The Key Ingredient

Valuing time means "I value me…and you.

— Life is a Recipe

Sometimes it takes a big life event to wake us up. A health scare, a breakup of a longterm relationship, or a job change can make us evaluate how we are using our time.  

Recently, I noticed a change in one of my friendships.  A friend of mine who is usually quite available when I text or call him was taking 3 days to respond.  I started to take it personally.  Finally, when we did speak he told me how he had a terrible health scare and had to take some time to get well.  He expressed that while getting well he realized that he had been using his time in an unhealthy way.  He was good at managing the many roles and responsibilities he filled.  He constantly put everyone’s needs before himself and put himself last.  But it all caught up to him.  After a visit to the hospital, he realized that the stress and sacrifices weren’t worth it.  He further reflected: “What’s the point of living that way if you’re not truly moving toward the kind of life you want?”  He needed to create boundaries in order to balance his time.  This was the key for him to take back control of his life.

I can totally relate to him. I went through a long period in my life where I was working hard to achieve what I thought was my happiness.  But it was an outer-happiness.  It cost me my inner peace.

When we don’t intentionally make time for ourselves and the important things that matter, our world begins to fill up.  Sometimes a full schedule can create a chaotic and unhealthy life.  We get swept up in our routines and patterns, and then something suddenly wakes us up.  In these moments, if we are really listening to ourselves, we see that time is a very precious commodity.  We realize that if we don’t portion out our time correctly, our bodies and minds will try to signal us to let us know that we need to pay attention to our time problem.

Many of us have day planners, digital reminders, and checklists to help us “manage” our appointments.  But what I’ve learned is that there’s something missing from how we understand and use our time.  We can be good at putting items in our calendar and arriving on-time to our engagements.  But what if we aren’t scheduling the right appointments in the first place?

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With some help from my friend Dr. Robert Reiher and FutureWise™, I’ve learned that there are actually 5 distinct types of time.

First, there is “TCB” or “Taking Care of Business” time. This is the time we are most familiar with.   This when we handle those daily or weekly items that have to get done.  Taking out the garbage, walking the dog, paying the bills, completing our tasks at work and other items are examples of TCB time.  These items are important and should not be ignored, but it is important to not let them consume us.

Second is “C-Time” or “Coping Time.”  We all need a little time to cope and de-stress to compensate for all of the pressures of the day.  Blurring out the worries of the day by enjoying a little time of mindless television viewing, or going out on the town with friends can be examples of helpful diversions.  But we should be careful to observe if a large portion of our lives are spent coping.  It may be a sign that we are caught in an unhealthy situation.

Then there is “T-Time” or “Toxic Time.”  Extended time spent in negative emotions like bitterness and anxiety – either by ourselves or with others – should be avoided.  Times like these are unproductive and eat away at our well-being.  It can be easy to be swept up in toxic emotions.  It is important that as we take inventory of our time that we see how much of our time is toxic and doesn’t serve us.

There is also “E-Time” or “Enrichment Time.”  Reading a good book, enjoying a museum or the theater, or learning a new skill cultivates our mind and heart.  Go for a walk.  Do something that stimulates your creativity.  Learn a new recipe! DO SOMETHING FOR YOU that builds value IN you. It is important to not ignore this human need to grow and develop in the different dimensions of our lives.  I used to ignore this time but now I realize that E-Time is important to my mental health and sanity.  Valuing this time says “I value me.”

Last is “I-Time” or “Inner Time.”  Even though this type of time is the most forgotten type, it is the most important.  Everyday, we should take a few moments to shut out the noise and take an honest listen to our own thoughts and feelings.  Think.  Meditate on spiritual things.  Give yourself the chance to reconnect with the hopes, dreams, priorities, and promises you’ve made to yourself.  This is where we can refocus on our internal “true north.”  Without this type of time, it is easy to be consumed by the busyness of life and become disconnected from who we really are and want to be.

I took the opportunity to take inventory of how my time was being spent and I realized that I had to rearrange some things.  I needed less “Toxic Time.”  There were some people in my life who weren’t helping help me achieve my best personal life recipe.  I had to make changes.

I learned that like a pie, we can determine how our time is divided or portioned.  We can take control of it.  By designing our time – not just managing it, WE can build the positive moments we need into our lives.  Time Design™ is one tool we can use to create our personal recipe for success.

Below is an opportunity for you to try out this tool.  And next to it is a simple food recipe to save you time in the kitchen so that you can get on to the other important moments.



Life Recipe:
The Key Ingredient

  1. Start the Time Design™ exercise by taking a sheet of paper and dividing it into 5 sections representing the 5 different types of time.
  2. Think about last week and your activities. In each of the sections, take those activities and place them in the appropriate columns.
  3. After you’ve filled out each section, review what this sheet says about how your time is normally spent.
  4. Think about what you would like to add or remove from each section.
  5. Based on what you’ve learned, create a new plan for your next week with the exciting changes you’ve picked.

Lunch Recipe:
Spicy Sesame Wings

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 red chili (chopped)
  • ½ tbsp chives (chopped)
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tbsp tamarind soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp sesame seeds
  • ½ lemon (juiced)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.

  2. Take a large bowl and add in olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar and tamarind soy sauce.

  3. Next, add in honey and lemon juice.

  4. Add garlic, red chili, chives, Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala, chili powder and sesame seeds.

  5. Mix well.

  6. Add in wings and mix again.

  7. Make sure all wings are covered.

  8. Arrange wings on a baking sheet.

  9. Cook wings for 1 hour or until crisp.

  10. Serve and enjoy.

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