This time of the year has many of us wondering whatever happened to the year! It’s almost like time is disappearing. Considering what we need to do before the year ends, creates anxiety in many of us.
It also makes you wonder how you spend your time, because our waking hours are largely consumed by work and not many precious minutes remain for daily to-dos such as exercising, some me-time, and socialising with friends and family.
Some researchers say that we in fact have more time now for to-dos than a decade or two ago, but we also have more distractions. Technology has made it easier than ever to divide our attention into smaller and smaller parts. We answer our emails standing next to our child’s soccer game; we pay accounts while watching TV; we order groceries while we’re in the gym. Our devices allow us to be in many places at once – but it’s at the cost of being unable to fully inhabit the place where we actually want to be.
Many books and articles have been written about being present and practising mindfulness to ‘take back your time’ − to allow yourself to live in the present without ruminating about what just happened, what should have happened, or what could happen. It’s the ability to pay attention to what actually matters. It allows you to be in the present without distractions.
Mindfulness can also give you a ‘competitive edge at work’ – it can help you to manage your attention, develop self-awareness, and learn to adapt and regulate your emotional impulses.
Different environments are constantly competing for our attention, so being able to focus your attention on what is most valuable can be a game-changer. Ask yourself whether what you’re spending your time on and giving your attention to every day is truly meaningful.
When you’re analysing how you’re directing your attention, you will start to recognise behaviours that may be reducing your productivity and ‘wasting’ your time. This way you may ‘take back’ some precious time from activities that don’t add real value to your life.
Editor: Accountancy SA
Our cover story of this month is about Professor Kurt Sartorius who paddled down the mighty Amazon together with fellow CA(SA) Professor Wayne van Zijl and his son, Ben. They did the journey to raise awareness of the drastic impact of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest on climate change and to raise funds in support of reforestation initiatives and related scientific and business research. Read their story on page 12.