Physicists have defined time in different ways. In Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton defined time as absolute and something that can only be understood mathematically. In 1915, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein introduced the concept of the curvature of time in his General Theory of Relativity. No matter if time is absolute or relative, there is one constant that holds true… Your time is a limited resource.
We go through our days at an exhausting speed, whether it is rushing from one meeting to the next, grinding away at the desk, or traveling on business. Well-meaning people often say to sleep-deprived parents of newborns, “Enjoy every minute, it goes by fast.” It feels as if there is so little time.
The most moving perspectives of time are from the terminally-ill. Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi described time from the point of view of a dying man in “A Strange Relativity: Altered Time for Surgeon-Turned-Patient.” He has since passed.
When renowned neurologist Oliver Sachs learned that he had terminal cancer, he wrote in an essay, “I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.” (Sachs, Oliver. “My Own Life.” The New York Times. Feb. 19, 2015).
You may not have all of the time in the world, but you do have what you need. Here is a guide on how to make the most of your time, however long or short.
Develop a “Seize-Time” Mindset
At the end of each day, ask yourself, “Was this day properly seized?” Live each day focusing on the essential and eliminating what is not. Many people are in a job or spending a majority of their time in activities that are not in line with their true passion. Create an action plan on how you will align most of your time with what excites you. Understand what you consider meaningful and do something every day towards that purpose with measurable goals.
Get Moving, Get Real
Sitting at a desk, being physically inactive, could shorten the time that you have to live even if you exercise (Corliss, Julie. “Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death.” Harvard Health Blog. January 22, 2015). Take the stairs instead of the elevator, schedule 1:1 meetings as walking ones, and park your car far away to incorporate more physical activity in your day. Get up from your desk and walk every hour. Make time to exercise. Unplug. Get off the couch. Connect in the real world with people that matter. Surround yourself with exceptional people who inspire you to go beyond your preconceived limits. Be with people who make you want to be a better person than you are today.
Have you ever noticed how time seems to stand still when you see appreciation in the eyes of someone you have helped? Kindness is the precursor to empathy and the foundation to unconditional love. There is no shortage of injustices, tragedies, and sorrow in this world. There are so many people in need and living in quiet desperation. Practicing kindness is the one thing that you can do every day to make a difference. However, it is not enough to think kind thoughts, one must do kind acts. It’s not enough to do kind acts, these kind acts must have positive outcomes. You will never regret a life filled with acts of kindness. It’s time well spent.
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca, “De Brevitate Vitae” (“On the Shortness of Life”)
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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on April 18, 2016.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com