How to Make Your Time Meaningful

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about time. I’ve been obsessed with it. Perhaps it has to do with returning back from a half year sabbatical when most of the days traveling felt as if they stretched for fifty hours in each day. Now having returned from that trip and back in Silicon Valley, the days fly by and are a mix of work, kids, friends, exercise, and daily routines. I’ve become consumed in this busyness of life and it appears that’s the way it is for everyone else as well.

All around us, we have clocks, watches, smartphones with clocks, laptops with clocks, cars with clocks, and microwaves that tell the time. As a society, we’re absolutely obsessed with tracking time, but do we actually ever think about making our time meaningful? And how do we do this?

Consider the word “time.”

We use so many phrases with it. Pass time. Waste time. Kill time. Lose time.

In good time. About time. Take your time. Save time.

A long time. Right on time. Out of time. Mind the time. Be on time. Spare time. Keep time. Stall for time.

There are as many expressions with “time” as there are minutes in a day.

~From Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper


How do we make our time meaningful?

We make our time meaningful by being grateful for every moment. It’s actually quite simple and it involves three easy steps that we are taught as children when crossing the street (as inspired by David Steindl-Rast’s TED talk).

  1. Stop
  2. Look
  3. Go

When we stop, we center ourselves and our position in the world. We are present in the moment, living, and breathing.

When we look, we observe what and who is around us. We see where we are and notice the opportunity in front of us. By observing with compassion, we’re able to plan a course of action to make the most of our current situation.

When we go, we take action. We move forward and we make that moment worth living.

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Examples of how to make your time meaningful:

  1. Drink your coffee with satisfaction. Smell it, look at it, and really taste it. Be grateful that you have coffee and can enjoy it.
  2. Eat your food with joy. Focus on eating. Don’t multitask or rush through the meal. Smell it, appreciate it where it came from, and how you’re able to eat it. Be grateful for the nourishment the meal will give you.
  3. Enjoy your morning run. Be grateful for your legs, your health, your breaths and each step of your run. 
  4. Get up earlier in the morning to meditate and pray in the morning. Quiet your mind. Be grateful to be able to sit down, to be in silence, and to be connected to God. 
  5. Read that extra bedtime story to your kids, even though you’re tired. Be grateful for your kids, your time with them, and your kids’ interest in sharing stories with you.

We all want more time in our lives, but the truth is that we all share the same fate. We don’t get to live forever and there is a reason for that. In the end, we must ask ourselves, why does God limit our days?

 “To make each one precious.”

~From Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper

Make the most of your time while you have it. Stop. Look. Go.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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