Do you ever find yourself wondering where all your time goes? The days go by in a blur, you never seem to get to the end of your to-do list, and you haven’t had five minutes to get onto that one thing you really wanted to do. Before we go any further with this line of inquiry let’s take a quick look at the numbers. Each week has over 160 hours in it, 168 to be precise. Everybody needs to sleep, so subtract a solid 8 hours of sleep from each day of the week. This leaves 112. Work puts a reasonable dent in this number, if we assume 40 hours of work and 10 hours for commuting. If you’re keeping up you will notice you still have a full 62 hours left. So even after all of your work, commuting and sleeping you still have a 62 hours of pure and unadulterated time. This is free time which you can spend in any way you wish. The problem therefore seems not to be the amount of time we have, but simply how we choose to spend it.
Now that we know how much time we have available each week, let’s take a closer look at what we are spending our time doing. Think back over the last week or so, and ask yourself the following questions:
- How many days of the week did you watch at least an hour of television?
- How many times did you check social media websites, and how much time did you spend commenting on posts and status updates?
- How many times did you tweet, and how much time did you spend reading other peoples tweets?
- How many photos did you post on Instagram?
The answers to the above may help you realise where a lot of your free time is going. In today’s information rich society it’s hard to switch off as we are constantly being bombarded with information streaming in on a daily basis. It comes from many directions, with social media being one of the worst culprits in recent times. If you want to find more time in your week to do other activities, but regularly watch TV or indulge in social media there are a few options available to you.
First let’s consider television. It’s so easy to flick on the TV when you get home from work. Just for five minutes whilst you sit down and take a break. But the next thing you know you’ve watched a couple of shows, and the evening is gone. Whilst I enjoy watching TV as much as the next man I prefer to watch specific shows a couple of times a week, rather than turning it on every day. If you spend a lot of your time watching TV try going for one week without television and you’ll be amazed at how much free time you have.
Next social media. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to deciding how to spend your free time, and if you truly enjoy being connected to the world through social media then there is no harm in that. But ask yourself one simple question: Does it make you happy? Often it can be the opposite. Checking social media on a daily basis can make people unhappy. Not only does a large tract of time disappear reading posts, but reading about things that other people are doing can make you feel like you’re missing out. Think carefully, do you actually get enjoyment from checking social media so often? Do you enjoy reading about what other people have been doing, or would you prefer to be doing more exciting things yourself?
Now we know how much free time we have available, we can adjust how we spend it to find more time to do the things that we want to do. Try turning off, tuning in and dropping out.
Turn off, the TV. Don’t resort to the TV on a daily basis. Instead consider using TV as a reward when you have completed something else you wanted to get done. An alternative is to set times to watch specific shows you like, but turn off the TV afterwards. If you have a TV in your bedroom, consider getting rid of it.
Tune in, to what you want to do. Think about whatever it is that you want to do each week. Set aside some time to do it, and reward yourself with something fun when you get it done.
Drop out, of the constant social media updates. Try and reduce the amount of time spent checking social media. Avoid checking first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Move social media apps away from your home screen, simply hiding them in folders can reduce the temptation to check so often.