Wasting time is ridiculously easy in the 21st Century, with the entire internet only a thumb swipe away on our smartphones. I can just sit back and peruse the internet for hours on websites like Reddit, Imgur, Yahoo, Facebook, and countless other sites offering up interesting articles, pictures, you name it. When I started watching Breaking Bad, I got caught up watching Netflix 3-4 hours at a time! I was often left at the end of the day thinking to myself “where the heck did my Saturday just go?!”.
Did you know we spend almost as much time watching TV as we do working! The average American watches around 5 hours of television per DAY. The worst part: we watch more as we get older! I am used to hearing the cliche “kids these days watch too much TV and don’t get enough sunlight”, but apparently it is us adults who are more hypnotized by the magic picture-box than the joys of actual living.
Source: A multitude of internet searches and one punch-to-the-groin for us adults
The 3 Biggest Wastes of My Time:
- Random Internet Browsing
- Video Games
This year the Reddit and Netflix binges stop! Join me in a personal challenge to claim nearly 2000 hours per year of your life back (or more!). This is 83 days per year. $50,000 worth of time, if you get paid $25/hour (the average Uber driver in the city makes $25/hour!). 2000 hours is a full-time job! Quitting your day job would give you about as much free time as quitting TV–that is RIDICULOUS!!!!
If you really think about it, TV and video games are about as deadly as smoking! Studies have shown each cigarette statistically shortens your life by around 11 minutes. Well, every hour of TV or games is an hour you are never getting back! You effectively shortened your life by an hour watching TV when you could have been doing something awesome and creating lasting happiness in your life. I 100% guarantee that you would be happier in the long run if you spent less time watching TV and playing video games and more time exercising, learning, creating, spending time with loved ones, and challenging yourself!
Time just seems to slip away easily when I’m alone. I just had a big shift change at work and now all of my mornings are free, but I have no one to spend them with–all my friends are at work. I set out to use this new fangled alone time to improve my life: I specifically wanted to grow the blog, start a company on the side, and eat healthy and hit the gym 3 times a week to gain some more muscle mass. My efforts have been half-assed; with the amount of free time I had, I really should have done a lot more by now! So what gives?
Enter those big time wasters. Get this: I literally sit in a chair, letting my glorious muscles waste away while blasting myself in the face with random photons generated from an electronic screen I paid way too much for and it does not improve my life in any way, shape, or form. This needs to stop asap!
I am definitely guilty of overindulging. The worst part is: I never even feel very happy about wasting hours playing a video game or watching TV or looking at cool stuff on the internet. It really is an addictive waste of my remaining time on the Earth. There are plenty of activities I can do that will create lasting happiness: creating something, mastering a skill or hobby, exercise and healthy eating, and spending quality time with people we care about.
The Lost Art of Talking
Sitting next to your significant other while you both play on your fancypants smartphones does not count as quality time–talking about hopes and dreams and how to pursue them, learning to cook something new and tasty together, going for a walk and watching the sunset, or giving someone some lotion and a massage are just a few quality activities you can do together.
When you can watch TV or play a game for no more than a few hours a week, more power to you, but this level of moderation doesn’t jive with my personality–I have an addictive “one more episode, one more article, or one more game” personality. It’s a double edged sword that can be used for good or evil: waste time or do do something extraordinary! Let’s be extraordinary, shall we?
Video games taunt me with whispers like “Casey you know you are better a player than everyone, come collect your imaginary internet points… If you keep playing you will reach the top and finally get that badge to show you are better than everyone else and it will feel soooo goooood…”.
A really great show sucks me in just as hard with their darn cliff-hangers: “just one more episode, I must know what happens ARRGGHH!”. But even Netflix feels bad for how much time we waste and inserts binge watching alerts in-between episodes to encourage us to at least get up and stretch before we develop a blood clot in our leg and die. If you think I am joking, think again; this actually happens to people who sit down for ‘marathon’ gaming sessions. Ridiculousness!
What Would You Do With 5 Extra Hours a Day?
Imagine a 29 hour day. It’s what everyone wants right? More time! I remember back in college I would give just about anything for an extra hour before my Organic Chemistry final. With a few extra hours to study before the test, I was sure I could score a few percentage points higher!
Everyone wants more time to make money, to spend with loved ones, or just more time to be alive. I’m telling you right now you can have 20% more time to spend on this planet to create more, to love more, and to live more. But TV, funny stuff on the internet, and video games want to waste that time away!
Just the other day I was thinking to myself “I can’t wait to retire early and have so much free time to sleep 8 hours a day, exercise and maintain a healthy physique, spend more quality time with my significant other, learn to cook better and take time for homemade meals, and pursue any hobby that tickles my fancy”.
Then I slapped myself in the face and realized how stupid that type of thinking was. I have enough free time to work full-time at a day job, work a side hustle and start a business, and STILL do all that early retirement stuff NOW! How you might ask? It’s simple really. I just stop wasting time on things not on that list above. If you gave up TV, useless internet browsing, and video games, you would have ~20% more time on average. That is an extra 16 years to live and love or 16 years wasted watching TV (based on 80 year life expectancy).
Sit down and be honest with yourself here: how much time are you wasting on pointless activities like TV, internet browsing, or video games? And how happy do those things really make you in the long run? Was there a time in your life you felt really happy and fulfilled after creating something, hitting a health/fitness goal, or a romantic trip/date with a loved one? Could your free time be better spent playing with your kids? Let’s forget average living and be extraordinary with our time! You will feel happier, I guarantee it.
The Challenge to Claim Your Life Back!
