An article by Jason S. Sullivan, 04/25/19
This article first appeared on LinkedIn.
Do you want more time to spend on things that you want to do? Would you want an extra vacation this year?
I can’t imagine anyone would say no to that.
It starts with taking back 10 minutes a day.
10 minutes isn’t that much, is it?
If someone gave you 60 free hours to do whatever you wanted, you probably wouldn’t waste it. You’d want to make the most of it.
But, wasting 10 minutes? Maybe even wasting 10 minutes a few times a day? I think many of us do that without giving it too much thought.
Think about this: 10 minutes a day equals 60 hours a year.
Losing 10 minutes a day – it happens. What about 30 minutes, one hour, or two hours a day? Or more? It happens too, even with the best intentions.
It adds up quick.
- 10 minutes a day = 60.83 hours a year
- 30 minutes a day = 182.5 hours a year (more than one week)
- 60 minutes a day = 365 hours a year (more than two weeks)
- 120 minutes a day = 730 hours a year (more than four weeks)
Losing (or gaining) an hour a day adds up to over two weeks a year.
Let me paint that picture in another way: Getting back an hour a day is the equivalent of giving yourself an extra two-week vacation every year.
Who wouldn’t want an extra two-week vacation every year?
Where does the time go?
Seeing how time adds up is part of it. The other part of it is seeing how you spend time.
Let’s use the lean methodology definition of waste: Waste is anything that does not add value.
What are you doing that doesn’t add value to your life? Probably more than you think.
There are plenty of opportunities in the day to do things that don’t add value.
Searching for lost or misplaced items. Struggling with everyday decisions. Handling things more than once. Repeating tasks when they could be simplified, automated, or eliminated. Driving back to the grocery store for a forgotten item. Procrastinating. Oversleeping. Getting lost. Worrying about things outside of your control.
Consider a more efficient use of your time. Do you waste time putting out fires, looking for lost items, or in general “reactive mode”? End the cycle. Get organized. Be proactive. Plan ahead. Make faster and better decisions. Take care of the important stuff. Delegate the small stuff. Learn the art of saying no.
Nowadays, it’s easy to waste time. Distractions are everywhere. Technology distractions – such as mindlessly scrolling/surfing the Internet, watching TV, or playing on your phone? I know I’m guilty of those.
Internet. TV. Phone. The big three time-wasters for many people. Consider setting a timer to see how long you spend doing these activities. It may surprise you. Don’t get me wrong. We all need our downtime to relax and escape from life a bit. But, even downtime should add some value to your life. Too much downtime, though, and it’s hard to get back to your “uptime” again.
Whether it’s time misspent or time wasted, it doesn’t add value to your life. Wouldn’t you rather give yourself a vacation instead?
What is the cost?
I remember a concept from my Economics class in college:
Everything has an “Opportunity Cost.” There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Every decision requires a trade-off. For every hour you spend doing this, there’s an hour less to do that.
Time isn’t coming back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Start gaining time, instead of losing it. Treat it as the valuable commodity that it is.
Don’t just manage your time – take back your time! It’s your time! Don’t give it away so easily. Block out time for yourself.
With the extra time on your hands –
Invest in yourself. Invest in others. Rejuvenate. Reconnect. Rediscover. Strengthen relationships. Forge new friendships. Pursue a hobby. Tackle that DIY project. Volunteer. Mentor. Coach. Meditate. Do something fun, challenging, or of importance. Explore your neighborhood – or the world.
Find that 30 minutes, hour, or two hours a day you’re losing. It’s in there somewhere – probably in 10-minute chunks. And then, with the time you find, pursue something that excites you. You deserve it.