(Read the part 1 post on this topic around money.)
What did you do today? Yesterday? Last week? This past month? What about this last year? Where are you spending your time, because it says a lot with what you hold important.
I know many of you will say, “I spent most of my time at work…”. But, I want you to look deeper… did you really do focused work for 8 hours, or did you talk to Bob at the water cooler, take an extra long lunch, respond to personal emails, rearrange your desk, drive past an old lover’s house, surf the net, talk to loved ones, snooze, get caught up in office drama, have a meeting which accomplished nothing, itemize your grocery list (twice), recheck your personal email, call back your cousin, do a couple laps around the factory, and leave a bit early?
You get my point. An eight hour work day for most, is rarely a full eight hours. Studies have shown that in the case of an average office work hour, less than half is actual work, and some studies have it as low as 20%. Now that we have the general “work” answer out of the way, how do you spend your time outside of “work” (or school)?
Let’s get right down to it… how much time do you spend watching TV, surfing the net, talking on the phone to friends or playing video games? My guess is more than you like to admit. Maybe it is something else… I’m not saying one is “better” than the other, I would just like you to assess where you spend your time, because that is going to tell you what is really important in your life.
Just like we took inventory of where your money truly goes, I would challenge you to take a week’s inventory of where you spend your time. Just like the finances, your jaw will drop. “I watched 16 hours of TV!?” I hear people say. Yeah, you did. Two football games, one movie and 60-90 minutes of daily “regularly scheduled programing” (i.e., TV series) gets you to and past 16 hours pretty quick. Some of you are shaking now… because you watched two chick flicks, an awards show, and two reality shows Monday through Thursday. That got you past 16 hours too! Others of you are shaking because you know you watched much more than that.
I’m not here to bad mouth TV, because I watch it too. Sometimes a lot! But, it paints a good picture of things we think are normal, which take up much more time than we ever guessed. Maybe you also surfed the internet for 1-2 hours every other day, played some video games with a friend all night when they came over and then pulled a nearly all nighter Facebooking with a couple old roommates from years ago.
If you assume we’re awake for 16 hours per day, times 7 days, you get 112 hours. Subtract work or school (including homework) which is 40 hours, 10 hours in the car traveling to and from there plus errands, and another VERY conservative 12 hours of personal phone calls, surfing the net, watching the TV and/or video gaming and now you’re only left with 50. Sounds like a lot, right? Leaves you with about 7 hours on average per day. But don’t forget eating, body maintenance (showering, make up), and several chores around the house. Now your 7 hour daily balance got smacked down to one or two.
But please note my estimates were fairly conservative! Some of you work more than 40 hours per week, or travel more than the time I allotted. Some of you work hard at our job, and then also go to school. Others of you play in a sport, take care of your children and do many more chores than the average person. Therefore, my goal in writing all of this is to show you how valuable the commodity of time is, and how precious it is to you. When you truly value time, I hope you are a bit more intentional on how you spend it. However, I also want you to assess it to find out where you are spending this intangible gift… you’ll be surprised how much this will teach you.