy writing far too much to give myself a 5 hour break from it. Sometimes, that 5 hours between the end of our workday (which can often be every day of the week) is the only time I have to really work on the things I love the most.
So, what is “too late”?
Is it a certain time of the day? A certain time of the week or year? A certain time of our life?
None of these is realistic, because we define “too late.”
Many times, I have wasted several hours per day after our day job thinking, “Well, I did enough. I worked hard. I deserve some time off tonight.”
But I don’t deserve time off if I am unhappy with my circumstances or situation or if I have a goal I want to accomplish, whether that goal is to spend valuable time with my family or spend more time writing.
What I deserve (not because of something spiritual or supernatural, but because I am important to myself and to my family) is to work hard and be happy with my achievements, both personal and professional.
I deserve peace and happiness that comes from knowing I used every minute of every day wisely. And that I didn’t punch my proverbial timecard at 5 PM to spend the rest of the day deserving time off — time off that I will likely regret later.
We all know the handouts are few and far between. And even if we have the money for the things that aren’t free, some things can’t be bought. Valuable time with our families, peace that comes from meditation, a healthy body that comes from exercise, or the freedom of owning our own business. All of these come from effective, thoughtful allocation of our time.
I woke up this morning to a tweet about “taking a break for YOU.” Monday morning and someone is already telling us we’ve working hard enough. What ever happened to “working hard for YOU”?
I’m not opposed to taking breaks to recollect ourselves, but I believe the “me time” mentality is spoiling us and simultaneously robbing us of our ambition. “Me time” is a money maker, but not for “me.” And if you aren’t sure of that, take a look at some of the commercials on television. How much money is our “me time” making for other people?
I try to remember that when I’m not working toward my goals, someone else out there is working toward theirs — and it could be the same as mine. If I haven’t used every minute I can to achieve mine, I’ll be in no place to feel jealousy or animosity toward those who did all they could with every minute they had. But how many of us are guilty of that?
We all see so many people complaining about their circumstances, but we all have the ability to make some of those circumstances better. Some of us are fortunate enough to have the ability to make all of our circumstances better.
Oh, I’m sure this won’t be the most popular piece I have ever written. As I said, there is a lot of money to be made from telling us how important it is to waste time. Those who have a lot to earn from it have spent a lot of money convincing us all that we “deserve that break.” It’s ingrained within us now, and the truth is sometimes hard for us to swallow. Hard for me to swallow. I’m writing to myself as much as I am to anyone else right now.
I challenge each person who reads this (and the writer) to use every minute of the day as efficiently (yet peacefully) as possible.
Is it 9 PM? Do you have a few minutes before bed? Take those few minutes to seek the information you need to achieve your goals and work toward them.
Remember, each day is made up of minutes. 1,440 to be exact. But that’s only one minute at a time.
How much closer to your goal (personal or professional) can that one minute take you if you use it wisely?
Today can be productive if we choose to make it so.
If you found value in this article, please share it with your family and friends.
And tell me in the comments section below how you plan to make today productive.