We’re all full of it. You, me, writers, construction workers, everyone.
And of course that thing we’re full of is time.
There’s an old story that floats about as a source of motivation which conflates the time in a day with currency. The idea is simple: You get $1,440 at the start of the day. At the end of the day, whatever money you have left over is gone forever. It just dissolves to dust, and you can’t get it back.
Knowing these rules, you’d spend every dollar, right? You can’t save it, get gift cards, or put it in your Amazon account. There’s no cheating here. Whatever’s left over of the $1,440 at midnight is gone forever. All you have left are the goods and services you bought with it.
Well, why don’t we start thinking about the time we have in a day this way? There are 1,440 minutes in a day. If you spend eight hours sleeping a day, you get $960 left to spend. I mean minutes, whatever.
Personally, I always thought this idea had its flaws. It’s a bit simple and the comparison isn’t perfect. But!
But the important thing is this: Each day, we have decisions to make. Are we going to work on that important homework assignment, or watch several more episodes of a TV show we’re trying to catch up on?
Or if you’re not in school, are you going to spend a half-hour tidying up or maybe reading a book? Or are you going to spend several hours playing video games?
Trust me, I’m not innocent in this. Like I mentioned before, I had to ask someone to hide a video game from me until the end of the school semester. (In fact, I was tempted to go look for it the day I’m writing this, so it’s a good thing it was hidden.)
But it’s often harder to criticize our own decisions, so I’m going to tell you about someone else’s. If they read this post, they’ll know who they are, but they shall remain anonymous to you, reader. (And don’t worry, I’ve already been critical on this topic face-to-face, so I’m not talking behind this person’s back.)
Anyway, here goes. I was talking about books I’d read recently, probably sharing some of my favorites and why I think everyone should read them. Then, this person said, “I wish I had more time to read.”
Curious, and pretty sure I knew the answer, I probed: “How much TV do you watch each night?”
“About three hours.”
Like I said, I can’t claim innocence here. I put 80 hours into Breath of the Wild in about two weeks. That’s a full-time work schedule. I’m not proud. This is why I’m not allowed to play the game until summer.
The point is, this person said they do not have enough time to read, yet I just found three hours that they could probably cut back to two. Even just two and a half.
If you want to read, and you spend three hours doing something that’s not necessary to your day, you can give yourself thirty minutes to do something else. I promise you, if you start reading just thirty minutes a day, you won’t switch that above statement to “I wish I had more time to watch TV.”
No one strives to watch more TV.
I had a “Gaming Bucket List” of games I wanted to beat at one point. It mainly included every game I owned plus a few others that were sequels or tie-ins to games I liked. Eventually I realized how wasteful this was and destroyed the list. I also sold the games (which netted me a cool three-hundred bucks thanks to some rare items).
This all goes back to the idea of the things you can live without for a week. There are the things we can’t live without; those we can; and the things that make us better, more productive people. We have to make decisions every day about what activities are actually important to us, and which ones we can skip. It’s okay to have fun, but it’s important to have priorities.
All I’m saying boils down to this: If you think you don’t have enough time, you’re full of it.