Is There a Way to Make More Use of Your Time?

You need not be productive, but ditch unhelpful habits if you want to improve as you age

Self-improvement experts often espouse the virtues of time management. But maybe the main reason not to waste time is not what you think.

Your thoughts and behaviors shape who you become. If your well-being is low, there’s a good chance you’ve spent time in imprudent ways often.

You’re in charge of what you do

Of course, life could have thrown you a curveball. You can’t help it if you suffer from a genetic disease or you’re a flood victim. You aren’t in charge of everything that happens. But you can choose what you do and ensure it’s beneficial if you want to see positive results in the future.

Not being productive isn’t the problem

The problem is remembering to choose things to do that further your development over detrimental acts.

You might be productive, for instance, digging a trench in your garden to reroute excess rainfall from your vegetable patch. Toiling in the wrong place, though, is useless. You work up a sweat, yet your vegetables still rot.

Sometimes people put their efforts in the wrong places, working toward goals that stunt their growth, make them ill, or ruin their happiness as they age.

You need not always be productive, and some of your best experiences may coincide with relaxing. Indeed, such occasions can reward you in many ways. Don’t work toward outcomes you don’t like, though.

What happens when you use time in damaging ways as you age?

Every experience is valuable. Even mistakes teach you how not to go wrong next time. The truth is you will encounter plenty of lessons no matter how you use time. You’ll meet setbacks and challenges whatever you do. So why not direct your efforts in positive ways?

If you don’t, your personal development and health as you age will be uncertain. Or worse. They will go the wrong way, and you’ll develop into someone you don’t want to be.

Eat too many pies, for instance, and your belly will grow. Get drunk often, and your health will plummet along with your ability to focus. Hang out with people with unhealthy habits, and you’ll soon resemble them. Stay in a job you hate, and you’ll get depressed.

You get the picture.

Let time support your growth

It’s vital to realize what you do each day counts toward your future. Little actions accumulate into massive outcomes.

What will happen if you add two more vegetables to your main meals, take a fifteen-minute walk each evening, or engage in regular meditation?

Your health could improve, and you’ll be calmer and better able to concentrate.

Time management matters. One day, the minutes and hours will end. You don’t have enough time to do everything you want to achieve, and you’ll have even less if unrewarding tasks or habits that result in ill health or distress shape you.

When I consider how to use time, I note how my actions create who I will be, and I’ve given up several activities in favor of those that will improve my well-being as I grow older. I’ve taken up positive habits I know will elevate my progress in life rather than discourage it.

Sometimes, I contemplate what might have happened if our role models — those who stand out as exceptional — had made different choices about time usage. Maybe Gandhi would have remained a businessman in the city instead of working toward peace, for instance.

We can only speculate what might have been different if the people we look up to had traveled different paths. But we can use our time in ways that mold us into who we prefer to be.

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Bridget Webber is a writer and nature lover, often found in the woodland, meadow, and other wild places. She writes poetry and stories and pens psychology articles; her love of discovering what rests inside the thicket and the brain compels her to delve deep. She’s appeared in many leading publications and is the author of Nature Poems to Heal the Heart and Nurture the Soul.

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Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.

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✨ Bridget Webber

Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.