The Flip Side to Not Wasting Time

As I wrote in the previous post, when faced with the prospect of ovarian cancer, I sent out a foxhole prayer: “God, please don’t let me waste another day of my life.” That led me to stop doing things that wasted my days. And then I began to ask “How can I not waste any time–an hour, a minute, a heartbeat?”

There’s only so much time you can spend contemplating How Not to Waste Time before you have to consider its corollary: How do you make the most of your time?

I still don’t know the answer to that, even after 12 years of asking the question. What I believe is that each of us has a unique perspective, and one which may change from day to day.

So, what do you think it means to make the most of your time?

Does it mean over-scheduling your days?
Does it mean multi-tasking at every opportunity?
Does asking yourself this make your brain feel thick as a brick?

Honestly, I’ve come to dislike the question. It sounds like something a proficiency expert (no offense to those who might be so employed) would ask in an effort to squeeze out every last bit of whatever for someone else’s benefit. I don’t know that I can ever make the most of all my time. I mean, really, what am I supposed to do in the check out line, deep knee bends? That ain’t gonna happen. Neither my knees nor my ego will allow it.

So maybe the question becomes: what does it mean to make the most of your life?

Coaches sometimes give their clients the wonderful exercise to write your own obituary or, if that’s too morbid, envision your 80th birthday party. The idea is to have a sense of what makes your life meaningful and then you’re supposed to fill your time with those meaningful activities. (Maybe it’s just the way my mind works, but I rarely find this exercise helpful for me).

I think to get closer to the best answer, you have to keep asking questions, like:

  • When are you really alive? What are you doing, who are you doing it with, how do you feel?
  • What gives your life meaning?
  • Why are you here?
  • What is your purpose in life?

And then, when you’ve figured out some of the answers to this, you get to figure out if all this meaning is worth taking the risk to pursue.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Whether your life is just beginning or you’re inside the 20 yard line, you (and the rest of us) can benefit from living life from a place of meaning, of purpose, on purpose.

How can you make the most of your life today?

This blog is intended to be gently thought-provoking. It is not intended to substitute for competent, professional, personalized therapy, coaching or consultation. If something you read here evokes a strong response that hinders your ability to cope with life, please seek professional help.

 

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