live life to fullestAs you pass through the ides of March you realize how quickly 2015 is going to pass you by. Time is not your friend.

A friend of mine recently lost his mom. At the end, the last thing his mother said to him was, “I just want more time.”

She just wanted another day. There’s a great book about a son who’s lost everything. He’s shut out from his daughter’s wedding, he dedicated his life to his father who abandons him, he lost his job and can’t get another, so finally he decides to take his own life.

But… he messes that up, too. Distraught he returns to his childhood home and discovers his mother, eight years dead, still living in the house. She was waiting for him like no time had passed at all. The story is called One More Day and Mitch Albom, who wrote The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie, wrote it. This book is all about forgiveness and how it’s never to late to take a new path in life.

That’s why most of you are here. You’re about to start or have just started taking a new path in your life. You’re leaving behind the broken bits, repairing what you can, and you’re moving forward. So, how can you make the most of your time?

 Make a To Do List

We’re never going to get time back.  So by making the most of every single day, you’re going to be able to start enjoying your life a lot more. From now on, I want you to make a list of what you can realistically expect to achieve during the day. If you’re a morning person you can make the list in the morning otherwise do it the night before.

Some of my clients find it helpful to write a time frame next to each task so they stay on schedule, for others just having a list to check off helps them focus. Experiment and see what works best for you.  Try balancing your day out. Over the course of the day make sure you have equal amounts of work, pleasure, and relaxation.

It’s important to live a balanced life. If you’re not sleeping, if you’re not working out, if you’re not making time for your family you become stressed and unable to perform your work duties. In life you’ll always have a to do list. I’ve had some clients proclaim they can keep everything in order in their heads. I call ‘bullshit’ on that.

If you could you wouldn’t be here because everything you hope to accomplish would have been achieved. Make the to do list and see how it changes your work ethic. Experience for yourself how your level of stress just disappears when you know what you have to do and how long you have to do it.

Stop Waiting For The Right Time – It May Never Come

The worst thing anyone can do when they’re starting a new path in life is to wait for the right moment. People tell themselves…

I’ll wait until the kids have moved out and then I’ll begin.

My partners perusing their passion so I’ll just wait.

I don’t have enough experience. I’ll wait until I’m older.

Each of those statements is an excuse. It’s a reason to put off starting, usually stemming from fear of failure. There’s no better time to start achieving your goals then right now. You’ve heard all of the stories: Steve Job and Steve Wozniack building a computer in the garage, Michael Jordan being cut from the basket ball team in high school, Tina Fey worked at a YMCA before her big break on SNL.

Every second you waste waiting for the right time is a second you could have used to practice. You could have used those seconds to research your goal or network with the right people. No one is ever fully prepared for anything. They may be researched, they may know the right people, they may be gifted, but nothing prepares you like living through the real thing.

You Can’t Fail Unless You Quit

You’re going to make mistakes. Thomas Edison said he didn’t make 10,000 bad light bulbs, he found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb. Thank god you’re not trying to create the light bulb, you’d need a lot of optimism for that. Your goal is probably smaller, but you’re just as passionate as Edison when it comes to achieving your goal.

The trick is to think of every mistake as a learning opportunity. When you were a kid learning to read, if you made a mistake you were encouraged to keep going. You knew you’d get there eventually. Think about your new goal in the same light.

Remember to patient with yourself. There’s a bell curve when you learning a new skill. All new skills take about 20 minutes a day for 20 straight days to develop. Using that time frame you can be mediocre at anything. But it’s no one’s goal to be mediocre. After those 20 days it’s said it take 10,000 hours to become an expert. Maybe your goals aren’t to be an expert, but you want to know more or be better than average.

I tell clients to split the difference. If your goal is to be a better partner or parent, for example, spend 20 days dedicating everything you have to being better. Do the reading, have the difficult conversations and in 20 days you’re relationship will be better. It won’t be healed, it won’t be perfect, but it will be better.

Then go to town on your 10,000 hours. Do little things here and there to improve the relationship. Keep drawing from your base knowledge and as you learn and develop you’ll be closer to expert status every day.  That’s the thing about time. It doesn’t stop. If you want to get better you have to start now because once that second ticks off the clock it’s gone forever.

So, start balancing your time better. Start living life. Start saving for the future, but make sure every single day you do things that make you happy. A more balanced life is a more fulfilling life.