Time = Money…
…so if you’re wasting time, you’re wasting money. Keep this old adage in mind as you read through this article.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
As you consider what I’ve written, please keep in mind that you can always earn more money, but you can never earn more time. From birth, the precious time each of us is allotted begins slipping away. Whether you are a homeless, alcoholic bum or the the President of our great United States, you only have so much time.
How are you using the time you have been allotted in this life?
Please note that some of these “pastimes” may be used properly and productively but, more often than not, they’re nothing more than time sucks. In other words, while they may be fun or beneficial in some ways, they’re far from being a necessity.
Top five time sucks of the average American
1. Watching TV
There exists no device or “leisure activity” that wastes more time than the old boob tube! Don’t believe me? The following breakdown lists the average number of hours that Americans spent watching television in 2007:
- Men = 4hrs 35mins
- Women = 5hrs 14mins
- Teens = 3hrs 21mins
- Children = 3hrs 25mins
Have you had a chance to see the movie Wall-E? Well… If we don’t change our habits, we’ll soon be a country of obese shut-ins just like in the movie.
Or are we there already? After all, we currently nearly double the television watching statistics of any other country in the world. Now that you know this, get out from behind that time sucking vortex and go do something productive!
A close 2nd to TV, is the sometimes glorious, sometimes notorious World Wide Web! This is by far my biggest time drain. Yes, I use it for business, but I also waste a lot of time playing around with this virtual cornucopia of information.
Self-restraint and time management practices are absolutely crucial if you wish to utilize the power of this beast without letting it steal away untold hours of your precious time. I could go on for days about this, but a few of the biggest time sucks are social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Trust me, I know first hand.
- Mobile phones: These little suckers have been popular for less than 10 years, and yet they’re everywhere! Don’t believe they’re a huge time-waster? Next time you’re waiting in a public place, take a look around and check out how many people are staring into these hypnotic little electronic goodies just-a-wastin’ time away.
- Video games: If you’re not careful, you can spend 10 hours straight trying to “beat” or “solve” one of these little buggers. Sure they’re fun, but in the hands of the undisciplined soul… They can quickly become your purpose in life.
- iPods: From the first time you contemplate the purchase an iPod – whether you admit it or not – it sucks a ton of your time… And for what? You research the purchase, research the best price, make the purchase, read the manual, play with the device, install the software, play with the software, search through your worthy CDs, rip your CDs, download music… You get the picture. It may be fun… But this is a huge time suck.
- HDTVs: Like other gadgets, one can spend a tremendous amount of time researching, saving for, shopping for, setting up, learning, tweaking, and paying off this impressive piece of modern technology. At the end of the day, HDTVs are very nice examples of human ingenuity, but they do little in the way of helping us reach our goals.
4. Sporting events
Although I’m a huge football fan, I have to admit that watching sporting events is a huge time suck for the average American. One example is fantasy football. You would be amazed at just how much time one person can spend playing a fantasy sport!
I would have to say that I used to spend at least 10 hours/week setting up my team. I then spent another 10 hours per week watching games, checking scores, etc. What was in it for me? Nothing but entertainment — and bragging rights.
Do yourself a favor. Turn off the TV, put away your foam #1 hand, and go spend some meaningful, quality time with your family and friends.
5. Personal appearance
Yes, it’s important to be clean, presentable, and dressed appropriately, but…
Many people take their personal appearance to such an extreme that they spend the better part of every day consumed with how they look. This near obsession with personal appearance can, in many cases, be tied to a lack of self-confidence brought on by things like a constant barrage of advertising.
Our consumeristic society wants us to BUY BUY BUY, but what’s truly important in life? The 20 pairs of shoes and 50 different outfits in the closet? Do yourself a favor. Reduce, simplify, focus on necessities, and stop spending so much time trying to impress others with your appearance.
Unless you’re something like a fashion model, copious amounts of shopping, primping, and posing will not help you accomplish anything of lasting value.
As I noted above, some (if not all) of these things can be used properly or productively but, more often than not, they are nothing more than a waste of time.
Less popular alternatives include: working, giving, volunteering, loving, reading, studying, learning, hobby-ing, journaling, goal setting, and goal striving. That said, it’s important to remember that nearly anything can become a time suck if you let it. Moderation and balance are the keys.