Endeavor to live a proactive life, not a reactive one.
There are two types of events: those that happen to you, and those you make happen. Life is better when its events are predominantly of the latter variety. The more things you’re actively choosing to do rather than reacting to, the more control you have over your life.
Symptoms of a reactive life are constantly putting out fires or spinning plates. Nothing is ever done. You never have time. You’re always fulfilling requests. You start every day with a to-do list a mile long, all stuff being demanded of you instead of things you want to do.
Have you ever heard someone lament that their paycheck is “spent before they even get it?” That means that before they even have their hands on the money they’ve earned, it’s already been earmarked for various bills, debts, and so on. This isn’t a post about financial health, but consider the analogy as it relates to time.
Every day is like a paycheck. You wake up in the morning with X amount of minutes deposited into your account, depending on when you wake up and when you want to sleep again. A reactive life is one in which most or even all of those minutes are already accounted for, paid towards debts and obligations. A proactive life is one in which most or all of those minutes are yours, to do with as you see fit.
A proactive life can easily become a reactive one. Even if you own all of that time, if you don’t spend it wisely you can quickly find yourself a slave to the demands of others instead of serving your own future self. It’s much harder for a reactive life to become a proactive one. You find yourself dependent on those debts, and it’s difficult to extract yourself.
Be careful what demands you let others make of your time. Like with money, you want to get into the habit of putting a good amount of it away as savings, and that’s true with time. You can’t bank it like you can with money, but you can make sure at least some of it is “reserved” each day for you. The more the better. Spend your time on things you choose, and your life will be better for it.