I’m a big-time management guy.  It’s a subject that I get a lot of questions about at Passing the Baton and when I’m meeting people in the real world.  Recently the question and idea came up about the desire for time versus the desire for more personal experiences.  Could the aching desire for more meaningful memories actually be disguising itself as a desire for more time?

I want more time to spend outside of work

Let’s say you are already doing well with your time and you still want more time outside of work.  Evaluate your time in a given week and see how much leisure time you actually have. It’s likely higher than you think. 

  • Use your calendar to determine your average amount of leisure time. This alone may be the wake-up call that you are spending more time doing things that have little significance. 
  • Pull out your hobby, friends, family, education, and health maintenance time. Examine the quality of those times. Are they being utilized well or is there a lot of wasted time? How about technology’s impact on those times? 
  • Time perception is real. How we perceive our time impacts how we spend it.  If you feel like you have no time, you are likely more stressed about it and aren’t using it all efficiently. On the other hand, those that feel like they have a good grasp and control over their time get more out of the moments they create.

What you think you spend your time on and what you actually spend your time on might be more different than you realize. 

I need more space

I always tell people to schedule their free time. I know it sounds weird. John shares a story years ago when he started doing this. He started scheduling daily water intake and playtime with his kids. Wouldn’t you know it, he started getting healthier and enjoyed more memories with family. 

Scheduling off times and space protects it from other time-wasters and other priorities from stealing it away from you. Place memory-building activities on your calendar. It doesn’t always have to be a grand adventure; it can be as simple as a date with someone or a phone call to an old friend. 

I need help being in the moment

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more aware of being in the moment. I no longer take the situation or time for granted anymore. I think of it as memory imprinting. I’m very aware of what’s going on around me and I’m actively building that memory as I live it out. It may sound odd, but it has certainly helped me. Here are some tips to help you with memory imprints. 

  • Call out details in your mind as you are in the moment. What are the smells? What are you wearing? What is the weather like? What are the key things going on around you? I love doing this on film sets. There’s always a ton going on and it’s fun to remember all the behind-the-scenes things happening when it comes out on the big screen. 
  • Think back and reflect on the time soon after it wraps up. This will help solidify the memory in your mind. I usually reflect back immediately after it’s over and then a couple of times the following days. 
  • Eliminate all distractions. Another plus about the film industry is that you are not allowed to have phones on set. It forces you to be fully in the moment. That experience has taught me that there are times when I need to put up my phone. I know that I have missed memorable moments because I’ve had my face in a phone. Make sure that you are not that person. 
  • Grow an appreciation for the moment. Realize that the moment you are in is a snapshot, never to be repeated again. (Even if it’s an ongoing event like work or Friday nights with friends) Each event is different and the circumstances of these events will change before you know it. 

I need help remembering

Our minds can be a frustrating thing. You want to hold on to retain quality memories and experiences, but it’s constantly dumping that info so that it can process new ones. There are a couple of options that I would recommend to help catalog and enjoy your memories. 

Daily Journal – Use it as part of your morning routine or at the end of the day. This doesn’t have to be a significant amount of writing every day, just enough to catalog the high points. A side benefit of this is that it may open up creativity and a larger desire to write and compose. It also gives you a semi-detailed look back so that you can see the progress that you’ve made. 

1 Second Everday APP – I found myself frustrated that I wasn’t remembering as much as I wanted to. The creator of 1SE felt the same way and that’s why he built this app. Basically what you do is take a picture every day and then the app catalogs it and can make things like slideshows and movies out of them. You can also just browse daily pictures if you’d like. 

The app forced me to be on the lookout for good moments and appreciate them more as they happened. It also helped me remember them. I’m currently looking back 7 months and I remember the details of every one of those events. I highly recommend the app to others. 

The desire for more memories is often the starting point of some type of time management. Regardless of the motivation, I would encourage you to pursue it. Passing the Baton teaches online classes several times a year and I would certainly recommend Lee Cockerell’s Time Management Magic for people to read. 

Enjoy your time and make great memories. 

Make a better tomorrow.