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Prisoner or Jailer of Time

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late." – William Shakespeare

Prison and jail are words that invoke discomfort, especially in kids who were conditioned as a child that police will put them in jail if they do not obey.


Even though the word, prison and jail are used interchangeably to express confinement by legal authority, when the letters ‘ER’ is added to the end of these two words, the meaning changes like day and night. That is, prison becomes prisonER and the Jail becomes jailER.


Similarly, there are little things we say, do and believe that have a big impact on how we live our life. And a small shift in words, action or belief can bring a world of difference in the way you live your life, the difference is like day and night.



I Have No Time

For example, I HAVE NO TIME! It is a simple sentence that is used by little kids to the elderly, from the housekeeper to the CEO. Yet the impact of these words on the way we conduct our life is massive.


"The time I kill is killing me." - Mason Cooley

The concept of NO TIME is a powerful life management technique to improve happiness and creativity. But the sentence I HAVE NO TIME in most cases implies, I HAVE NO POWER to control my time, or that I have NO TIME to celebrate life, or I have NO TIME to do anything I want.


Basically the sentence “I have no time'' reiterates that you have NO POWER to live your life in any other way.


And this helplessness keeps one constantly wanting to find more time beyond 24 hour, or wishing for things in life to settle down to start living better. But unfortunately there is no magic wand.


But when we understand that TIME is not what needs managing, it can reshape your life. Think about it, Isn't MANAGING TIME a misnomer, can we actually manage time. Time is a concept that we have no control over, whether you jump up or down, time will keep ticking. You can not stop the sun from going up or coming down, now that is a fact.


Life Lived, Not Time Kept

Time doesn't care what you do, it does not discriminate, it does not have an agenda, it is a stream that is flowing. Then why are we trying to control something we have no business controlling


So in reality, the only thing you can manage is how you conduct your LIFE around TIME. and that my friend is the answer to the eternal dilemma of time management. We are not put on this earth to be TIMEKEEPER, rather we are here on earth to LIVE LIFE, because the true measure of time kept is the life lived!


So the first step to time management is to manage your life. That is, whatever is important to you will always find a way to consume your time. If watching the FRIENDS REUNION is important to you, you will find the time to do it. Remember this, it is not the activity that is important, rather the value you place on that activity.


So rather than saying to yourself, I HAVE NO TIME, you can try saying to yourself that I HAVE NO TIME FOR THAT BECAUSE IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO ME NOW!


Important or Not Important

Once you practice saying to yourself, 'its not important for me now' , soon after a point you will realize two things, either that you are doing more of what is important to you and it is okay that your TIME is consumed, or you will realize that you are doing more of things that are NOT IMPORTANT to you and that is why you feel you have NO TIME.


If you realize that most of your day is filled with things that are not important to you, then you are a prisoner of time. If you discover that you are doing more things that are important to you, then you are a jailer of time, that is, you have designed your life to align with the stream of time. It is a wonderful place to be, where you are in sync with the flow of time and what is important to you.


I do understand that, it is not always easy to achieve this state, because there are deadlines, meetings, commitment, traffic blocks, accidents, or incidents, but that is just life throwing a curveball, it is up to you to pick up the bat and hit. Striking out because you did not have time to swing will only make things worse. So swing now, you might hit or miss, that is okay, you just keep trying to better manage your life around time.



Underestimating a day

Many times we overestimate the importance of life time and underestimate the power of a single day or a single hour. Stop Overestimating the importance of a lifetime, and focus on the day, because your life in a day is your life in a lifetime, how you live your life in a day is how you are going to more or else live your life at large.


For example, If you are person that watches 2 hours of tv a day, there is high possibility that you will be doing that for the next 20 years, and still cribbing that you do not have the time to read a book


Or if you are a person who spends a few hours everyday in the evening with your friends after work either physically or on phone or social media, there is a high possibility you would do it for the next 20 years, and still cribbing that you never got enough time with my family.


Or if you are a person who puts in more time at work, there is a possibility you would do it till you retire and you will be cribbing about how your work took you time away from what you wanted to do.


It is true that your days are your life in miniature, so take a closer look at your day, is it how you imagine your life to be. Are you a prisoner of time or a jailer of time?



Align Life with Time

There are instances in life, we unintentionally align our life with our time, and it would surprise us when we actually find the extra time to still do what we were doing or if not more, when we manage our life better. It may not be the big changes, but the little changes.


Most new parents will agree with me that once a child is born, time operates differently. Many new parents run mad to scrape up time for child care, but ultimately, they set into a rhythm that aligns their life with time.


True, some manage it better than others, but at the end of the day, everybody builds a world around the baby, where every parent is intentionally trying their best to build a world around the baby, because the baby is the center of their life, it is the most important thing in their life.


For many young families, owning a house is an important milestone, and when a family comes around planning to buy or build a house, you can observe how their priorities shift, how they spend their time and they rework everything in their life to revolve around making the house.


So then my question is, before you had a child, or thought of building a house, or becoming a pet parent or anything else that is important to you, there was a time you couldn't imagine having time for an event like this in your life. But then you did manage to insert it into your life. How is that possible? Did you get more than 24 hours?


"There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want." -Bill Watterson

Which means, you always had the time , just not the need. Once again, it is not time management that is key, rather life management, so ask yourself, what is important to you now, what is at the core of your life?


When you understand this fact of life, then everything else is just a matter of using a time management tool that best suits you, there are so many tools available. I personally use a cocktail of the Most Important Task, Time Log, Pomodoro technique and Daily Reflection.


Now that you know the secret of time management, what is it going to be, a prisoner of time or a jailer of time?


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