Strength in Selectivity

by Randy Murray on August 9, 2010

How many times to you find yourself saying, “Sorry, I’d love to spend more time with you, but I have to . . .”?

For me, it’s been far too of often. But in this last year I’ve made a real effort to take control of my time and my life, to not shortchange time with friends and family, and to not let the “requirements” of life dominate how I spend my time.

A big part of that freedom comes from the fact that I no longer work for someone else. I take on the projects I want and work hard, but on my own schedule. I realize that not everyone can do this, but I think more people could. And the other part, the biggest part, comes from becoming highly selective about the types of activities I participate in or I let take up space in my mind.

Take a moment with a blank piece of paper and conduct this simple self-survey (it will really work better with pen and paper than online). Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much time do I spend sleeping every day?
  2. How much time do I spend eating?
  3. How much time do I spend working (or at least “at work”)?
  4. How much time do I spend watching TV, gaming, or engaged in non-work social media or web surfing?
  5. How much time do I spend in household chores like cooking, cleaning, etc.?
  6. How much time do I spend talking or spending time with friends, family, and others?
  7. What other things take up time in my day?

Be honest. This list is just for you. Think of yesterday or the last weekday, not some ideal day.

Are you happy with this allotment of time? Are you getting done what you want and need to do? Are you enjoying your time?

Please, do not make any snap decisions to sleep less (very bad idea) or to never watch TV again or to disconnect from the net. Just look at how you spend your time, your life, and think about it a bit.

And I’ll offer this bit of hope and encouragement: you can get more out of life and enjoy it more. You’ll just have to do less.

This week I’m going to talk about selectivity and its role in helping you become more productive, and, more important, to become more satisfied with your life. I’ll tell you about the important role that boredom can have in your life and demonstrate how becoming a snob can save you time and money.  I’ll cap off the week with a Simple Productivity Tip and a Writing Assignment that should contribute to your efforts to narrow your focus, and hopefully, expand the freedom and free time available to you.

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The Strength in Selectivity by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hal Brown August 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Time is the great equalizer - we all have the same allotment. At this point in my life there is nothing (Maybe a few things) more valuable than time. I think you’re onto something with this post. :-)


2 Randy Murray August 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Thanks, Hal.

I agree. We all have only 24 hours a day. Trying to cram more in often just makes us more anxious and we’re left feeling like we can accomplish nothing. When we pare back to what’s really important, it’s amazing what we can do.


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