Time's Hidden Treasures | Why Is Time Management Important?

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Time.

It is one of the universal laws governing our existence on this planet. The incredible phenomenon that gives everything in our lives a sense of stability. It gives life to progress. We’re always subject to it, we’re constantly talking about it, and without it, we’d be lost.

Time can either be your greatest enemy or your most trustworthy companion. It all boils down to the way we approach it, and whether we’re willing to treat it with the love and respect it deserves to allow a wonderful relationship with it to grow.

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Why Is Time Management Important?

In trying to understand the concept of “the arrow of time,” theoretical physicist Sean Carroll explains, “We remember the past but we don’t remember the future. There are irreversible processes. There are things that happen like you turn an egg into an omelet, but you can’t turn an omelet into an egg.”

Carroll’s explanation is simple, yet so illustrative of precisely how time works. We’re very obviously moving forward in some sense. There is a process of aging. All things degenerate or evolve over time.

A New Perspective On Time

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

Does progress in time actually exist?

By definition, without time, progress wouldn’t exist. Progress is a movement forward in time, with reference to quality.

With respect to the outside world, progress in time is an obvious occurrence. The most simple example is technological advancement.

However, with regards to each of us as individuals, I’m not sure that progress in time is obvious as we think.

The past and future both seem to exist in our minds, but whether we’re making progress – advancing as individuals, is a unique question we all need to face if we want to learn to utilize time effectively.

The past and future can be said to come to one point, which is the present moment.

Here’s how: Everything we are in this moment is a compilation of the past. Our past circumstances, actions, and decisions. The circumstances we’ve been handed and the way we’ve responded to those circumstances all comes together into who we are, right now. By the same token, what will happen to us in the future is already set in stone, unless we make decisions that don’t conform to who we are right now.

Based on who we are in this moment, whenever we face new events or circumstances, we will respond according to how we’ve habitually been programmed to respond, which is a direct result of the past.

This begs the question, how can I change my relationship to time, and how can I utilize it more effectively?

why is time management important, time management

The Hidden Treasures of Time Management

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”

Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères

Embedded in the notion of time management are two significant ideas.

  1. Do I take advantage of the opportunity to grow and alter my decisions on a moment to moment basis to conform to the person I want to be?
  2. Do I make the necessary time to do both what I am obligated to do, and what I want to do in and with my life?

Time Management refers to the idea of dividing time in an organized way and designating certain periods of it for specific activities.

Without effectively splitting up our time towards the different things we need to and want to do, we feel the constant pressure of time like a 200-pound boulder on our minds. We get stressed about  when we should do what’s necessary to be done and whether we’ll have the time to do what we want.

The effect is that we get confused and act without thinking logically about how we can make everything fit together in a coherent and stress-free way. We end up constantly wishing we had more time. Just like the incredibly truthful quote above explains, if we don’t organize our time effectively, we’ll always be chasing more of it.

The hidden treasures of time management are the ability to create the changes you want to see in yourself and to live comfortably without questioning whether or not you’re making time to live the life you want to have.

How To Effectively Manage Your Time

Changing your relationship to time and learning to manage it effectively is about evaluating how you currently treat your time and getting logical about how you can split it to actually do what you plan.

The biggest problem with time management isn’t the act of sitting and thinking about how to split time, but rather the fact that we don’t follow through on how we decide to divide it – we procrastinate whenever we “don’t feel” like doing what we planned. 

That’s exactly how the two hidden treasures of time come together. We have to plan logically and effectively, along with make moment to moment, day to day decisions about following through on how we plan.

Step One: Divide your time in a way you can trust yourself to act

We can plan to get up at 5:00 a.m. and workout all we want, but unless we actually get up and go to the gym, we’re abusing our time. In order to do time management the right way, we really have to designate times for actions in a way that we can trust ourselves to act. If you know you won’t be willing to do a designated action at the time you specify for it, you’re WASTING your time. If you plan to read, meditate, work, exercise, write, or do any other habit you continuously tell yourself you want to do without ever getting to it, designating a new time for it might be the secret to finally getting it done.

Step Two: Keeping your promises to time

One of the hidden treasures of time I explained was that this moment holds the only possibility of change. If we learn to change our relationship to the moments in which we make decisions about how to act and what to do, we can make our every dream come true.

To USE time in the way we PLAN for it, we have to learn and appreciate that if we don’t stick to our plan now, the chances of us sticking to what we decide later diminishes drastically. On the other hand, if we do begin to follow through on our plans in those moments we don’t feel like it or think there’s something more pressing, time will reward us with the beauty of its structure.

Stop breaking your promises to time and time will give you the life you want.