The Link Between Time Management and Meaning

I started listening to Oprah's Super Soul Conversations podcast again and realized that I was missing out on an insightful reminder. In the introduction, in a penetrating way she says "I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time."


What we do with our time directly impacts the value we put to our lives. I feel like a million dollars when I'm able to check off all of my positive habits using the Strides app. However, the story is different when I sit in front of my TV to watch Netflix and eat a pint of salted caramel ice cream.


Finding meaning in our lives isn't a matter of figuring out one special thing that puts everything in alignment. We need many different nutrients in our diet to stay healthy. Similarly, we need different channels to bring meaning into our lives and managing these takes precious time.



Using Our Time Well in Theory


We're designed to live only 24 hours at a time because of our circadian rhythm. Additionally, according to the World Health Organization we can expect to live 73 years on average. Using our limited time wisely to live meaningfully is paramount.


Life is a building process. A simple way to determine if we're living meaningfully is to know whether we're using our time in a constructive way in terms of how it aligns with our goals and values. Because I treasure family and want to have my own children one way, I know I'm living meaningfully whenever I do something familial.


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson unriddles the meaning of life by expressing that it's something we can create rather than something we find all of a sudden. Parting from this idea, we cry eureka as a result of doing what's meaningful not as a result of searching for what's meaningful.


Creating a meaningful life obviously doesn't happen with the blink of an eye. Every second we put into making something meaningful, to whatever extent, for ourselves or others is time well spent. Knowing this can help to prevent paralysis by analysis when questioning the significance of what we do.



Using Our Time Well in Practice


We all have experienced what it's like to run out of time. There are strategies we can use to manage our time so that we can enjoy the fruits of the different channels that bring meaning into our lives.


The Parkinson's Law explains that work expands depending on the time we carve out for it. By working under this law, doing something like crafting an important email doesn't have to take unnecessarily long if we set a reasonable timer to get it done.


Knowing how to much time to devote to something while operating under Parkinson's Law can be clarified by using the Pomodoro Technique. Simply put, with the Pomodoro Technique you go through cycles of focusing on a task intensely for a moderate amount of time (e.g., 30 minutes) and taking small breaks (e.g., 3 minutes).



To Wrap Up


Our humanness is multifaceted and we need different avenues of meaning to make sense of our lives. The degree to which we derive meaning from life is correlated with how efficiently we use our time for our goals and values.


What do you think?


Sending you my best wishes, Yerika.

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