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Life, if lived well, is long enough

Life, if lived well, is long enough

By Natasja Beyleveld, Managing Director of NaMedia.

You wake up with a sense of urgency. You can’t touch it, nor label it. It’s like the itch at the back of your throat, or like having the hiccups.

I don’t know about you, but I hate having the hiccups. I had some furious chilli over the weekend (Carolina Reaper, I kid you not) and I felt like a Chernobyl victim for 5 seconds (it’s not funny, I know). But afterwards, I had the greatest sense of accomplishment. I did not die, I (unknowingly) had the courage to taste this crispy piece of pork belly (misled to assume its ‘hot’ like a ‘hot wing’), and then when my friend started laughing and clapping his hands, I knew it. $%&!.

Time management is what separates the good from the best. It all boils down to how we spend our time, and what habits we formulate knowingly or unknowingly by the assumptions we make about time.

Some of the worst assumptions we have cultivated is that a) it’s OK to be late for an event, b) that everybody can stay longer for the meeting, or c) everyone can dedicate afternoons to having meetings. Remember that your mindset and your schedule (and life balance) is not the norm for everybody else and we have to respect this.

Specific times of a day or week also become our mindset when the habits are reinforced over time, which begs us to please revisit them from time to time. The way we see an evening versus early morning, or the way we approach a Friday morning as opposed to a Monday @7h00, all asks for congruence to the ‘bigger purpose’. We can’t simply do “business at the front, party at the back”; rather we should work to a mindset alignment between for example a) why we rest, and b) why we work/exercise hard, and appreciate that both are of equal importance.

Time management gives you the opportunity to manage stress, and it allows a ‘bite size approach’ to small (ongoing) and mammoth (deadline) challenges. Think about working through a tough chapter of math problems. You have to crunch into it, but then you also have to take a break before digging into the next chapter.

It encourages you to be more flexible (creative) in that you anticipate certain ‘workshop’ / ‘meeting’ / ‘layout’ sessions for a task in advance. This all sounds like a big old “duh”, right? No. Working with so many students, mentees, and even my colleagues in industry over time, I have come to appreciate that it’s not a skill widely practised. Planning your own and syncing that calendar with the other ‘stakeholders’ and ‘shareholders’ in your corporate and social life, is part of the cosmos of becoming aligned to the greater good.

It’s like time-share holiday packages. A mutually beneficial agreement where some of your mind and space will be shared with others purposefully. Expectantly.

Time becomes the incremental value added to every project you’re dedicated to (or become dedicated to) in this life. If we live this life well, it will be long enough. Look at your calendar for the week (hopefully digital and synced to all your mail accounts and alerts), and just give yourself 10 minutes a day to plan better. To have some empty spaces filled with something you’ve been wanting to improve, be it exercise, reading, networking, learning, or giving some of your time to the benefit of others. Don’t limit yourself by believing lies like ‘there’s not enough time’, ‘there is no time for me now’, or ‘I can’t do this’. We can learn to do this. In order to manage a happier, healthier life, we need to do this.

Imagine, almost like the life wheel diagram of balance, that you have balance in allocating time to your family and friends, philanthropy, spirituality, career, financial resources, health, romance, and personal growth. If you shudder looking at one of these, I dare you to go work it into your time schedule for the week(s) ahead, and then deal with it when you get to it, but don’t procrastinate. By managing your time, you will have less guilt, and more courage. It becomes a matter of fact, and not a matter of choice.




About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.