Over the past 100 days, I have meditated and journaled daily. I also tracked how I spend my time each day. Positive externalities of the pandemic? Ok, too soon. Back to how I’m super Zen.
Through this process of meditating, journaling and time-logging, I have come to a realization: I spend most of my time thinking and planning for the future. While this is a useful skill, it can create a false sense of control. The present moment is fleeting, and once it has passed, it becomes a memory. If my memories are filled with planning for the future, what becomes of the present?
Time does not stop
By reviewing my time logs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, I recognized the obvious—each moment is a unique experience that is shaped by time, space, and activity. I cannot hold onto any moment longer than it appears in my awareness. Time marches on, and I cannot control what comes next.
I do not want to spend all of my time focused on planning for the future. It is important to take breaks and be present in the moment, both mentally and physically. Only by being present with myself can I be fully present for the things that matter to me.
5000 weeks to live in the present
Let’s be optimistic and say that we have 5000 weeks to live on this planet. I have already lived over a third of my (hopefully) allotted time. To make the most out of the remaining two-thirds, I turned to my daily and weekly logs. Each night, I rated my day on a scale of 1-10 (nerd alert!). This is what happens when you run NPS surveys for years.
On days when I rated my experience 6 or below, I felt like the day was a blur filled with random work and chores. I had many plans on those days, but I executed none of them. My energy was low and I was easily distracted.
On days when I rated my experience 9-10, I was doing two or more of the following three things:
- Learning and building anything (growing)
- Spending quality time with friends and family (nourishing relationships)
- Exercising, playing, and eating well (appreciating good health)
Some days, I only accomplished one of the above three, but it was still deeply meaningful. These days created a positive energy loop. I was in the flow and present in the moment.
In the remaining two-thirds of my life, I want to focus on doing more of these three things.
How about you?