If you could go back in time and tell yourself two words, what would you say?
It’s a big question, with potentially life-changing repercussions. Do you tell yourself to go another route? Would you try to prevent yourself from saying or doing something? Would you offer a compliment? Would you express regret or shame?
I’ve had this question in my head for the past week, shaking off some mental cobwebs built up over the years. For me, the two words I’d share with that past version of myself are pretty simple.
So often, we are caught in the day-to-day shuffle of life. We get up, sit in traffic, sit at work, sit in traffic, do more work at home, and then repeat. It paints a pretty plain picture. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Inside each one of us is a plan and a purpose waiting to be drawn out. Nearly every one of my peers in their late 20s has a variation of the same theme: I’m trying to find my place in life; my purpose. Most of them have spent years trying to figure out their plan in life. But, unless we connect with someone who can draw out those plans, we’ll be stuck, spinning our wheels.
It’s a biblical principle, in all practicality. Proverbs 20:5 says “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
Time is life’s greatest gift; not money, possessions, opportunities, grace, or accolades. Time. We have a certain amount of it on this earth, and our gift is to use it purposefully. It’s finitely limited. What are you doing with your time?
In a world where we’re constantly pulled to the left and to the right, torn between priorities and unable to meet our most basic needs as humans, time has a way of being lost in life’s shuffle. Recently in my own life, I’ve had to hit the brakes on the world, go a little slower, sit down, and rediscover the value of time.
Here are a few suggestions on how to gain back purpose and time in your life:
Don’t check your phone in the morning
This is a tough one, especially for those of us attached to our jobs. Unfortunately, our smartphones only add confusion and distractions to our lives. They’re an important tool, don’t get me wrong. But, take it for a spin this week: for seven days, don’t check your phone for the first 15 minutes of your day. It’ll reduce Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and add extra time to your life. Just ignoring your phone for 15 minutes each day adds another 7.5 hours to the average month. That’s an extra 90 HOURS of your life in just a year. Think of what you can do with 90 hours!
Advice from James Altucher has played a huge role in my life, and No. 2 in a list of things he values more than money is creativity. Spend those 15 minutes from the above suggestion writing, doodling, reading a book, going for a walk, putting a twist on your breakfast, or changing up your morning routine. It sparks the right side of your brain and causes it to break into action, and may help lead you to the next big breakthrough in your career. The world isn’t changed in an instant, but just 15 minutes a day can change someone’s life.
Give the gift of your time
This holiday season, remember the most important gift you can give someone: your time. Whether it’s family, loved ones, or a long-lost friend, spend time with someone and reconnect. It’s by far the most impactful thing you’ll do this year.