"The average person spends over two hours per day on social media. What could you do with an extra six hundred hours per year?"
I read this quote in James Clear’s Atomic Habits on March 9th, 2019 and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Upon reading this excerpt I began to reflect on how much time I was spending on social media and doing other non-productive tasks. Once I did the math I couldn’t believe how much time I was allocating to activities that produced no meaningful result in my life!
At that moment I made a decision that I would start investing more time in myself. My goal was to replace wasted time (browsing social media, watching live/streaming TV, etc.) with productive time (reading, updating my website, and working out). To help reinforce this habit, I started tracking my wasted time versus my productive time using both the ATracker and Usage Time phone apps.
While I could write several articles about my newfound appreciation for time-tracking, let me quickly highlight my reading habits. As of the time I write this entry, I have averaged 37 minutes a day of reading since March 9th. Surprisingly, this has allowed me to read 50 (!!) books this year. As I look back on the books I have read, it is motivating to know this relatively simple change in mindset (grabbing a book instead of grabbing my phone) has produced such a positive, tangible outcome in my life.
Before I go any further let me be clear on a couple of things. First, those who know me realize I still spend plenty of time on social media (Twitter being my biggest vice) and my Saturdays during the fall can often be consumed with college football. However, the difference is now I am intentional about spending time on these “non-productive” activities only after my productive work is done for the day.
Second, I can imagine many parents saying “My life is already crazy busy - I don't waste any time!” I totally get this can only imagine how busy life can get with kids. However, my gut is telling me parents may have more free time than they believe. I would encourage all adults to analyze how they spend their time. Specifically, calculate how much time you spend a week looking at social media, checking non-work related email, browsing websites, and "binge" watching Netflix and other television. My guess is everyone can find a little more time in their schedule that will produce more life-fulfilling results.
With 2020 only a few days away my advice would be to take James Clear’s question to heart - what could you do with an extra six hundred hours per year?