How You Spend Your Time
Your time is precious. It’s the one thing that you simply cannot get back. Whilst this may sound obvious to you, it is a fact that many people forget. A few minutes spent doing something turns into a few hours and before you know it, your whole afternoon has been wasted on something that has little to no benefit. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that we should be productive and busy every second of every day. However, I do believe that minimizing the amount of time we “give away” to things and people that don’t serve us well, can lead to a more stress-free, manageable life that has more room for things we truly enjoy doing.
I know I’m not alone in saying that sometimes it feels as if my work consumes my life. It always takes the number one spot on my priority list, and as a result, doing things for pure enjoyment and relaxation slips further and further down the to-do list.
I’ve learnt a lot about the value of time as I’ve grown older, especially in the past year. I’ve learnt that everyone uses their time differently and that’s okay. The way you spend your time doesn’t have to be the same as anyone else. I am learning that the timing of everyone’s life is different, and that this should be something we embrace and celebrate, not shy away from.
As we grow up, it can be easy to look to our peers and feel as if we are “behind”. But the truth is that everyone is ready for different things at different times, be it relationships, getting a driver’s license or even going to university. Every single person’s life looks a little different and that’s okay. We were all meant to do different things and have unique skills and abilities. We shouldn’t rush ourselves or feel as if we have to stick to the conventional timeline that’s been ingrained into us from the day we could comprehend the very concept of time. Once you internalise and acknowledge that your life doesn’t have to match anyone else’s, you may find yourself feeling more at peace with your own decisions and the narrative your life is taking.
Sometimes learning the value of your time can come through difficult lessons. Another thing I’ve learnt over the past few years is that not all people are willing to invest the same amount of time and energy in you as you do in them. Learn to accept that not everyone is on the same wavelength as you. Not everyone is looking for the same connections as you. That is also okay. Step away from relationships that suck up all your time and don’t add any value to your life. It can be a difficult thing to deal with, especially if you are a person who generally goes out of your way for other people. Respect yourself enough to step away from things that don’t serve you and make room for things that will. I know that all of this can be easier said than done, but allow yourself room to struggle with things and time to heal, grow and learn from them.
Feeling as if you have to spend every moment doing something of value, however, is not realistic either. It’s okay if you feel like you’ve wasted time in the past. It’s over and wallowing isn’t going to do much, except waste more time (oh the ironies of life). I’ve found it helpful to know what is important to me, what my priorities are and what I value and want to achieve. I use the way I feel about things to measure how important it is to me, and how worthy of my time it is. I try to spend my time doing things that grow my mind and fulfill me. This includes surrounding myself with people who support and love me, but also challenge me to grow and think differently. Having said all this, I’m far from perfect. If I told you I’ve never wasted time on someone who has hurt me and not treated me with respect, or that I’ve never spent a whole afternoon on Instagram (appalling I know), I would be lying.
At the end of the day, no matter what happens, life is about learning. It is about making mistakes. And whilst you might spend a lot of time doing important, significant, impactful things in your life, you may also spend some time doing stuff just for the fun of it, and because it makes you happy. But that’s what life is about. It’s about that happy medium. That sweet spot. It’s one big, messy, joyful ride, and you just have to find a pace that suits you.
Nabeela Parkar is one of our monthly Comeback writers. She has a keen interest in writing and would be more than happy to read her way through an entire library. She enjoys being challenged and facing tasks that require her to think for a little longer. She is fascinated by maths and science and also have a deep appreciation for the ocean, mountains and the natural world at large. She is currently in her last year of school and is on the path of deciding what to do with her life as of next year. She’s an avid believer that whilst everything happens for a reason, taking action towards achieving your goals and dreams is key.