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Embracing the True Value of Time

Updated: Jul 5

 

This spring marked a significant turning point in my professional life, prompting me to reevaluate my approach to work and time management. Amidst my relentless pursuit of ticking off tasks and reaching my goals, I found myself overwhelmingly stressed. Day after day, I focused solely on getting things done—checking off lists that seemed to grow longer no matter how many items I completed. It wasn't long before I realized just how emotionally drained I felt. This new chapter in my career made me question whether this relentless approach was truly productive or bringing me closer to my personal and professional aspirations. It was a wake-up call to reevaluate how I viewed productivity and to understand the real essence of being truly effective in life.


This article is my invitation to me and to you—to rethink how we manage our time, to make room for growth, freedom, and genuine fulfillment. Let's discover together how focusing on what truly matters can transform our daily lives.


Redefining Priorities: Recently, I had an opportunity to get together with some friends I hadn’t seen in months. It was an evening filled with laughter, stories, and shared memories. This reunion starkly contrasted with my usual solo grind and relentless task completion. It reminded me of the joy that comes from simply being present with others, not just physically but fully engaged. Why should such gatherings be rare rather than a regular part of our lives? This experience prompted me to shift my priorities, to value relationships and quality interactions over the endless checking off of to-do lists. The real fulfillment, I realized, doesn't come from crossing another item off my list but from deepening the bonds that enrich my life.


Differentiating Important from Urgent: In our workplaces, we are often swept up in the relentless current of urgent requests and pressing deadlines. This environment can compel us to prioritize immediacy, potentially overshadowing more significant tasks that require our attention. But does responding to this sense of urgency truly make us more productive, or does it simply give us a false impression of accomplishment?

Reflecting on this, I was once asked in a job interview whether I was prepared to work evenings and weekends in a role that wasn't life-or-death urgent. I responded honestly, emphasizing my commitment to work-life balance. I explained that by managing my priorities effectively during regular hours, I avoid the necessity of routine after-hours work, ensuring I am rested and more productive during the day. This approach, though it might have cost me that particular job, reinforced the importance of recalibrating our focus from what merely appears urgent to what is genuinely important.

Personally, I've shifted my approach to enhance productivity and achieve better outcomes by focusing on long-term goals and thoughtful prioritization. This strategy not only helps in managing daily tasks efficiently but also aligns my efforts with broader, more impactful objectives, significantly reducing the stress of reactive decisions. This experience has underscored the value of workplaces that respect personal boundaries and promote a sustainable work ethic.


Embracing Freedom of Choice: In my demanding professional roles, I often measured success by how busy I was, a mindset reinforced by the Canadian emphasis on packed schedules as a sign of importance and effectiveness. Yet, a particularly memorable day shifted my perspective entirely. Instead of diving into the usual end-of-quarter frenzy, I chose to take a day off and visit the Royal Ontario Museum with my older son. Experiencing his delight in riding the subway, exploring the museum, and simply enjoying the day together highlighted a profound truth: true productivity isn't about filling every moment with work but about making space for invaluable experiences like these. This transition from constant busyness to intentional productivity has been transformative, allowing me to use my time more effectively and align my daily actions with what I value most.


Allowing Boredom to Foster Creativity: Reflecting on my own childhood spent lying on the grass, cloud-watching, and daydreaming, I recognized how different my children’s expectations for constant entertainment are, with toys, gadgets, and structured activities. This observation made me realize the importance of allowing ourselves and our children the space to experience boredom. It's in these moments of apparent 'nothingness' that creativity and self-discovery can flourish. Encouraging this in my family has become a new goal, aiming to recapture the unstructured joy that fosters genuine creativity.


Our society often glorifies being perpetually "on," yet this recent shift in my professional life taught me the importance of stepping back to truly assess how we use our time. By focusing on building meaningful relationships, making conscious choices about how we spend our time, embracing the creative potential of boredom, and prioritizing what’s truly important, we can lead richer, more fulfilling lives. Join me on this journey to transform how we view and use our time, and let's cultivate a life rich in experiences, relationships, and personal growth. Together, we can redefine what it means to live well in today’s bustling world.


For more tips and resources on career planning and personal development, visit LYP Program. Let's embark on this journey to living our potential together!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lilit Simonyan, co-founder of the LYP Program, is an accomplished leader, certified adult educator, and social entrepreneur with a career spanning over two decades in not-for-profit and public sectors.

Known for her visionary leadership and exceptional strategic planning skills, Lilit has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the YouthActionNet award from the International Youth Foundation and the Careers for Alumni in Public Sector award by the International Researches and Exchanges Board (IREX). She is also a distinguished Jeanne Sauvé Fellow and has received recognition from the Prime Minister of Armenia for her significant contributions to community development and youth empowerment.



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