Do 24 hours never seem enough to do all you want? Or does your life seem to just keep counting the years without any noticeable growth? You need to learn to redeem your time.
Literally, to redeem time means to buy back time. It is like getting back time or holding time back and stopping it from passing by. If you look at it at face value, that is impossible.
However, that’s not true. The concept of redeeming time originated from the Bible, and there, “redeeming time” does not imply bringing back our past years.
As many translations render it, it is making the most of the available time.
In this article, I have highlighted 10 simple and actionable steps you can take to redeem the time of your life. Doing them will help you make your time worth more than it would have done. It will increase your productivity and help you achieve more in lesser period.
These steps are both applicable to specific time-bound projects, and your life’s purpose in general.
How To Redeem Your Time
1. Document a plan
If you must make the most of your time or make your time worth more than it currently does, you must identify goals and plans that you would like to achieve with your time. If you don’t have a goal, then a plan, there is no measure to how you have been able to maximize your time.
So the first step to redeeming your time is to determine what you want your time to be worth. For example, I want to get a doctorate by the age of 25 or more broadly, I want to live a life that fulfills “this purpose“
Once that is determined, you then document a plan that will help you accomplish that goal. A goal without a plan is simply a wish. A plan is the step-by-step actions you must take from where you are currently to where you want to be.
Having a written down plan saves you from waking up daily and wondering what to do. It also saves you from constantly trying to remember what you said you would do that you didn’t write down.
2. Establish your priorities
After documenting your plan, the next step to redeem time is to get straight what matters most to the fulfillment of that purpose, goal, or plan. Among the several things you need to do in following that plan, clearly define which are the most important are write them down in order of priorities.
It is common that in trying to reach a goal we get ourselves involved in many activities that aren’t bad in themselves but aren’t major contributing factors to the fulfillment of those goals. If you stick with those things, you will waste so much time and achieve less.
For example, setting up a business, choosing a brand color and logo, and determining the perfect office layout, are all important steps but aren’t as important as getting the product or service that will be offered to an irresistible state.
They aren’t as important as making sales, which keeps the business alive. If you spend all your time on secondary matters, by the time the primary matters are established, you might discover that you have to revisit the secondary matters all over again. That is wasted time.
3. Pursue only your passion or high value tasks.
Simple truth: you can’t do everything!
Although I have stated already that you set your priority straight, it is also important that what you are doing is worth doing in the first place. This step is to now revisit your plan and priorities and strike out things that aren’t necessary.
In building a business, as we have considered earlier, if attending business club meetings is part of the items on your list, you will want to revisit it to see if it truly worths your time and contributes to the success of your business, or if it’s just one of those activities.
If it doesn’t, not only should it not be at the top of your list, it should be struck out completely. In your life broadly, you will want to ensure that what you are pursuing is what you should be pursuing and not just something you got into because it seems nice, or because everyone else is doing it.
For example, if you don’t pursue your passion, you might get tired along the way, and might need to start a new pursuit that can give you the feeling of fulfillment.
That will be a setback to redeeming time as against going after your passion (or other high-value tasks) from the onset.
4. Protect your plans and priorities
Except you are no longer on earth or you don’t have plans, distractions and urgencies must come. If you want to redeem the time, you must be very active in guarding and protecting your plans and priorities.
This will demand that you turn down several invitations, stay away from some relationships, and avoid certain conversations without guilt.
There is so much that can be achieved if we are focused– even more than we think. For the most time in life, people didn’t get success not because they didn’t have plans but because they got distracted along the way.
Not every open door is an opportunity, and not every good thing is right for you. You must possess the ability to recognize distractions, and the strong will to say no. To help you keep up with this, there is a principle taught by Derek Sivers in his book, Hell Yes Or No, that says you should always say no to any invitation except your response is hell yes.
Meaning whatever you aren’t excited about, whatever you don’t think you will want to stick all out with, should not even be accommodated in the first place. That way you can save up time and energy to focus only on your plans and priorities.
5. Identify your values
Values are guiding principles that guide the coordination of a life. They are self-set rules and regulations that define what is right, wrong, important, and worthy in your life.
