I think most people have a pretty good idea where their money goes. And if you pay yourself first, it doesn’t really matter if you waste a little of it. But people are very wasteful of their time.
As I’m getting older, and my financial life is becoming very stable, time is becoming much more of a valuable commodity to me. I have more things that I want to do than I have time to do it. The thing I didn’t realize though, is despite what I thought (and my best efforts) I am still wasting a lot of time. Here’s generally how my time breaks down in my 168 weekly hours:
- 50 hours a week spent at work or commuting
- 56 hours a week sleeping (if I hit 8 hrs a day, which rarely happens)
- 9 hours a week on food prep/eating
- 5 hours a week working out (in my Ironman days, this was 15-20, pre-kids)
- 7 hours a week hygiene or getting ready for work/events (incl. sauna time)
- 5 hours a week of kid events or travel to kid events (sports primarily)
- 6 hours a week blogging (assume 3 posts/wk, 2 hours per post)
- ~17 hours a week of family time with kids/wife nights/weekends
- 8-10 hours a week alone time with wife
- ~3 hours a week coaching or tending to other business matters
That seems pretty chock-a-locka full already, and that I’m doing pretty well. It’s not black and white, with some multitasking that naturally happens. Podcasts or audiobooks on the commute or in the sauna. Family time spent horsing around on my phone or reading as we’re watching Netflix or a movie or something. And chores roll in there during dead time, along with other smaller things that happen less frequently like attending Village Board meetings, Toastmasters, volunteering, and hanging out with friends. But things are pretty full and I thought I was maximizing my time, while lamenting all the things I wanted to accomplish but can’t. I was wrong.
I recommend you check out the free Rescue Time app on your computer or phone to see how much time you are really wasting, and to help you set limits. A few years ago when smartphones were becoming popular, I lamented the fact that my wife seemed to be always on hers, yet today, we all seem to have that habit. I was disgusted to see that according to Rescue Time data, I was spending an average of 2 hours a day looking at my fucking phone. Now it was likely during family or wife time, but that means I was either wasting time or not mentally present or both. I was doing some good things, but my time wasn’t nearly as intentional as it could be.
I have a number of goals that I want to stack on to my plate as I continue to make small but intentional progress toward passionate and fulfilling pursuits. In the last two years I was able to take this whim of a pursuit and launch a book, start my coaching business , update the site, and spin off a few other things. This year I want to stop wasting time and get the second book completed (far from it right now), and spin off one or two other things. That means being more intentional with my time, and somethings have to take a backseat. I believe one of those will be the frequency of blog postings here.
My mind always has ideas and perceptions rattling around, and it is very easy to grab those nuggets, get those down in writing, and hit Publish. It is instant gratification, and takes away the motivation to accomplish something bigger. Writing a book is like cutting open your vein and watching it bleed into something bigger than you. Starting, or keeping on that track, is a lot more work as you need to delay gratification and grind through so much minutia as you cut yourself off from the world for hours at a time. In the end it is worth it, and the journey is interesting and sometimes enjoyable, but it takes more effort hence I’ve been procrastinating for a year after outlining and developing content. I need to spend more time writing this, and to do that, I need to spend less time in the bite-sized sugar rush of blogging. Just warning you in case you wonder why I’m slowing down here for a while.
Anyways, that’s just my example of not being as intentional as I would like. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices for the greater good of your own life and satisfaction. For me, I’m not willing to sacrifice much on the family or wife side, nor the health or wellness side, so that’s that. Take a look at how much time you’re wasting, and spend it more intentionally accomplishing your goals. There’s also nothing that says you can’t roll in your wife or kids into your favorite activities and kill two birds with one stone, which is a great strategy I employ when I can (working out with wife, volunteering with kids, playtime and sports together, reading as a family, and so on). Remember that like money, time is a commodity that is very valuable. And sometimes you don’t realize this until you are time poor, so take advantage of this knowledge as young as you can and build yourself and your life into what you intend it to be. Awesome!