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Making The Most Of The Time

We’ve Been Given

Here in the U.K. the clocks will be put forward this weekend to account for the change to British Summer Time, meaning that when we wake up after the change it will be one hour later than we’re used to.  7 a.m. will have become 8 a.m., and many people may have been caught out by the change in the time, meaning they are late for an appointment or at the very least have to rush breakfast in order to make up time.


We each have a limited amount of time, both in our day and overall in our lifetimes.  The Office for National Statistics state that the approximate life expectancy for a newborn baby boy in the U.K. in 2013 would be between 75 and 83 years, with newborn baby girls being able to expect slightly longer than this, depending on where they were born (source:  Office For National Statistics report).  If we take 80 years as a rough average, this means that a typical U.K. citizen will live a life consisting of nearly 701,000 hours, or just over 42 million minutes.  While this may sound a lot, if we factor in the fact that at 8 hours sleep a night our total over 80 years is reduced by over 14 million minutes, we may start to think that we should make the most of the time we have!


On a visit to a local primary school recently I noticed a poster explaining the school’s ‘Golden Rules’.  While there were some rules that I would have expected – such as ‘be kind’ and ‘be helpful’, for example – one rule made me glance again at the poster.  This rule challenged pupils by saying, ‘Don’t waste your own or other people’s time’.  A powerful statement, and one which made me think.  How could we ensure that the time we spend is time well spent, and not a waste of those precious minutes that count down one by one?


You may be familiar with the mnemonic acronym ‘S.M.A.R.T.’, from the phrase ‘SMART goals’.   This term, first used over 30 years ago, sets out what objectives need to be if they are going to have a good chance of being met.  When a counselling client wants to work towards a particular goal, e.g. weight loss, or the overcoming of particular unhelpful habits, I sometimes use the SMART goal system when we look at how to set objectives which will help the client experience the success they want.  If an objective is SMART, it is:


Specific – targeting a specific area for improvement

Measurable – quantifiable, or at least displaying an indicator of progress

Assignable – specifying who exactly will carry it out

Realistic – have a realistic chance of being achieved, given available resources

Time-related – having a clear goal of when it is to be achieved by


By using these guidelines to think through ‘plans of attack’ or strategies for change, in my experience the client is more likely to attain their goal and make the effort worthwhile.  The above may sound very structured, and indeed is only a guideline, yet when things are written down and planned out there can be a much clearer idea of how the client’s time is going to be spent, and spent well.


I wouldn’t advocate that all time is allocated and managed in a SMART goal manner, and often this type of goal planning comes with a health warning that at times doing ‘nothing’ or doing very little is an excellent way to give ourselves the time to rest and recuperate that we all need.  


When you wake up tomorrow morning, having dreamt away about 500 of your 42 million minutes, will there be any changes you wish to put in place to ensure you make the best of the time that is given to you?



Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy


Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com


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Making The Most Of The Time We’ve Been Given | Ashwood Therapy Blog