Measuring Time To Avoid Errors of Omission

A palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, made a list of the top 5 most common themes that surfaced again and again from people nearing the end of their lives. They are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Looking closely at the list, you find that the mistakes that produce these regrets are all mostly errors of omission. What people didn’t do. You lose sight of your dreams, ignore your family, suppress your feelings, neglect your friends, and forget to be happy. What makes errors of omission a particularly dangerous type of mistake, is that you make them without noticing.

How do you avoid the mistakes you make without noticing? By measuring your time. As I’ve said before, time is the ultimate self-improvement metric. As long as these mistakes happen without noticing, you have to be reminded not to make them. Avoiding the regret listed above requires the daily habit of 1. Planning how your time will be spent towards living your dreams, not working too much, saying what you think, cultivating friendships and being happy. 2. Analyzing how your time was spent afterwards and revise/improve your plan for the next day.

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