Despite being published in 1910, Arnold Bennett’s book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day is a great guide for the ageless question of “How can we make the best use of our time and lives?” He begins by addressing our counter-intuitive tendency to value money over time. When in fact, he argues that time is a great deal more valuable than money. If you have time, you can obtain money, but you cannot buy yourself a minute more time. Here are few more thoughts from Arnold on how to make the most of your time and your life:
- Pursue your dreams, even if you fail. It is the trying which matters, the journey which fulfills us. He uses this story as an example: “A man may desire to go to Mecca… he fares forth, he may probably never reach Mecca; he may drown before he reaches the port; he may perish ingloriously on the coast of the Red Sea; his desire may remain eternally frustrated. Unfulfilled aspirations may always trouble him. But he will not be tormented in the same way as the man who never leaves Brixton.” His message is simple, it is better to try and fail than to live with the regret of never trying.
- It is never too late to improve yourself. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. Employ an hour and a half each evening to cultivating the mind. This can only be accomplished if we stop the mindless diversions of Netflix, Snapchat and Facebook.
- We can plan specific pursuits for our spare time, rather than flitting it away. Find a specific diversion. When you have something definite to look forward to, something that is to employ all your energy – the thought of that something gives a glow and more intense energy to the whole day.
- Most of us overestimate the amount of time we actually spend working. The average worker is only productive for 3 hours per day. The rest is spent on social media, gossiping, lunch and other distractions. If you are able to stay productive in your work and complete your responsibilities efficiently, you will be amazed at how much time you actually have to focus on other meaningful things.
The supply of time is truly a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning and your purse is magically filled with 24 hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. We shall never have more time. My hope is that you will remember and take with you Arnold's quote, “We have, and have always had, all the time there is.”