I’m not saying you have to give up TV 100% or never go to the movies or disable your internet, just be careful with how much time is allocated to those time sinks. Happiness and a wealthy life is the top priority and I am starting to see those time sinks dragging down my life, so it is time for an extraordinary change!
If you are ready for an honest change to live a wealthier life, both emotionally and fiscally, brace yourself for another On Our Way To Wealth Challenge! And remember, if a healthy amount of moderation proves too tempting, it is best to go cold turkey. Just keep the challenge going for 30 days and see how your life feels after. My guess is that you won’t go back to the old time wasting habits.
The 30 Day Challenge: Spend no more than 1 hour per day on activities such as watching TV, mindless browsing on the internet, and playing video games. 7 hours per week is the maximum amount of time you get to spend on all these activities combined.
That means 30 mins of TV + 30 mins of video games = your whole 1 hour for the day.
If you really want to challenge yourself, go for the extraordinary modes listed below.
- Eliminate TV as much as possible. You still get a bit of time to watch a favorite show or catch the new Star Wars movie every week. Some people just love unwinding with their show before bed. That it fine, just don’t overdo it like my 4 hour Breaking Bad binges.
Extraordinary mode: Unplug your TV for the entire 30 days.
- Eliminate Random Internet Browsing. Only read an article or watch a video if it is relevant to your immediate life, such as how to fix something or what car insurance you should have. No news on Syria or mass shootings, these add zero value to your life and I’m sure you will hear the basics at work anyways.
Extraordinary mode: use internet browsing to learn a new skill: learn more about investing, learn woodworking and make some furniture, or learn coding or website design; learn something that interests you and is valuable.
- Eliminate video games. Reduce games to social playing with friends. Consider exercise, learning to cook, or reading/learning something instead. Nothing is worse for your life than spending 100% of your free time glued to a game (play every night and every weekend). I’ve been there and I promise you are better off just giving up gaming. If you consider how many hours are wasted playing games, it is more deadly than smoking–in terms of shortening your life.
Extraordinary mode: uninstall all your games and lock up any consoles for 30 days.
What to Do With All That New Free Time:
- Find a hobby that makes you some money. You could start a business or drive for Uber or start an Etsy store with homemade trinkets–whatever makes you happy. The only thing limiting you here is your interests and your creativity. I have a friend who makes board games on Kickstarter. What a kickass way to make some extra money! He tests them out with all our friends and it is a lot of fun to order some pizza and drink a few beers and have fun playing a game NO ONE HAS EVER PLAYED BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! This guy is being extraordinary with his free time (all while still playing games! It is almost cheating!). Lots of YouTubers have found fame and fortune by creating video channels just sharing their favorite music, makeup products, or humor.
- Have some alone time to organize your thoughts. Getting to really know yourself is essential to a wealthy life. A lot of people write a journal or just write down some goals and thoughts so they don’t forget. Writing a blog is pretty sweet because you really have to think hard about who you are and what you stand for, then put it all down on an article for people to read about.
- Time to get healthy! A healthy body = a healthy life. Working out and eating healthy feels great! I have been at both ends of the spectrum: I used to eat Panda Express daily, drink 4-6 cans of soda daily, and never work out. These days I drink very little soda, eat more healthy foods in healthy portions, and exercise regularly. The healthy option makes me feel so much cleaner and happier. I still cheat and indulge in delicious unhealthy food like homemade Pork Katsu and Strawberry Nutella Crepes every once in awhile, but never frequently. There really is no going back once you start a healthy lifestyle because you will see how good it feels. So say goodbye to the chips and hello to the trail mix and dumbbells!
- Spend more quality time with loved ones. Plan a weekend getaway and re-kindle some romance. Spend more time playing with your kids when you get home. Put down the phone, turn off the TV, and actually talk to each other. Go hang out with a friend instead of Facebooking them.
Here are 4 specific things I’m doing with my extra time to improve my life:
- Start a business (shhhh! it’s a secret, I’ll tell you later). There is a lot of potential money in any side hustle you take up in your free time. Your potential to earn more money is unlimited!
- Grow the blog. Blogging is awesome because it helps me organize my thoughts and priorities and gives me greater focus in life. It is also great learning how to create a website and grow its viewers.
- Workout and eat healthy and gain 20 lbs of muscle over the next 6 months. God I am having a hard time gaining muscle weight. This will be the hardest one for me I think. But I everyone should set lofty goals for themselves; better to shoot for the moon and miss, rather than stare at the ground your whole life.
- Spend more quality time with the significant other, and less time sitting next to each other on our phones.
The best way to make real change and stick to your goals is being held accountable. I could try this challenge on my own and not tell anyone and if I failed no one would know and no one would give me crap for failing. Having a partner or telling people over the internet is a great way to keep motivated. Write your goals down on a piece of paper on tape it to your door! Have something to remind you daily of what you want to accomplish in life.
Drop a comment here with your challenge goals, and in a month we will all come back and give an update on how much better life feels now. Just pick 1 or 2 goals if you just want to dip your toes into a more awesome life. I’ll warn you though: you probably won’t be able to happily return to your less awesome lifestyle. Now get off the internet and go be extraordinary, you beautiful people!
Want to Improve Your Life, Relationships, and Finances but Not Sure Where to Start?
Lucky for you, we live in the 21st Century and you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Learning from (or just copying) experts who have already ‘figured it out’ is a great way to accomplish something great while saving yourself the heartache and wasted time involved with trial and error.
Come join me, Andrew, and renown speaker and certified financial planner Kristy Tubbs in Vacaville, California January 23rd. It is an interactive workshop to get you excited and educated about your financial future! We’ll be covering topics such as college planning and student loans, getting out of debt, different money personalities, and investing in your future!