Here we go again. The year 2014 is almost over. It is literally disappearing before my eyes just like an ice cream melting in the hot summer day in a 3-year-old girl’s hands. She loses most of the ice cream partially because it melts faster than she can eat it, but mostly because she is distracted by her surroundings, or even worse she drops the ice cream on the ground because she doesn’t pay attention at all to way she holds the cone. She tilts the cone. Ice cream falls off. A few seconds later she notices the ice cream is gone and bursts into tears. We all witness a incident like this all the time at the theme park in summer.
When it comes to the way we handle the time given in one particular year, we are no different from the little girl with an ice cream. We waste most of it. We don’t treat it like the most valuable thing in the world. We don’t keep track nor pay attention to it, so we don’t even know where the time went. It’s time down the drain with little accomplishment. I don’t know about you. Maybe you understand how precious the time is and discipline yourself to spend the time only on the things you love to do. But many of us are either busy running unimportant chores or sitting around and doing nothing. And by nothing, I mean watching TV or surfing the web or whatever for hours without any specific purpose or goals. And the worst part is we don’t even realize we lost the time. What can we do about this?
One of the things you can do to prevent this from happening is to plan your day at the very beginning of the day, preferably do it the night before, so that you know exactly what you are going to be doing from the get-go the next day. No wasting time. In my opinion it’s best to combine a planning with meditation. The reason is that it will give you a chance to reflect on your own life and find our what it is that you truly love to accomplish in your life, instead of just being stuck in a rut and doing only the things you have to do, or worse yet what others expect you to do.
My life is a typical example of this. I turned 44 in August, and I was shocked to realize that I am almost half way through my 40’s. Last I checked, I was still 40. “What happened? Where did my time go?” I thought to myself. It felt like I lost 4 years in one year. Losing 4 lb. in 1 week would be very exciting to many, but no one would be excited about losing time like I did. What I mean is that I don’t remember doing anything meaningful or just plain fun in the last 4 years. I have been just busy running around, and completely neglected to nourish my soul with the things I love to do like photography and baking bread. So, before you plan your day, it’s always good idea to look deep inside of you through meditation and ask yourself what truly makes you happy. Incorporate it into your daily schedule.
Simplified version of ideal planning should go something like this: Meditate 15 – 20 minutes at night in the quiet area and ask how you can make your life fulfilling. Then spend another 10 – 15 minutes to list all the things you should do or have to do. And go through the each item on the list and ask yourself if they are aligned with your passion, and more importantly to see if they are going to help you achieve the kind of your life you want. If so, go ahead and incorporate them into your daily plan. If not, they should not be included in your agenda, or have someone else do it.
One thing I realized when it comes to planning and scheduling is that it is hard to list the things that you want to accomplish in the period of 10-15 minute. The harder you try, the more blank your mind becomes. Solution? Use your smart phone! Whenever I come up with an idea or a task during the day, I immediately enter into the calendar that is synced with my Google calender. I don’t initially allocate specific time for each tasks. So, when I look at the actual calendar at the end of the day, I have so many tasks overlapping in one hour time slot. I simply spread them out in appropriate time slots in Google Calendar on my computer. Next day, all I need to do is follow my calendar. It’s automatic. It’s like having a boss yelling and forcing you to get things done which is very effective for me.
If you carry around a traditional day planner, that’s even better! Something about writing on the paper with a pen makes each task much more meaningful and somehow registers in your brain much better than with an electronic device. Still, the concept is the same. So, get ahead and get in the habit of planning your day and get the most out of your life!!