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How Much of Time of Your Life Do You Waste?


I recently received an email newsletter from Steve Pavlina that broke down how much of our lives that we may actually waste. It really got me thinking as to whether or not I am making the most out of every day that I am alive on this beautiful planet. Because life is so precious and so short, I want to share some of the insight I gained from that newsletter with my readers in hope that it may increase the value you all obtain from your lives each and every day.

The average person is awake for about 16 hours everyday. The other 8 hours are spent sleeping. As you know, we all must sleep at some point so the time we spend sleeping is not actually wasted. If we didn’t sleep then we would not be coherent enough during our awake time to accomplish anything. That being said, for the purpose of this article we are going to say that a person’s conscious day is 16 hours long.

If you spend 10 minutes performing a task every day, over the course of long periods of time you will spend an immense amount of time performing that task. Here is a table that shows how much time you will spend performing a task daily over different periods of time (assuming that a person’s conscious day is 16 hours):

Time Spent on a Task
Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Over 5 Years Over 15 Years
5 Minutes 35 Minutes 2 Hours, 30 Minutes 2 Days, 5 Hours 1 Week, 2 Days, 8 Hours 1 Month, 8 Hours
10 Minutes 1 Hour, 10 Minutes 5 Hours 3 Days, 13 Hours 2 Weeks, 5 Days 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 6 Days
30 Minutes 3 Hours, 30 Minutes 15 Hours 3 Days, 13 Hours 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 6 Days 6 Months, 3 Days
1 Hour 7 Hours 1 Day, 14 Hours 7 Days, 10 Hours 3 Months, 3 Weeks, 3 Days 11 Months, 1 Week, 5 Days
*based on a 16-hour day, 28 Day Month, 365 Day Year

Based on the table above, we can see that very short tasks, if repeated regularly, can take up large chunks of our lives. For instance, I am an ex-smoker. When I smoked, throughout the course of the day I probably spent 30 minutes smoking cigarettes. Based on the table I created, in only 1 year I spent three full days puffing away at cigarettes. Is that a valuable use of my time? Absolutely not.

Just because you’re now exposed to how quickly repeated tasks can add up, it does not mean you have to make sure that you’re utilizing every single second of your day. Some down time each day is good for us both mentally and physically. It does mean, however, that you can begin to analyze some of the tasks that you repeat on a regular basis.

If you are self-employed, think of how much more time you could have to create new content, complete client requests and perform your job each year if you cut out just only one useless daily task. If you work hourly, think of how much more free time you would have each week if you cut 5 minutes off the time it takes you to prepare for work in the morning. You could then wake up 5 minutes later, meaning you could go to bed 5 minutes later, resulting in a daily edition of 5 minutes to your life! That means you would have more than 30 extra minutes a week to do whatever you desire. In today’s fast paced environment, a lot can be accomplished in 30 minutes.

Now that you’ve read this, it is a good time to evaluate which tasks deserve less of your time and which tasks deserve more of your time! Although this information may seem depressing to some- because they realize how much time they’re wasting, it can also open their eyes convince them to devote more time to a specific task. If you love to write, by adding 10 more minutes of writing time each day, over the course of a year or over the course of 5 years, you will have devoted much more time to a task that you love than you would have before reading this post.

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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