Time is a powerful thing, but where does it go? The 2015 Old Farmer’s Almanac has a few answers to the age-old question—as well as four ideas for getting it back!
This thing all things devours; Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town, And beats mountain down. –J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
Where Does The Time Go?
A lot of time goes to just living:
- We Sleep: On average, Americans sleep for 26 years; Canadians, 27 years
- We Work: If you work a 40-hour week from age 22 to age 65 (with 2 week vacation), you’ll have spent 9 years, 10 months on the job.
- We Commute: At the current average of 52 minutes per day, you’ll likely spend a little over a year commuting to and from work.
- We Cook and Clean: American woman, 6 years; American man, 3 years 8 months; Canadian woman, 6 years 9 months; Canadian man, 4 years.
- We Watch TV: Americans, 9 years 2 months; Canadians, 7 years 6 months
To make the most of your time:
- Eat, Exercise, and Snooze: Lately, the buzz in business is less about “time management” and more about “energy management.” The idea is that when we feel refreshed and energetic, we can use our time to greater effect. To increase energy, snack wisely (eat nuts, fish, and whole grains), take exercise breaks, and get more sleep.
- Stop Stopping: “Multitasking” is actually “rapid task-switching,” especially when technology is involved. Office workers check their email 30 to 40 times an hour. Students lose focus every 3 minutes to check Facebook or text a friend. Multitasking with technology is no way to make the most of your time – those emails can wait!
- Sharpen Up! When you concentrate on the present moment, you can enjoy it fully and remember it once it’s over. Studies show that “the sharper the attention, the sharper the memory.”
- Do Important Things First: Think about how you want to spend your lifetime and then, as you can, spend your days accordingly. Many writers on time management advise using the mornings for things that are important (meaningful) but not urgent (demanding of your attention right then).