time wasting

There’s no such thing as making up lost time because we don’t lose time, we spend it.

Just because we spent in poorly, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t ours to spend.

Making up lost time is just scrambling to get done what you didn’t get done when you were supposed to.

Struggling through an all nighter to meet a deadline or pushing your body to the limit to squeeze out one last burst of speed at the end of a race are not signs of strength.

There’s no heroism there. It’s just poor management.

Live the present moment as fully prepared for the next as you can.

Time lost is irrelevant. Focus on siezing the time still ahead of you.

“Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

James Clear

People say you are what you eat, but I’m more inclined to believe you are what you do.

Make good food decisions, you’ll be a healthy eater.

Juggle every day, you’ll be a juggler.

In many ways, we are all of the things we’re performing in each moment.

Which is why it’s so important to optimise yourself in the immediate term.

Long-term goals are great, but they have no relevance to who you actually are outside of the effect that have on focussing your immediate goals.

Dreams are so fun to imagine because they skip all work required to realise them and get right to the reward.

For them to come true, a through line must be forged which connect the dream to the now.

People who lose sight of this live in a world of constant inaction with distant goals which will sadly never eventuate.

Every action, every second, is a vote for the person you’ll become.

Vote wisely.

Being the kind of person who always runs late is a bad habit to have, and an even worse reputation.

Running perpetually just on time might be an even worse habit.

You get the gratification of feeling on top of things, even when you’re not.

I’m guilty of this all the time. Arriving to a 12pm meeting at 11:58am is not showing up early.

Neither is posting a blog post at 11:58pm, but here we are.

When we don’t allow ourselves enough time to do our work with care, our work suffers.

On time isn’t good enough. We owe eachother better.

Our attention is even more valuable than our time, and we trade it every day.

We live in an attention economy.

Businesses bid for it constantly. On billboards, backs of busses, and through buzzes in your pocket.

How frugal we are with our attention influences every aspect of our lives.

Where can you see your attention seeping through the gaps of things which don’t matter?

Good time management means nothing without good attention management.

Fail to focus your attention, and all that time you saved is waste.

Now’s the time to stocktake and trim the fat.

Life is short, right?

But how many times have you looked at your phone today?

My answer is: too many.

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

Lucius Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

The letters of Ancient roman philosopher and dramatist Lucius Seneca are core to the bedrock of stoic philosophy.

His stunning essay, On the Shortness of Life, is one of his most valuable works, and is perhaps more relevant now than it was when he wrote it.

Time is our most valuable resource. We all have much more time than anyone did two thousand, or even a hundred years ago, but we haven’t developed the skills to use that time optimally.

Midway through his essay, Seneca distills the three types of time we dance with;

“Life is divided into three periods, past, present, and future. Of these, the present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain.”

He argues that those who squander the present rarely reflect of the past, because to do so is to understand their failure to seize moments and opportunities which have passed them by.

The past is painful if you’re in the habit of wasting your time in the present.

Although, those who focus too narrowly on the present without considering the future, the ‘busy’ people, those slaving away doing something they hate crossing their fingers that it’ll all pay off in the long run, are at risk of squandering their drops of time too; for the future is inconsistent and lady fortune is largely unpredictable.

The past is precious, he claims;

“It cannot be disturbed or snatched from us: it is an untroubled, everlasting possession.”

So if you wasting time guarantees future despair, and being too ‘busy’ with things which do not guarantee a future worth slaving for is a recipe for tragedy – what’s left?

Ask yourself;

What can you do – this very second – which will guarantee that you will be able to look back on today with satisfaction tomorrow, a month, and ten years from now?

Put your phone down, and do that.

Can’t think of anything? Start by reading The Tao of Seneca; a stunning free e-book, and relish in the beauty of Seneca’s stoic mindset.

You can’t go wrong.

To read the full version of On the Shortness of Life, skip straight to page 215.