Time is finite and is arguably our most precious commodity, but it’s all too easy to let it trickle through our fingers, forgetting that we can’t stash even a second of it away for later use. Every day has just 1440 minutes in it. We spend a considerable number of those minutes asleep and in doing the things we must do: eating, showering, caring for others and so on. For most of us, the rest is spent in travelling, ferrying children to and from their activities, working, and, heavens help us, in meetings. Then there is ‘spare’ time, which is usually spent in leisure activities, hobbies, exercise and so on. And of course there is the time that just ‘disappears’ , very often online and on social media.
I’m not suggesting that every minute of every day should be scheduled, but it really is easy to let precious time go to waste. To use it more wisely and productively, how about thinking of time in investment terms?
As an example, when you travel, do you consciously invest your time wisely? It doesn’t really matter what you choose to occupy your mind during the journey – it could be listening to music, thinking about your new book or paper, discussing things with your travelling companions, learning a new language or planning anything from a lecture to project – all these things are productive and show a measurable return on investment. So can (as long as it’s not you driving!) staring out of the window, enjoying the view and being grateful for the time to do so. The ROI there is in the refreshment of your mind and ideas.
Time spent with friends and other loved ones can also be considered a great investment. I’ve recently been moving books and amongst them were the works of Khalil Gibran, whose most well known work is ‘The Prophet’. In that, on the subject of friendship, he says “For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live.” Worth considering I think.
So, how could you use your ‘spare’ time more productively this week?