Owning Your Time

When we think about our lives, we can tend to think of it as divided between time set aside for responsible purposes – work, study, the fulfilling of commitments – and free time.

It’s a natural mentality, and one that can be useful. It enables us to make necessary decisions about what we can and can’t schedule into our week.

However, if unchecked, it can also very subtly and easy take us into a mindset of powerlessness – one where we start to think of ourselves as the victim of our calendars.

Instead of remembering our own agency in living deliberately, we can start to think in terms of only have a few hours of the week ‘to ourselves’, where we can choose what we want to do.

This is a lie. Plain and simple.

We may not get to choose from one day to the next what we do with each moment of our time, but, as a general principle, we have still, in the majority of cases, made choices about how we spend our days.

Maybe you made the choice 3 years ago when you enrolled in the degree. Maybe you made the choice when you accepted the promotion, or decided to take on that mortgage or renovate the house, or decided to start a family, or decided to serve on that committee.

But somewhere along the line, most of us have had some sort of say in most of what is determining how we spend our time – ALL of our time, not just our weekends. And with few exceptions, we have some measure of power to adjust how that time is being spent to some degree.

There are exceptions, of course. There are plenty of life-altering circumstances that come along and demand our time, energy and finances in ways we have no control over. But for the majority of us, for the majority of seasons, we do have some control over our time management decisions.

One of my favourite writers of all time, Henry David Thoreau, from whose writings the title of this site is derived, said “as if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”

Let’s not go through life killing time until the weekend; failing to choose how we spend our days and weeks and months and years. Let’s be those who live deliberately and invest our time to build a life that honours what really matters!

Question: Are there any parts of your time that you could be using more deliberately? What steps or changes would you have to make for that to happen?