We don’t often talk about it.
In fact, it’s something we tend to avoid even thinking about.
But it’s one of the few things we all have in common. We’ll all one day die.
Time is in rather short supply really, and I’ve been talking a lot about this with my kids recently. How we choose to spend our time is really, really important. Because we don’t get it back. Once the minutes are gone, they’re gone for good.
So while chatting about all of this with my big kids last week, we narrowed down to 5 things we likely won’t say on our death bed and I thought I’d share them with you today.
1. “I wish I’d watched more television.”
It’s pretty rare we can walk away from a television show and feel like we’ve just become a better person or spent our time in the best possible way.
Action: pick one television show that you watch on a weekly basis, and ditch it. Use your free time to cultivate a hobby, work on a special project, read a book, do some self care, play a board game or exercise.
2. “I wish I’d spent more time on Facebook.”
Or Twitter, or Instagram, or Pinterest!
Don’t get me wrong, social media is fun. It’s a great way to connect to people around the world, including family, friends and customers.
But it’s also a massive time suck. It can pull us into the trap of compare-and-despair and can cause us to become self-absorbed as we regularly update people about our lives.
A definite measure of balance is required.
Action: Create set periods during which to utilise social media. Use an app to enforce this if you need to. The Freedom app is a great option, compatible with Windows and Mac computers, Android phones and tablets and iOS devices, and will keep you working distraction free. The basic plan is free but if you need to upgrade, at just $79 USD a year, you’d earn that back in time spent working rather than being distracted!
3. “I wish I’d spent more time recording events and special moments.”
Seriously? Instead of being there, in the moment, we’ll wish we’d taken more photos? Not likely.
I remember being on a whale watching cruise a few years ago and while everyone was madly trying to capture a photo of the whale calf that kept surfacing near our boat, the captain reminded us that the best thing to use to capture these beautiful images was our memory.
One of the incredible things about the Internet age is that we can snap a record of a moment and share it with the world within seconds. The problem with this is that it takes us away from that present moment and into a different world.
If we’re in the habit of doing this, we might need to make a conscious effort to break out of it. If this is the case, you can stop and ask yourself if you’d rather live this moment or preserve it to look at later. The answer should hopefully be pretty clear!
Action: If you take a photo, wait to share it until your scheduled social media time comes around, and just enjoy being in the moment. Don’t worry about the people who aren’t there to enjoy the moment with you. Concentrate on those who are. You can share it later.
4. “I wish I’d spent more time taking online surveys and entering competitions.”
I’m pretty sure none of us will wish we’d spent more of our precious time doing this.
Now, I know that conducting surveys is an important facet of a lot of businesses and helps them to refine their services for us, and I also appreciate the appeal in winning something. But we really need to be selective about it and not fall for every survey or competition that pops up. Our time is worth far more than any free thank you gift or any “chance” to win, and entering all of these things takes time away from us.
Chances are we don’t need the free stuff anyway!
Action: Try unsubscribing from the mailing lists that send surveys to you, and unfollow the social media accounts that throw competitions at you regularly. If you REALLY love competitions, try limiting yourself to entering them on one day of the week.
5. “I wish I’d bought more stuff.”
Now I can’t be sure because I’ve never been on a death bed, but I’m fairly certain that I’ll remember the experiences in my life more than I’ll remember the stuff… I really hope I won’t be thinking about that fabulous antique desk I acquired in my early 40s!!
Research and experience indicates that people who are dying talk predominantly about the people they love and the beautiful, connecting experiences that they had with those people… not about their possessions.
Action: Commit to weighing your purchasing decisions carefully. Ask yourself if you really do need to buy this. Consider simplifying your life by donating what you don’t need. Try gifting experiences of your service and time, rather than physical gifts.
Over to you: what would you add to this list? And what action can you start taking today?