It’s the time of year when we think about the things that scare us the most. Ghosts, monsters, zombies…and the grim reaper standing over an empty coffin with our name on it.
There is another box that is even scarier. Imagine a box that represents your time here on earth, that is either filled with the things that you wanted to put into it. Or it’s not. The thing is, you get to decide what goes in it. That is a thought that is both liberating and frightening.
What do you want to put into the box of your time? Do you want to fill the box with creative, completed projects, with good work well done? Do you want to build great friendships, raise wonderful kids, share big ideas? When you think of each day as a file box, can you put what you wanted to into the box by the end of each day? This is the only way to have a box full of treasure when you see the other box with your name on it. If you get side-tracked by procrastination and other time-wasters, you end up putting nothing of value in your box. Nothing is scarier than the final grains of sand in your hourglass running out while the box that represents your time is empty of the things you wanted to put in it.
To fill the empty box, first spend some time thinking about what you want to put into it. Think about the personal qualities you want to reflect in your character, the values you want to express as part of your life, the goals and important work that you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to focus on Stephen R Covey’s Quadrant II of the Time Management Matrix: things like creative thought, planning, relationship building. Perhaps there are small Daily Disciplines that you want to develop into habits for a daily routine to maximize your time.
Next be very aware of the time thieves that will sneak in and quickly kill your time if you let them. Defeat procrastination and fear so you can fill the box of your time each day with the treasure you value. Are you spending your time on the things you treasure, or on things that have no lasting value to you? Remember the final line of the book “The Pigman” by Paul Zindel: “Our life would be what we made of it. Nothing more, nothing less.” Look into the empty box of the day ahead of you, but don’t let fear stop you from filling it with what you want.
See also The Angst Guide to Motivation