As 2017 is nearing an end, I find myself daily pondering, “How will I make 2018 better than 2017? How will I become better, smarter, stronger, more successful? How can I help more people?” This morning as my train of thought began chugging down that track again, the saying “waste not, want not” popped into my head. Intrigued as to why my brain would spontaneously offer up this quote that on the surface has nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions or goal setting, I decided maybe I should explore the concept of waste not, want not a bit.
It is believed that “waste not, want not” has its origins in the 1576 book The Paradise of Dainty Devices by Richard Edwards. It was then expressed as “For wante is nexte to waste, and shame doeth synne ensue.” In 1721, it evolved into the more easily understood, “Willful waste makes woeful want.” Both are just different ways of saying that if we want to have what we need, we shouldn’t waste what we have.” Great,” I thought, “but what does that have to do with my goal setting for 2018?” Then it struck me: my most valuable commodity is not something tangible, as these quotes seem to suggest on the surface. My most valuable commodity is TIME! If I want to ascend to even greater heights in 2018, I mustn’t waste time.
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” Bruce Lee
I love life and want to get the most out of it and myself. That’s why you’ll often hear me talking about planning, setting goals, getting better, and reaching higher. It’s easy to talk about these things but not so easy to do them. This is the reason my brain whispered, “waste not, want not,” to me this morning. Deep down, I know I could be making better use of my time. Too often, I allow unimportant things that will not make me or my life better have my attention. I think many of you do as well, and this is the reason I’m sharing these thoughts with you.
“The key is not in spending time, but in investing it.” Stephen R. Covey
We are all equal when it comes to the amount of time we are given. We all get 24 hours in a day. Why is it then, that some people seem to do so much more with it? It’s because they know how to invest their time. If we are truly going to become better, smarter, stronger, and more successful in the coming year, we will have to get better at investing time, not simply spending(wasting) it. We can’t afford to waste our most valuable commodity!
It is said that ultra-productive people understand the 80/20 rule that says we get 80% of our results from 20% of our activities. In other words, it’s not just about being busy. It’s about knowing where our focus needs to be and directing our efforts accordingly. It’s also about our desires, because if we want something badly enough, we’ll find the time and resources it takes to get it done. This is where planning is key.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler
The well-known speaker Jim Rohn often advised, “Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.” In other words, if we want to be more productive, we should plan our days focusing on outcomes. Time waits for no one, and if we are to be more than we are today, we must plan and then follow through with action. We’ve heard time is a thief, but I disagree. It’s lack of focus on what’s truly important while focusing on the trivial that is truly the thief in our lives. But as the quote above states, “you’re the pilot.” We get to decide where we will go and how and when.
I wrote this post mainly for myself, but I know many of us struggle with time/activity management and can use some encouragement. If you’ve lost focus, it’s never too late to get back on track. Forgive yourself, identify the time thieves in your life, regroup, and start again on the path towards your biggest hopes and aspirations. I encourage you to really live in 2018. Make every moment count. Do everything you do to the fullest. Dream. Desire. DO! Most of all, waste not, want not.
“You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.” Henry David Thoreau