Time — arguably our greatest resource and also our most wasted. We have sole control over how spend our time. Sure we may jobs, commitments, and other activities that fill our daily calendar — but ultimately these are all done by our choosing.

I don’t think I could over exaggerate the importance and value of our time. First of all, time is precious and it’s not guaranteed. Not to be morbid, but we do not know nor do we have control over when our time will end. That’s just the truth. How would you approach the day if you knew it would be one of your last? Probably a lot less complaining and a whole lot more doing. Your perspective would be coming from such a different place and it would drastically impact your thoughts and actions.

Continuing the thought — since our time is extremely valuable, isn’t it extremely important what we do with our time? I mean that seems like the logical conclusion. We don’t know how much time we have or when it will run out, so we should make the absolute most of the time we do have. Starting now! Right now! It does not ever make sense to waste our most precious and valuable resource. Yet so many us waste so much time on a daily basis on stuff that is absolutely worthless. I will be the first person to raise my hand as being guilty of doing this. If you extrapolate this wasted time over a week, a year, and a lifetime, the sum will knock you out of the chair you are sitting on.

So what do we do? I have made a conscious effort to evaluate my time on two criteria. If what I am doing does not meet either of these criteria, then it is pretty darn likely I am wasting time. And that is not something I am going to do. The criteria are broad enough that they will encompass a lot of actions and behaviors. But there are some things they clearly don’t include. Here they are:

Growth — my time should be spent growing. This can go any number of ways. In my soul, my relationships, my faith, helping others grow, growing in career and trade, physically, emotionally, and so on and so on. Moving forward in some area of life that is of value. Growing in skill on the latest iPhone game is not something of value to me. Maybe it is for you and that’s okay. But take the time to evaluate what’s important and where you want to go.

Impact — my time should be spent making an impact. Leaving a legacy. What will people say about me at my funeral? Impact can go a lot of different ways too. Impact the people around you, the community, the world. Impact your faith or someone else’s faith, teach something or help someone grow, and so on and so forth. If we are making an impact, our time is being used for a greater purpose. Once again, iPhone game is no impact. That’s just me though.

Growth and impact are two ways to measure how you are using your time. Try it for a day. Every time you do something new, think if your time is being used for growth or impact. At the end of the day, evaluate and improve the next day. Continue this pattern and you will see a change in yourself and where you are going. Disclaimer — this is not easy. It is way easier to binge watch a show for four hours on Netflix than it is to read a book, invest in relationships, or put out valuable content through social media. But, and this is key, if you aren’t satisfied with where you, if you want to do more or accomplish more, if you want something you don’t have, use your time. From 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., make the minutes count. You’ll be glad you did.