24 Feb Killing Time is Suicide
Time is more important than money. You can always earn more money, but you can never get more time. It’s the most valuable resource in the world, so why is it so easy to waste?
It’s so easy to get caught up in life being busy when everything is vying for your attention. Whether it’s advertisers, TV, social media, the internet, your friends and family. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to be intentional with how you manage your time.
A lot of people are content with allowing distractions to dominate their attention, living a life of being entertained without getting anything in return – which is fine for some.
But have you ever felt after watching TV, playing video games or spending too much time on social media, that you have just wasted all that time and become somewhat annoyed at yourself? If you have, chances are you would benefit from some changes.
How is it that we all get the exact same 24 hours in a day but some people get more out of those hours than others? It’s because they’ve mastered how to use it. Successful people invest their time instead of spending it.
During the week we sleep on average eight hours a night. We need money to live, so we work about eight hours a day. This leaves us with around eight hours free each day, Monday to Friday. Then add in getting ready for work, travel, meals, family & relationships – how much time do we really have?
When it’s put like that, it’s only natural that people use their spare time to take a break, relax, watch TV, or go on online. But the thing is, when we don’t limit how much time we spend on these things, the hours fly by without noticing.
Before we know it, our life consists of waking up, going to work, coming home and spending the rest of the night watching TV or on our phones then going to bed. That use to be my life and I know there will be so many people out there that live this who aren’t even aware this is what they do.
How much satisfaction are we getting living our life this way? Nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting time, but so many of us aren’t aware of how much time we waste because we never review how we manage it.
One of the worst feelings in life is looking back and wishing you did more with your time. We will never look back and wish we watched more TV, played more video games or spent more time on the internet.
No one is responsible for how you spend your time but you; it’s your choice to waste it. There are no re-runs or reset buttons, you’re only sabotaging yourself. Killing time isn’t murder, it’s suicide.
We all naturally want more meaning from how we spend our time and we all want to be more productive. The problem is that so many of us have allowed distractions to become deeply rooted in our lives that we don’t know where to start to fix it.
If you’ve never recorded and reviewed how you spend your time, I encourage you to try the following exercise for one week: go about your week as you normally would and record everything you spend your time on.
This simple exercise can be a bit of an eye opener and it will show you what’s really important in your life. I’ve learnt that if you really want to know what is important in your life, just look at how you spend your time.
If there is ever a disconnect between what you think is important in your life and what you spend your time on, you should think about making some changes.
The best change I made when I wanted to limit the amount of time I watched TV was planning when I allowed myself to watch it. I figured out exactly what I wanted to watch, planned the time in my calendar and didn’t allow myself to watch anything outside of this.
It was something so simple, but so effective that I tried it with social media as well. This was big for me, as I would constantly fall into the trap of scrolling the bottomless newsfeed on Facebook and only realise how much time I had spent wasted an hour or two later.
I didn’t completely cut any of these things out of my life, I just limited the time spent on them by planning when I allowed myself to use them.
I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have down time to relax and take a break. Just be conscious of how you manage it, plan to take that time to relax and enjoy entertainment, not just when you feel like it. Use it as a reward for being productive and getting things done.
I became quite intrigued with how simple this exercise was that I started to plan the rest of my days to see how effective it could be.
I found it best to review the past week each Sunday, what worked well and what didn’t, then make the necessary adjustments for the upcoming week.
For me the prime opportunity for wasting time would be when I would get home from work and tried to figure out what I should do with my time.
I managed to completely eliminate this prime time wasting opportunity I had every day once I started to plan my afternoon/evenings in advance. I realised that I didn’t have to exert any mental energy trying to figure out what to do, I just looked at my calendar.
Allowing for time to handle things that are unexpected was the biggest lesson. It takes a while to get the planning just right and you constantly need to tweak it to get it perfect. But you’ll get there if you want to.
This exercise was hugely beneficial in staying focused and increasing productivity. I was cutting down the time I spent on things that weren’t important to me and started to get a whole lot more out of that same amount of time.
Now I don’t begin my day until I’ve finished it, meaning I don’t start my day until I’ve planned it.
The more conscious we become of how we spend our time, the more we realise how much time we waste. Even during the most trivial tasks that don’t require much mental focus, like doing the dishes, driving long distances, riding on public transport, you can still get something out of it.
For example you could use these times as an opportunity to listen to a podcast or an audio book. I don’t loathe travelling long distances by myself anymore because I know I can use it as an opportunity to learn. I’m constantly finding new ways to get more out typically boring tasks.
To get the satisfaction we want in life, we have to invest the time. Which can be tough when we live in a time dominated by instant gratification.
We all know the things we should cut back on and like the idea of making changes, but more often than not, we don’t take action. Distractions will always get the better of us if we don’t have a plan to beat them.
I’m not trying to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. You don’t have to agree with everything I say, just find what works for you. I want to stir something inside you and get you to look at what you’re doing in your own life. Are you spending your time or investing it?