Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Clock is Ticking - How Are You Spending Your Time?

Time is our way of cataloging our experiences - past, present, and future.  It’s the only thing that equalizes us all.  Time steals our youthfulness, our health, our dreams, and our lives—unless we spend it wisely.  Those who manage their time wisely typically have better health, can live their dreams, and can maximize their contributions to themselves and to those that they love. Have you ever taken an inventory of how you spend your time?  If not, then do it NOW! 

Assume that there are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year.  If so then there are 8,760 hours in a year and 688,886 hours in an average US life span of 78.64 years (Centers for Disease Control, 2012).  I’ll bet seeing these numbers is already giving you a jolt as you consider how you’re spending your time.  Keep going…  168 hours in a week (7 days), 720 hours in a month (30 days).

According to the American Time Use Survey (June 2013), a typical day for a working person consists of 8.45 hours of sleep, 0.76 hours for personal care, 1.24 hours to eat and drink, 7.95 hours to work, 3.26 hours to watch TV, and 1.76 unclassified hours (commuting, random activities, etc).  For a total of: 8.45 + 0.76 + 1.24 + 1 + 7.95 + 3.26 + 1.76 = 23.42 hours.  We repeat the pattern for 5 days per week totaling approximately 120 hours (71%) of the work week.  If we’ve managed our time well during the week, then Saturday and Sunday are our leisure days (the remaining 29%).

Oh wait—we spend much of that time working too, right?!  Yes—on average we spend 5.69 hours of our weekend waking hours working.  Yeah—we go at it for about 49 of 52 weeks per year (2 weeks for vacation and 1 week for holidays).  Thus a full working year is 5880 of 8760 hours (67% of our most productive time).  Consider that an average work span can be 40 years (350,400 hours) starting at age 25 years and ending at age 65 (depending on the state, industry, and many other factors).

Hummm - so 253,200 (72%) of a life span is spent working—usually building someone else’s business?!  The first quarter of life (219,000 hours) is spent learning and preparing to work and the last 14 years is spent in post-work bliss (122,640 hours) before we go home for eternity. Ouch!

If this time accounting is causing you to get depressed, don’t!  There is no TIME for that!  What you can do is get focused and determine how you can eliminate the time wasters in your life. 

Focus on what brings you joy and the greatest possible contribution to yourself, to others that you love, or to things that you really care about.

Build the life that you want right now! The clock is ticking.

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