“In many circumstances, we do not deal with our affairs in accordance with correct assumptions, but rather we follow thoughtless habit.” — Musonius Rufus
One of the things I have learned over this past year is that I have way more control over how I spend my time, with whom I spend my time, and the quality of the time spent doing whatever it is I choose.
There are 24 hrs in a day and 7 days a week, with a total of 168 hours per week that I wanted to know exactly how I was spending my time.
I considered the following: I work full-time (40 hrs/wk), and get approximately 8 hours of sleep per night (8×7=56 hrs/wk), a sum of 96 hours (40+56=96) working and sleeping. (Note, I won’t discuss quality of work or sleep at this time, nor does this reflect that most work and sleep hours vary each week, so these are approximations and averages.)
With that said, I am now left with 72 hours to do everything else that isn’t work or sleep to include eating, driving to and from places, getting ready for the day, “adulting”, running errands, getting fit/healthy, hobbies, and downtime.
Let’s call this “ALIVE” time.
Although it isn’t about calculating the amount of hours spent doing “X” per se, it was helpful for me to get a baseline of how much of my time I spent doing “X”, and I wanted to start tracking my time doing these things. After just a week, I realized I spent way more than expected in downtime mode than I thought like spending more time on my phone (there is an app that actually tracks the time spent on each app!). When I realized this, I decided I could be doing something else that gives me more pleasure or enjoyment.
So, I wrote down the things I wanted to spend MOST my ALIVE time doing, and made it a priority over other activities.
- Spiritual, meditation, and reflection
- Mastery of (hobby) skills (e.g. weightlifting, golf, reading)
- Boosting healthy habits (e.g. diet, exercise)
- “Ship” building – friendships, relationships, etc.
I also did the same for the activities I wanted to do LESS of during my NOT-SO-ALIVE time. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t do them, but simply be more deliberate when doing them so that this time is limited.
- Worry or work on things to try to help situations that out of my control
- Watching TV, Netflix/Prime movies, etc.
- Social media, internet browsing, online shopping, etc.
- Playing games on my phone
Since the beginning of 2021, I’ve been tracking my ALIVE time using various apps on my phone, a spreadsheet tracker, or in my journal. It has helped me be more aware of my time, how I’m spending it doing the things that I enjoy and with whom. I also use it when I am more stressed from work or life seems overwhelming. I look to my ALIVE time list and make it a priority to do MORE of these things so I can feel and BE more ALIVE.
This week, think about how you are spending your ALIVE time. Are you just getting by each day by thoughtless habits, or waiting for or hoping that the external things you let control your time slows down so you too can slow down? Well, that’s just wasting time. And I don’t know about you, but I really hate to waste time (someone else’s or mine).
You’ve heard the saying, “time is money”, and for many, this is their mindset. For me, time is the most precious commodity that you alone can control how you spend. If you give the control to someone or something else, that is your prerogative.
Me, my ALIVE time is mine alone, meaning that I control it. You, too, can choose to spend it being ALIVE or you can choose to be a slave to it.