The art of reflection and time management
“Life is a journey, not a destination” and “It is not the length of life, but the depth” are just two of the many famous quotes to come from Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American poet, lecturer, essayist and philosopher.
Importantly, these two quotes deliver a powerful message when it comes to how you decide to live your life now and into the future, especially in terms of time management – and, the outcomes that can arise from these decisions.
In short, cause and effect.
With this in mind, consider the following for a moment:
- When you are old and infirm, and looking back on your life, what do you want to see?
Digital technology usage (as an example)
In this increasingly fast-paced and interconnected world, you are probably finding yourself interacting with digital technology (especially online) at a growing rate, in both a personal and work-related setting. Whilst there are obvious benefits to digital technology, it’s important to still take a balanced approach to its usage.
For example, from a time management perspective, there is a question worth asking. Are the decisions that you are making regarding digital technology usage in certain areas impeding on your ability to achieve your goals and objectives (e.g. invest time in yourself) – and, lead a productive and meaningful life?
The results from a recent report(#) serve to highlight what we mean by this question. For example, on a personal level (as a consumer), on average, you may find that some or all of the following relate to you:
- Device ownership. We tend to own 3.5 internet-enabled devices (e.g. smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops, TVs, smart speakers, wearable devices, etc.).
- Internet access. We tend to use the internet every day.
- Social media site usage. We tend to access social media sites most days, if not every day.
- Social media usage by time of day. We tend to access social media sites in the evening and first thing in the morning. However, other popular times are breaks, lunchtime, last thing before bed, and commuting – and for some of us, when working.
- Social media sites used. We tend to use Facebook the most, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.
- Frequency of using social media sites. With Facebook alone, we tend to use it 37 times per week.
- Time spent using social media sites. Again, with Facebook alone, we tend to spend 16 minutes on it per visit, which equates to 9.8 hours a week (21.3 24hr days a year).
- Although not inclusive within this report, for those of us that have a subscription to a streaming service (e.g. Stan, Netflix, and/or Amazon Prime), we tend to spend 11.7 hours a week on it (25.4 24hr days a year).
- Views about time spent on social media. More than half of us perceive that our time spent on social media is about right (56%). Whilst some of us think, it’s too much (36%) or not enough (2%). Furthermore, more than half of us foresee the same amount of time spent (59%) or more (13%) on social media in the coming year, whereas some of us will reduce the amount of time spent (22%).
- Impact of social media on personal life. On the one hand, we tend to believe social media has a negative impact on our privacy, sleeping, concentration, productivity, patience, grammar and spelling. Whilst, on the other hand, a positive impact on our connectedness to others, relaxation and downtime, and personal relationships.
In our article, ‘The personal finance roadmap and the age of distractions’, we discuss distractions.
Briefly, distractions can take many forms and arise from a diverse range of sources; however, there is often a common thread. A distraction, when acknowledged and pursued, can take away our attention and concentration from an intended area of focus and redirect it either partially or fully to another.
Over time, these distractions can become engrained in our psyche and form part of our habitual routines, which can evidently make them harder to break down the track. With this in mind, it’s important to reflect on the prevalence, and impact, of digital technology usage in certain areas when it comes to your ability to achieve your goals and objectives (e.g. invest time in yourself).
Importantly, if you are finding that you don’t have the time to commit to your goals and objectives, then it may be worthwhile taking stock of your daily, weekly and monthly routine. For example, start ‘time tracking’ and then complete a ‘time budget’. You may be surprised by the results, especially when you extrapolate them out individually (and collectively) over a longer period, say a year.
After reflecting on the results, you may find that there is time that can be redirected to something more beneficial to you now and into the future, such as improving your health and wellness, expanding your knowledge and skillset, and eliciting positive outcomes in certain areas of your personal finances.
After reading this article, you may enjoy this insightful TED Talk by Stephen Duneier, where he explains how to achieve your most ambitious goals.