How To Actively Take Control of Your Time and Your Life

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
– William Shakespeare

I have been thinking lately about actively wasting versus passively wasting life.  

How often do you end a day, a meeting, or perhaps just glance up at the clock and wonder – “where did the time go?”

Or perhaps on your birthday or as you celebrate the new year you realize how much time in your life has passed.

None of us want to waste time – but if you don’t actively, intentionally take control, time will leak away from you, in small increments throughout the day.  

And today, I’m going to show you six ways to actively take control – and own that time.

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”
– Chuck Palahniuk

Break “Default” Habits

One of the biggest reasons I waste time online is because sitting down at my computer when I have a few moments is a default activity of mine.

For many people, watching TV fills a similar role.  They come home from work, sit down – and turn on their TV, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, etc just to see what’s on.

Rather than defaulting to doing these things because they are easy ways to pass the time, I try to actively consider what is on my todo list, and actively choose what I want to do with each moment.

If you do need a default activity – make it productive.  For example, some of my new default activities are working out, texting my friends to see if they want to get together, and practicing guitar. I don’t need to be fully productive during that time – I just need a default activity that doesn’t lead to hours being wasted.

In The Action Solution, I break down exactly how I begin and end each day, the habits I’ve built up over the years. There is a bonus course, The Energy Solution, where I lay out my daily rituals as well.

Time As Toothpaste

Are you actively owning your time – or is it just passing you by?

Very often the imagery of time we see is sand falling through an hourglass, or a stream running.

In each of these cases, each moment only comes once and passes us by.

If I think of time as a tube of toothpaste however, it changes my perspective to a more active role.

Unlike a stream running or sand falling in an hourglass, toothpaste does not simply come out of a tube on its own – we force it out and use it up.

When I view my life this way, it forces me to take responsibility for each moment.

One Small Step Every Day

Many of the major goals in our lives (physical health, financial security, etc) are items that cannot be completed in a single day.

In fact, I’m sure most of my large goals are things I will work on for the rest of my life.

I don’t have to accomplish them all at once – I just have to stay in control and take one step every day.

As long as I am making steady progress towards them, I know that I am actively taking control of my life – rather than letting the days pass me by.

Take Back Your Attention

Do you feel as if you have too much to do?

Always racing against the clock, rushing through one thing to get to the next thing, or being pulled in different directions.

If so, it’s time to take back your attention.

Rather than trying to do everything, instead focus on doing just a few things well.

For me, that includes cutting back on my commitments.

When I am driven by outside commitments, I no longer have control of my own time.

When I am instead driven by my internal drive and goals, that’s when I control my time – and my life.

Choose To Begin Each Day

Similar to viewing time as a tube of toothpaste, giving the day permission to begin is a trick I use to change my perspective towards time and my day.

I imagine that each day when I fall asleep, time moves for much more than 8 hours, and when I wake up and turn off my alarm clock it’s not that it is now 6 a.m. – I imagine that I have been asleep for a very long time, and that it has been at 6 a.m. for days or weeks.

I tell myself that today is my day, time moves when I say it moves – and as I pushing the button to turn off my alarm, I am now letting the world go forward, and allowing time to move on to 6:01, 6:02 and beyond.

Pay Yourself First

I advocate paying yourself first with your time.

It’s a simple concept – but from experience working with clients, I know it can be extremely challenging to do.

If you aren’t in control of your own time, there is a very good chance you are paying yourself last every day.  Read my advice, and starting tomorrow, at least a little bit –  pay yourself first with your time.

Your time is valuable, and so is your life. What you do with your life, and what you do with your time matters.

Take control, and make it count.

Enjoy this article? You should Tweet This, or feel free to share it however you like using this shortened link:

Further Reading

Share This?