Time. Can we put a physical value on it? You've probably heard that time should be treated as a commodity. I'm here to tell you that it certainly should.
So what's time? Now the next few sentences might sound a bit esoteric, so stay with me here. Time is variable in that it's relative to motion. Think of the word simultaneous. Does it apply to physical acts separated by large distances? No. Read this article for a general overview of time. Here's a blurb that describes the differences.
"Motion influences clocks - and that means that, for a fundamental definition of simultaneity, one should not rely on simply carrying clocks around."
So what is a commodity? Well, the generalized definition is "a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee." Wait, so your telling me that time is a raw material? That doesn't make much sense. We can't reach out and touch time. We can't pet it like we do our furry, little kittens. We can't drink time like our morning coffee or that final (probably bad choice) cocktail before we call it a night. So why am I telling you to think of time as a commodity?
Well the answer is simple. Just as there is a finite amount of natural resources on this planet, each of us have a finite amount of time as well.
So the question is, how do you choose to spend it?
Here's a quote from Gandalf in J.R.R Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We are all burdened with time. Some of us more than others.
Have you ever had a day at the office when you constantly watched the clock waiting for it to strike 5:00pm? This sounds like most of my Fridays. For most of us, this is a common thread. We all want to fast forward or prelude the mundane in order to get to the meat of life. In most cases this pleasure or some sort of personal gain. Whether that be getting home, plopping on the couch, grinding on some cheesy poofs and drinking ourself to oblivion. Or waking up at the ass crack of dawn in order to get that morning workout in before we hit the office. We all have ways of optimizing our time. We do that so we feel like we aren't wasting it. What I'm here to tell you is.... We're doing it all wrong.
Are you busy or out of time?
I hear this all the time, "there's not enough time in the day to get all of these things done!". I constantly have conversations with co-workers friends and family members where they simply say " I don't have enough time to do 'x' ". The most common one I hear is "I don't have enough time to hit the gym". Here's an interesting infographic on how humans spend their time. So how long are we actually awake during our lifetime? It does depend on how long you live. If the average lifespan is, let's say, 66 - 76 years while the average time spent asleep per day is 8.65 hours, then a total of over 208,185 hours is spent awake. Approximately one third of our lifetime. So when your friend, coworker or family member complains about how they "don't have enough" time, kindly remind them they have over 200,000 hours of time!
Live smart not busy
Does this sound familiar? "I am going to wake up at 5:00am, eat breakfast, hit the gym, take a shower, kiss the wife and kids, rush furiously to work, answer 50 billion emails before my first meeting, answer another 50 billion emails before lunch, eat lunch, work on the most important task, socialize with coworkers for 30 minutes, work some more, ask my boss for a raise, leave work, have a beer with a friend, rush home for dinner, play with the kids, read a few chapters of my new book, kiss my wife and then go to bed." Seesh. Are we busy enough? And that sounds (to me at least) like a pretty average day. We all try to plan our days, packing as much as we can so that every channel of our lives is accommodated. But what if we took a day and did nothing? That is what I m proposing to you.
Here's a question we should all be asking ourselves. If we had a rich, unknown uncle that passed away, left us three billion dollars and we never had to work another day of our life, what would we do with the abundance of time? Would we sleep all day? Would we play sports all day? Would we have sex all day? What ever your answer to the question is, I propose we take a day and DO IT. As a follow up to that thought experiment, ask yourself this - does our dream life require a shit ton of money? It shouldn't.
Get your time back
My practice lately is writing out a "not to do" list. We all have our long "to do" list of (hopefully no more than 3 to 5) must do, daily items. But have you ever thought of things not to do? Do you really have to check email 20 times a day? Or would checking email twice a day be sufficient?
Stop living busy and start living smart.
If you want to take a week off of work, but you think you can't because of X, Y or Z, sit down and ponder. If I do take a week off how will it effect the rest of my life? Will it recharge my battery? Will it give me a larger perspective on what's important? We all have such narrow viewpoints of life and such large view points of other's. What I mean by that is we like to project our own false positives onto others. We put ourselves in other's heads and come up with all of the reasons why we can't take that week off.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO TAKE UP SOME SPACE.
Don't dread how your actions will effect others. Put it this way, if you won't get fired, or you won't lose the company (or your own business) a large percentage of revenue, chances are it's fine to take some time off.
Say no and get your time back
So much of our adult life is accommodation. We are constantly trying to please. Knock it off. When's the last time we genuinely pleased ourself? I'm not talking about ordering that piece of chocolate cake after dinner. I'm not talking about taking that one week vacation mentioned in the last section. I'm talking about galvanizing our innate sense of pleasure.
I recommend one thing to spark that inherent sense of pleasure. Travel. Travel resets our internal clock and helps us wash away some of the dirt that has fogged up our lenses. I suggest picking up the book Vegabonding by Rolf Potts. This book lays out the importance of travel and demonstrates some practical applications on how to go about it.
Change your lens and you will see extraordinary growth.
USE YOUR TIME. That is all.