“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Oh, how I loved sleeping when I was a teenager. I would sleep for twelve hours, just as babies do.
And guess what else?
Another favorite activity of mine was taking selfies until I finally had a perfect one, editing it, posting it on social media, and waiting for likes. And scrolling through the feed.
Wow. So unusual nowadays.
I didn’t care what I was doing with my life. I chose a university degree just for fun and finished it just because I started it. I don’t even like what I chose. I had no goals, no ambitions. I was just drifting through life.
But then adult life got in the way. Suddenly, I was married and had a child.
What a turn.
Now I don’t even have Instagram.
Do you know why? Because I started valuing my time.
And I am here to tell you that you need to do it too if you want to live a fulfilling life.
Why should you value every second of your life?
When I became a mom, I barely had time to brush my teeth. I didn’t have time to do anything that wasn’t related to my son.
I started regretting all the time I’d wasted before.
But let’s be clear: It’s not about productivity. It’s about living your life to the fullest.
You see, when you value your time, you start valuing your life. You set your priorities straight and start doing things that matter to you. And that’s when life gets really good.
Although my situation might be different from yours, time is one thing we have in common. And you’ve heard it a million times, but time is our most precious commodity.
It is non-negotiable. You can’t buy more time, no matter how rich you are. And you can’t save time either. You can only spend it.
Time waits for no one. So the sooner you start valuing your time, the better.
Here are a few things that have helped me start valuing my time and life more that might help you too.
1. Set your priorities straight.
Oh, priorities. They are so important, yet we often forget about them.
If you want to start valuing your time, you need to set your priorities straight. Ask yourself what is really important to you and start making time for those things.
- What do I want to do, achieve, and experience in life?
- Who and what matter most to me?
- What makes me happy?
- Where do I see myself in five years?
For me, the answer to these questions was simple: I want to value time with my son more. And I want to find a way to balance work and life.
What I don’t want is to be glued to my phone while my son is next to me, or to watch movies instead of making small steps toward having my own business.
Self-care is on my list of priorities too. I make sure to have enough time for myself. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day (to have a cup of coffee in silence), it makes all the difference.
Self-care keeps me sane and happy. And when I am happy, I can give my best to my family.
2. Realize the importance of limited time.
We all have limited time on this earth, and we need to make the most of it.
The idea of limited time gives so much magic to this life. It makes things more precious. And when you start realizing life is precious, time becomes more valuable to you.
On top of that, it makes you more aware of your mortality. It might sound depressing, but it’s not. It’s actually very liberating. Just think about it: If you knew you’re going to die soon, what would you do differently?
Do it now so you don’t end up with regrets about how you spent your time.
I think about death every day. I accept it. And I thank the universe for being mortal.
We never know when we are going to die, so the best thing we can do is to live each day as if it’s our last.
3. Notice what your distractions are and eliminate (or at least minimize) them.
We all have our own distractions. It can be social media, Netflix, video games, or anything else.
Here is how I deal with my distractions.
- My main distraction was Instagram. I deleted it.
- Then, movies. I decided to watch only one movie per week. No TV series (all they did was make me escape my reality).
- Internet surfing is another one. I decided to use the internet only for work and research. No more browsing without a purpose.
- I open the app only if I want to relax for twenty minutes and watch something. Otherwise, it’s a huge time waster (I used to open the app and scroll through it for five minutes with no purpose).
Once I did that, I noticed that sometimes I even got bored. And I love that feeling of not picking up my phone every time I have a free minute. I just enjoy it.
4. Consciously choose to do one thing despite countless other activities you could be doing.
You know those moments when you’re about to do something, but then you wonder, “Should I really be doing this? I could be doing something else.”
This is a common feeling. We often have so many options that it’s hard to choose just one. But simply do that. Choose one activity and stick to it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” choice or not. There’s no such thing as “right” when it comes to how you spend your time.
I recently listened to a podcast by Oliver Burkeman. He said that we don’t want to make choices. We don’t want to decide. We want to let all the options remain available to us. This is also why we love dreaming about the future. Because all the options are open.
But we need to make a choice. It is so liberating to make a choice. It gives you a sense of control over your life and your time and it keeps you moving forward instead of standing still.
So, choose one thing and do it. You will feel so much more in focus because you know where you are going.
For instance, I am writing this article. I could be doing a million other things, but I choose to do this. And it feels great. I am all in. And I am focused because I am not thinking about other things that I could do.
5. Know that failure is a sign you’re using your time well.
When we start a project or an activity, we want to do it perfectly. We need to be the best. Otherwise, we think it’s a waste of time.
In reality, it is life itself. You can’t prevent failure. You will fail. A lot.
And that’s a good thing. Failure is a sign that you’re trying something new; that you’re pushing your limits, learning, and growing.
How can we make the most of our failures?
- First, accept them. Don’t try to bury your failures or pretend they never happened. Acknowledge them and learn from them.
- Second, put things in perspective. This one opportunity didn’t work out, but it’s not the last you’ll get.
- Finally, focus on the successes in your failure. Odds are something good came from it, even if you can’t see it just yet.
Oh, I failed so many times. I lost years of my life in failure. But I am grateful for every single one of them because they made me grow and become better, maybe even wiser.
My biggest failure is probably my university degree. It’s three years of my life. I was so naive thinking that I can succeed no matter what bachelor’s I choose. And I chose the easiest one.
Turns out, there is nothing I can do with my bachelor’s degree. It’s useless.
I could have spent those three years better, but I am not regretting it. Because if I didn’t fail, I wouldn’t be so motivated today to start my own business and to create something that has meaning.
As I said in the introduction, I was once horrible at valuing my time. But I am glad to say that I have changed. It certainly wasn’t easy. And I am not an expert at this. I still must remind myself to value my time. To cherish every moment.
But my alarm doesn’t annoy me when it wakes me up in the morning anymore. It’s a reminder that I get to wake up and enjoy my time on this earth.
I am grateful to still be alive.
The time that you took reading this article is valuable. I hope it will make you value your time even more.
Remember that time waits for no one.
Remember that it’s non-negotiable.
Remember that you can’t save it.
You can only spend it wisely.
About Diana Bazic
Diana is the founder of minimalismbasics.com, a website about simple living that can help you declutter, find purpose and happiness. She's honest and straightforward in her writing, sharing tips and advice that have worked for her – no false promises here. If you're looking to declutter your life, start living with intention, or just find more peace and contentment, Diana's blog is a great place to start.