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"Lost time is never found again ..."

is one of the many quotes for which Ben Franklin is famous. Ben Franklin certainly wasted little if any time. He made notable contributions as a writer, a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a diplomat, a printer, a publisher and a political philosopher. Wow!! If I had half of those accomplishments I'd consider myself successful! If there was one thing old Ben didn't do, it was waste time!

The essence of his quote, to me at least, is that we should use our time wisely. That doesn't mean we have to work every second of every day. But it does imply our time is limited -- we don't have an endless amount of time to sit around engaging in "unfulfilling" downtime. In that regard, think along the lines of "killing time" as synonymous with "wasting time." And why would any of us want to kill time?!


When I was younger, and my life stretched out endlessly (or so it seemed) before me, I didn't give much thought to time and its passing. As I'm now past the midpoint of my life that perception is changing. I recognize the importance of using my time well. It can be as simple as considering how many books I'm likely to read. A friend of mine shared with me the following: he calculated that he read approximately a book a week (50ish books/year) and that he had approximately 50ish years of reading left in his life for a total of 2,500 books he could realistically read. I'd never thought of reading like that, but it opened my eyes in a new way and influences the books I choose to read. Twenty-five hundred books may seem like a lot of books, but when one considers that there are millions of books in the world -- 33 million titles on Amazon alone -- it sheds perspective on the importance of prioritizing reading time wisely! And that's just reading. Think about all the other ways time is spent. It makes sense that a purposeful approach to how we spend our time will result in the greatest odds for success and the opportunity to live a life of our choosing, rather than a life that happens to us and is more accident and luck than choice.


I find it helpful to practice mindfulness when choosing how to use my time. There's nothing wrong with chilling in a hammock on a beautiful summer day, playing a video game to relax, curling up with a favorite book in front of a fireplace or just staring into space and pondering the meaning of life. Everything I do doesn't need to check the box of productivity. It's important to relax, to take time off from work, to get enough sleep, to take time for play. These are all pillars of health and wellness just as career and finances are pillars. The trick is to keep everything in balance, in its proper place. And that entails making time to prioritize, to have a structure and routine to our days. Most of all, it points to the importance of making conscious choices about how we spend our time and ensuring that those choices will lead to our desired outcomes.



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