Screw the New Year's Resolution; How Do You Spend Your Time?
I spent eight minutes and twenty-five seconds sitting on the toilet today. I know because I timed it.
I've been timing myself on a lot of important things recently: taking a dump, working out, reading, cooking and eating, writing, hanging out with friends and family, sleeping, sex (where, I'm proud to announce, my time in the bedroom far surpassed my time spent in the bathroom).
And I'm learning some scary stuff. For instance, I spent 14 minutes today listening to the song Tik Tok by Ke$ha. It's three minutes and thirty-five seconds long. And I don’t even like it. That's just sad.
Ever since I saw a study that showed typical Americans spend less than 75 minutes preparing and eating their food every day—the US, by the way, has the highest percentage of people with a BMI over 30 compared to other countries who spend nearly double the time eating and have significantly lower BMIs—I wanted to see where my time was spent.
We always hear about the “important things in life”—stuff like spending time with family, self-improvement, preparing and eating nourishing meals, and exercising—but how no one has time for them. I call bullshit.
I think people need to make time for them and stop wasting time on other, non-fulfilling projects and distractions.
But you really won't know how bad it is until you start timing yourself.
“An hour and a half of email? Shit!”
My friend and mentor Alwyn Cosgrove once told me to replace the word “time” with “life.” It gives you a different perspective on the same tired excuses.
“Train four days per week? I don't have the life for that.”
“Cook healthy meals and spend time with my family? Who's got enough life for that? I'm too busy.”
“I don't have enough life to relax and read.”
The thing is, it's the activities and rituals we don’t make time for that probably have a bigger impact on the quality of our lives.
Think about it: how boring and empty is a life that's meaningless activity after meaningless activity? Where's the sense of accomplishment? Where's the flow experience? Where the hell does your life go?
And “fulfilling activity” can mean different things to different guys. You may truly enjoy watching a couple hours of Southpark with friends, sneaking cheap beer into animated movies, and reading magazines cover-to-cover at your local Barnes and Noble. That's fine. As long as it brings you happiness and you're not doing it to “kill time”, I see no harm in it. (Unless, of course, it harms someone.)
But I see no point in wasting your life on shit that just doesn't matter.
I'm not a fan of New Years' resolutions, but if I had to pick one, I'd suggest writing down a list of activities, people, and rituals that enhance your life, buying a stopwatch, and start having fun.
You've certainly got the life for it.
(And no, I didn't really time myself in the bathroom. I'd rather read than watch a clock. The sex thing? Well, a guy's gotta know where he stacks up, right?)
I'm a sucker for goals. If you've got one (business, training, life, whatever) let me know in the comments. If you don't have one, get one. Happy New Year!