To redeem your time or make the most of your life, your life must be guided by values personally set by yourself.
Your boundaries should be wide enough to include checks that keep you committed to your assignment, checks that will help you ensure you don’t get distracted, checks that will ensure you continually grow, and checks that will notify you when any area of your life needs attention.
Having values that guide your life makes decision-making easier and keeps you on safe ground. If your values are wide enough and cover all the necessary checks, you can be sure that whatever is not within your value system is something you shouldn’t opt-in for.
Sometimes you might have a reason not to take certain decisions, but forget when the time to take the decision comes. If you have built a value system, you don’t need to remember the reasons, you only need to remember your value system (restrictions) since they were built on solid principles.
6. Make decisions based on your destiny
With your values set in place, to redeem time or make the most of your time, you must make sure all your daily decisions all play small important roles towards the fulfillment of your purpose or goals because the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
Understanding that it is the little decisions that combine to make up your overall life will help you make the most of this. You can be sure already that if you continually make decisions that take you away from the desired goals or don’t take you towards them, time is passing by– time you can never regain.
7. Inventory your associations
Humans are social beings; we cannot live our lives without associations, but we must make sure we are leaving with the right associations. Not having any association is unhealthy, but having the wrong association is even worse.
To redeem the time, you must consciously examine your current friends and the people you spend your time with and identify the contributions they are making to the fulfillment of your destiny. Some people are just time-wasters, and on your journey to redeem the time, time wasters are your enemies.
Even if a friend isn’t taking you closer to your destiny, at least they shouldn’t take you away from it. And for those who aren’t taking you closer, you must spend lesser time with them even as you spend no time with those who take you away.
Identify and seek the friends that you need that can help you get to your destination faster and stick with them; they alone should you spend your time with.
8. Review your investments
An investment is a venture you put in resources and expect some returns at a later time. Whether knowingly or not, every day of your life you are making investments. Today is the return on the investment you made in the past.
The resources you possess include time, energy, money, relationships, among others. To effectively invest these resources you must identify what result you like them to bring and begin to tilt what you are doing currently to match and bring you to that return.
What do you want to have used your energy to get in the next 10 years? Once it is determined, immediately begin to use your energy in that direction. Just like your decisions make your destiny, it is your investment that dictates your result returns.
You will want to make sure that what you are currently investing in will bring you the returns that you desire.
9. Do not try to please everyone
You should not try to please everyone firstly because you cannot please everyone, and secondly because you should not please everyone. You daily have to decide between pleasing everyone or getting to your destiny. The decision to get to your destiny will not please everyone around you, sometimes even those dear to you.
If the decisions that will take you to your destiny are not accepted by certain people, you must learn to stick with your destiny still, because those people can’t give you your destiny or might not even be in your destiny.
If you allow how they feel determine how far you go, you are only surcharging yourself. You aren’t responsible for how everyone feels. People can choose to feel good or bad no matter what you do, So it is really not about you, it is about them.
However, not everyone can be against your destiny. If everyone is against your destiny, you should reexamine what you are chasing.
10. Forget the past and pursue/design the future
Brooding over, regretting, or celebrating the past only keeps you away from the future. The job of the past is to guide future action; it should not determine your future. That is, just learn from your past but don’t stick with it.
One thing you must always know about the past is that it is past. There’s nothing you can do to change it, but there’s something you can do now to change the future. However, if you don’t take action towards the future now, the future will follow the nature of the past– it will just pass by and be out of your control.
Keep the future under control by controlling the present.
You should also learn that it is not only past regrets that keep people away from their destinies, past success also keeps people away from success. The greatest enemy of success is not failure, but previous success.
Instead of spending all your time celebrating and praising yourself for the successes, you have gotten, focus on getting the next success, because whatever you have accomplished is no longer your potential.
You can’t get back time that is gone, but you can make the most of the time you have left. The central key towards maximizing time is by taking conscious and calculated steps. Do not leave anything to chance, instead consciously ensure that every decision you make brings you closer to your destiny or desire to goal.
This is one of those steps you can take: