When was the last time you stopped to reflect if you were using time wisely or if you were wasting it away? There is no arguing that for many of us, an hour or more is simply wasted each day. I’m no more immune to this than you. Just like you, I have many days with pockets of time that could be spent in a more constructive fashion.
When looking back, think about how much could have been accomplished over the last 10+ years with just one well-utilized hour each day. Where would you be with your goals, with who you desire to be, or with the new skills you acquired?
Now do the same looking forward. Think about what is truly possible over the next 10+ years if you were to use more of your time wisely. If you took just one hour of wasted time and spent it towards your goals, your new story, or a new skill, what could be possible?
It’s important to define what would count as “wasted.” Is watching your favorite TV show wasted time? Maybe. Maybe not. Is driving 45 minutes each way to and from work every day wasted, considering you could live five minutes from work? What if you were living in your dream town and house? Then a long commute might not be a waste.
It’s up to you to decide what you consider to be time well spent. What’s important is to examine your life and how you spend your time.
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Examine How You Spend Your Time
Use a time tracker. There are many apps and programs that will measure how you’re spending your time on your phone, computer, and daily tasks. How many minutes do you really spend on YouTube each day? The tracker will tell you precisely. If you prefer tracking by hand, take a week to keep a time journal.
Whichever method you choose, be honest with yourself about how you are actually spending your time.
Spending Your Digital Time
- Electronic devices. Measure how much time you spend each day watching TV, playing on your cell phone, or playing video games.
- Internet. Of course, you need an electronic device to use the internet. How much time do you spend amusing yourself with all the distractions available on the internet?
- Social Media. How much time do you spend checking up on friends and family each day or posting your own exploits to the rest of the world? How do you use social media? Is it adding to your life or taking away from it?
Other things to consider:
- Actual Work Time. Measure the time it takes to complete your normal work tasks. Don’t forget to take into account distractions that come up during the day.
- Waiting time. How much time do you spend waiting in lines or for appointments?
Studies show that the average person spends approximately 6 months of their life waiting. This includes waiting for the bus, train, doctor, security checkpoints in the airport, customer service, and traffic.
Imagine if you could pair the waiting with something you enjoyed or that helped you progress towards your goals.
- Your normal routines. Most of us have routines that we follow during the week and on weekends. Take time to examine these routines to see if something needs to be changed up or reworked in order to better make use of your time instead of being wasted out of sheer habit.
Using time wisely
Now that you have an idea of where your time is going, it’s time to think about what using your time wisely looks like for you.
Everyone wastes at least part of their day. Determine your priorities and values and then examine how you’re spending your time each day. Think about how you could be spending your time more effectively and enjoyably aligned with those priorities and values.
Consider your goals in the different areas of your life. Are you taking the time each day to move closer to those goals and the life you desire?
Determine the biggest time wasters and choose more effective ways to spend that time.
Everyone needs to spend some time enjoying themselves, but are you enjoying that time as much as possible? Spend your leisure time in the most enjoyable ways you can. Unless you’ve thought about it, you’re probably not enjoying your downtime as much as you could be. Pro-tip: Schedule your downtime and the activities you’d like to participate in.