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    The Rule To Prioritize The Things You Love And Set Aside Those You Hate

    Several experts advise how to stop wasting time to invest it in what really matters. The two column rule can help us better manage our agenda.

    'Priorities' - Image Credits: Flickr Under Creative Common Licence

    We are in the middle of the year, and it is very possible that the resolutions that you marked for 2019 are already in the same place as the ones you made for 2018 and 2017. Where has all the time you wanted to study English went to go, go To the gym, read and drink coffees with all those friends you never see?

    Well, probably, to the same place where the lost minutes of the other years were, a place from which they will never return. Why we continuously lose the north of our time, and more importantly, what we can do to recover it is a matter of the utmost importance.


    Contrary to what it may seem, it is not a new problem - the Romans invented the concept of 'carpe diem' just for this matter - but it is true that the acceleration of the pace of life from the arrival of the industrial revolution (and let's not say digital society) has exacerbated it.

    As the psychologist and writer Xavier Guix , who teaches workshops on precisely how to stop suffering for time and prepares a book on this issue with Nuria Molina, comments , the difficulty is that we have become the performance society.

    We have become accustomed to filling our lives from morning to night,either with work or with activities during the weekend, and the crisis we have is also spiritual, of not knowing who we are because we consider that time is a possession, something to spend, and not what we are, in essence.

    That is, we should stop considering that time is lost or earned, and start enjoying it.

    The rule of the two columns

    But, how to get to enjoy what you don't have, when we are overwhelmed by the 'inescapable' obligations and commitments? Couples therapist and facilitator Ashley June Peterson replies that the first step is to become aware of where that wasted time is going.

    She advises a consistent exercise: aim for a few days at what activity we dedicate each hour, dividing them into two columns.In one, we will place the activities that make us feel good, that provide us with more energy, and in the other those that, on the contrary, take it away from us. That, first, should already give us a clue as to whether we are doing what we would like to do.

    Peterson, who comments openly that this mistake when betting on priorities has been committed by herself on occasion, states that when there is a conflict between the things we should or want to do "we must interpret it as a signal."

    At the outset, to try to be more efficient in order to make wishes and needs compatible, and, if this is not possible, to choose between them. We may decide that it compensates us more to reduce the day and salary to have more time with the family; or that on the contrary the peace of mind of a more solid income compensates for the effort we dedicate to them.

    But knowing what our real intentions and priorities are, the progress will be much easier, because there will be harmony between our values ​​and what we do in our day to day, instead of simply reacting to any obligation. Peterson also highlights the importance of working on assertiveness and limits, in order to be able to delimit the spaces themselves, and to set achievable goals and objectives.

    If we aim to call X number of friends with whom we have not talked in a week, it is much easier for us to do so than if we just tell ourselves that we want to talk more often with them, although we must be realistic , Clear.

    Experts speak of SMART objectives, for the English acronym of Specific (Specific), Measurable (Measurable), Attainable ( Achievable ), Relevant (Relevant) and Time-based(with a time limit, because if they don't stop being measurable, too).

    But both Guix and Peterson insist that the main idea when managing our time should not be the metrics, but we must strive for a fuller existence. Do not do more, but do better so that we get what we spend our minutes, hours and days; May our life in short be in tune with our real priorities.

    Keep an agenda guided by what each activity implies within what we want our life to be, and not by what we believe it should be. Peterson also advises to critically examine our daily obligations in order to suppress all those that derive from a sense of duty or what they will say.

    In their line - and against the self-help books they propose, for example, getting up at five in the morning to make the best use of the day - titles like The subtle art that (almost everything) you give a crap have started to be published (Mark Manson, Harper Collins) based on the idea of ​​integrity, and acceptance of imperfection.

    Guix recalls that almost everyone who visits a psychologist usually begins by saying that they want to avoid or avoid suffering, and that is impossible. We can never know in advance one hundred percent if it will be better to spend an hour at the gym, work or stay watching TV.

    Trying to control everything, all the time is causing yourself useless suffering. This idea can help us keep our direction stable. If we also reinforce our efforts positively every time we face them, even a little, on the right path, little by little priorities will cease to be castles in the air to become a stable presence in our calendar.

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