How to Spend Your Time Effectively
I've often heard of the phrase "stuck in the past" or "living in the moment", without really fully understanding their relation with each other and the concept of spending time as a whole. In fact, there's an optimal percentage of our time that we should be spending in each of the major 3 time perspectives, as outlined in this article from Darius Foroux, the author of Think Straight.
Past, Present, Future
Past: When we're too focused on our past, we tend to overly reminisce the good times we had or be overly pessimistic over our painful memories. This has overlaps on the present day us, affecting our ability to focus on the present day.
Present: Similarly, being too focused on the present leads to a constant crave for instant gratification, wanting to see results from the get go.
Here's a matrix table to summarise it:
So what should be the most effective way to spend our time?
Well, here's our take on it:
80% present, 5% past, 15% future
We placed majority of the time emphasis on the present day time allocation as it's the only one that we can actually take control of right now, and affects the future us too.
5% past: What we can take value from the past is the reflective part of it - are there any lessons we can apply to future scenarios? Was there a treasured friendship or relationship moment that you would look back fondly upon in the future? And again, while it's good to reflect on these, the past is the past after all, so we would allocate the least time of our day to dwell upon it.
15% future: What can make life better for the future you? We would take time to plan ahead and visualise the goals that we want to manifest.
80% present: The majority of our time should be spent executing our plans and living in the moment. What we do now has a spillover effect to our future and it's important to spend this time wisely! Essential things like working, interacting with loved ones, eating; and recreational hobbies like reading or travelling are how we can balance this time accordingly.
Of course, it's hard to quantify our lives, and these are just some general guidelines we abide by. Plan our own time according to your priorities and goals.
"Make the days count"
A simple quote I've kept in mind for the past few years. What's gone is gone, we can't predict the future, make the present count.