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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Inventory of Your Time

It has been a busy month. Relocating the family and starting my professional work all over again in a brand-new area has its challenges – all that require time to meet. For the past 5 weeks or more I have stayed exceedingly busy managing and adjusting to the balance needed to be able to continue moving forward and leading at home and at work. Making these types of changes requires a man to reorganize so much of his life. His priorities will often change and subsequently he changes how he spends his time and energy. It’s an evolving process. One matter must give way to another matter of rising importance and then as time goes by, that one gives way to another. Some things, such as the importance of family, are never to change. Family is the priority that other priorities exist for. My family is why I want to succeed at work. Providing educational and economic opportunity to my family is why I want to succeed and become the best in my profession. The spiritual health of my family is why Sunday is dedicated to the Lord and we go to church to listen to the sermon and fellowship with other Christians. Over the last two months, I’ve had to organize my time based on those things that are important to me.

One of the great stoic philosophers Seneca once wrote, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.” How true this is but how true it is that many people have no idea just how much time they waste and what they would change if only they considered how they spend it.

You will learn a lot about yourself by reflecting on how you spend your time. What is so important to you that you do it every day? Why do you do it? How often do you have regrets about time thrown away doing things you don’t want to do or things that have not been profitable? Time spent asking ourselves these questions and settling on honest answers will help us take inventory of our time. But it isn’t just an inventory of our time, it is deeper than that, how we spend our time illustrates an inventory of our life. Being honest with ourselves about how we spend our time might make us experience a great deal of regret if we come to realization that we wasted so much of it on things that really don’t matter to us or anyone else but this type of pain is necessary if we want to make necessary changes. As we often said in the Marines, “pain is weakness leaving the body.”

It can be painful to come to the realization that you’ve spent your time doing things that haven’t made you a better man or woman. It can be painful to face the fact that you haven’t put the time into your work that you know you should have to get the promotion you knew was on the table. The hardest things to come to grips with though, is knowing that you actually spent time hurting other people, especially people you love. If you’re like most people, you might have said something to someone you love that you knew would be hurtful and when you think about it your eyes well up with tears of regret and remorse. This is a self-inflicted pain but it is pain you need to feel and understand in order to inventory your time properly and deal with changes you want to make. This is a two-edged sword, while on the one hand you are reflecting on how you spend your time, on the other hand it would be easy to get caught in the trap of dwelling too long on any one matter that you begin wasting time thinking about how things could have been. You can’t change the past – don’t think about what could have been but remember that you’re taking this inventory to affect what still could be.

We all have time. Some of us have more time than others and some of us have less. Unfortunately, none of us know when our time is up until it is. Take inventory of your time now.

John 9:4 says, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” The lesson here is that we need to do right now, make necessary corrections now, adjust how we spend our time now because there is coming a day when we won’t have any time to adjust or any time left to make the changes to our life that we want to change. We are further reminded of the need to consider our time in Proverbs 27:1 which says, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for though knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Inventory your time. Make adjustments and keep a short account of those things you want or need to change.Start today. Live better. You don’t want to die under the weight of a lifetime full of regret.

Take aways:

  • Reflect on how you spend your time.
  • Measure the value of your time. Is it good for you? Is it good for others?
  • Reflect on your regrets but don’t dwell on them. Use them to make corrections to your life.
  • Consider your own mortality. It might sound morbid but you need to have a full understanding of the fact that you are going to die and you need to understand it could happen before you go to bed. When I was in college the guy in the dorm room right next to mine went to bed and never woke up. It probably never occurred to him when he set his alarm clock that he would be dead before it ever went off. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have time for anything, do better now.
  • Keep a journal and write about how you spend your time and how you think.
  • It’s better to have regrets while you can so you can live better. You don’t want to die under the weight of a lifetime full of regret.
Paul Curtman is a veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, an author, conference speaker, and statesman. For nearly 20 years, Paul has helped lead and develop leaders in the United States military, public service sectors, and business. Paul is a strong advocate for personal and economic freedom as well as the strength and integrity of the free market system. He is a Fellow at Club for Growth in Washington D.C. and currently lives in Missouri with his wife, Ruth, and their four children.
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