Except for the heroes of your favourite sci-fi show, time is a fixed resource. You can spend it, waste it, ignore it, distract yourself from it, leverage it, etc... but you can't get more of it or skip past some of it or get any back later.
In fact, in life, there's very little else that is so consistent, constant and equitable. We all get 24 hours a day, be we pauper or prince.
So, gaining clarity and awareness about your time-based opportunities, choices and habits is deeply meaningful. You can't get more time, you can only use it differently to get different results.
First, let's take a look at the numbers:
Now, stay with these numbers. Eating dinner (3 & 1/4 years of your life) represents 1 hour/day everyday. What else do you do, through a combination of habit and need, do you do for an hour a day most days? Well, you are investing three and a quarter years of your life into that activity.
And, keep in mind, you only get about 78 years to spend at all. Ever. Maybe a little more, and maybe a little less but probably about 78. So, on the macro level, your micro decisions and behaviours matter. Which we all know. But, have you used this insight to make better decisions? Do you even know how many hours you spend per day doing stuff? Take the time to track yourself for a few days and see what that data looks like. Maybe you'll make new decisions based on it and then again, maybe you won't. But, you will be an informed, empowered time spender instead of an incidental time traveller.
And, becoming aware of where your time is going is a good first step towards tracking your results. Are you getting results you like? Are you going to bed at peace with the world, waking up feeling fulfilled and energized, generally healthy and growing in skills and impact? If not, why not? You have the same opportunities as other people in terms of the time you have access to. What could you do with that time to get results you like more?
Sick Time: An example of using these big numbers to make meaningful but doable changes is your number of sick days. The number in the chart above give an average time spent sick as 4 years. If we subtract 6 months to use at the end of our lives, we're left with 16.5 days of sickness/year on average. That's how sick people generally are. How many days have you been sick in the last year? In the last few years? Is it higher than the average or, more meaningfully, higher than you'd like? If yes, then you've just found a place to put some energy. Figure out why your health is not what you'd like it to be because being sick too often is costing you more than annoyance and discomfort. It's costing you years of your life. For me, it was celiac disease that was causing me to have so much downtime. Knowledge is power and now my sick days are in line with other people's because I know what to do and not to do to keep myself healthy. I saved years of wasted time by realizing I was experiencing a different amount of illness than my peers, deciding to take action and figuring out what I could do about it.
Of course, as a work-life coach, I have to mention the 11.4 years you will spend at the office. If you aren't enjoying it, you owe it to yourself to find somewhere more in line with your passions, style and needs. 11.4 years of your life!
-Catherine Olchowy, Boldly Reach Your Goals
Check out my Career Fit Programthat will help you find a place to use your time more fruitfully by gaining awareness of your personal brand and fit.