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How to Use Time Management for A Happier Life

by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

Most of time management literature is about getting more done in less time. But there are other uses of time management.

Some people want to do less and have more time.

Some people do what has to be done more efficiently so they can use time in other ways.

Some people do things at better times so they can be done more easily.

Some do what they want with their time instead of what others want or expect them to do.

The basics of time management are the same as the basics of money management for the frugal. You know what you want to use your money for (your goal.) You research the best ways of getting money, growing money and spending money. You find discounts, coupons, good deals. If you know how you want to use your time, for any purpose, you can find frugal ways of making that happen.

The essential requirement is that you adopt an attitude toward time that sees it as your most precious treasure. That sees every minute of your time as your life. That sparks you to use your time to make the most of your life.

Then, no matter what are your circumstances, you can find ways to wring the best life out of your time.

One of my nieces has taken up the idea of doing what has to be done, but doing it in ways that are easier, more fun and leave plenty of time to do what she actually wants to do with her life. And it's all based on careful research and time management. She doesn't think of it as time management, but it is.

Let me tell you her current lifestyle. She travels around the world to anywhere that takes her fancy. She recently spent about a year living in various places in South America. Right now, she's back to living in China, for about the fourth time. She's lived in both mainland China and Taiwan. She's lived in England and Scotland. When she's living in any country, she travels around that country and also visits nearby countries. The list of places she's visited is so long I can't include it here. She's living her own personal dream.

She is not independently wealthy. She has no outside financial support. She has to work for a living. So how did she get to do whatever she wants to do? Simple. By following her own personal interests, she acquired a skill that is in demand. And she uses that skill in a way that allows her to adjust her time in any way she wants.

She must work a 30-hour work week, but she works online and can submit her work from anywhere in the world. What is the skill? She can write very well in English. (You thought I was going to say "Chinese," didn't you? Well, it helps that she can speak, read and write Chinese as well. But she doesn't have to.) She writes and edits for a Chinese company which wants its documents in very good English. Who thought being an English major would pay of in today's economy?

So what does that have to do with time management? My niece has always focused on getting to do what she wants. She researches what it take to achieve a goal and finds the methods that will give her what she wants as fast and cheaply as possible. To put it another way, she's frugal with her money and applies frugality principles to her time.

Sometime she has to be uncomfortable. Sometimes she has to wait longer that she'd like because she has to trade off time for money. And she does have to work thirty hours a week. But she chose the work. She likes the work. She likes her life. She has a Facebook page with scores of photos of the fun she is having with her friends. Photos of the place she's traveled. The sights she's seen.

She's managing her time to live the life she wants.

I remember when she was a child. She told me that what she wanted to do with her life is have adventures. It didn't sound very practical at the time.

If you find a goal and focus on it, research it and constantly take action to get it, perhaps you could also start living the way you wish. It's just time management.


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