Let’s talk about TIME and how to create more of it.
Unless you’re Dr. Strange, time travel as we typically think of it is not possible. However, creating more time for yourself every day is very possible. This article is going to give everyone the power of the Time Stone.
Quick disclaimer: This article is meant to help people who are not happy with their jobs or wish they had more personal time. If you truly love your job or you already have a career that gives you immense satisfaction, then you can skip this article. You’ve already hit the jackpot.
Before we get started, here’s some woke comments I found on YouTube.
The average American employee (sheeple) gets 2 weeks of vacation a year. If you’re lucky and you’ve shown loyalty to your company, you might get 3 weeks. Somebody with this type of limitation can realistically only take 1 or 2 actual vacations a year (outside of quick, weekend getaways). Many people will not even leave the country during their extended vacations because they not only appreciate the downtime at home, but they need it to take care of personal chores and responsibilities uninterrupted. There’s even a cute name for it : staycations. The desire to stay at home during a vacation is completely understandable when you’re always working, but this is truly a waste of your valuable vacation days (otherwise known as your “time off.”) Interestingly, the opposite of “time off” is “time on” which means your time is only considered on when you’re at work.
There is no such thing as turning time on or off, there is only optimizing how you choose to spend the time that make you happiest.
How many of us try to think of the best ways to maximize our limited vacation days? Do we use all of our days at once to get a super-long weekend? Or do we try to use them during national holidays to try to make those feel as long as possible? It’s a sick game of trying to juggle a finite resource that is limited even further by your job.
Most corporate workers might aim to visit 1-2 new countries a year (which is all they have time for) which translates to 10-20 countries over a 10 year period (I do this annually). And because of the limited vacation days, their trips are usually jam-packed and activities are usually forced into a tight schedule. This, from my experience, is not an optimal way to explore a new country (but it’s better than nothing I guess). No wonder people are exhausted after a vacation and feel the need to “take a vacation after a vacation.”
5 Categories of Time
I like to break time down into 5 major categories:
Me-Time: the time you’re awake and doing whatever you want to be doing
Sleep: the time you’re sleeping
Wake Up, Commute, Work: the time you spend earning your income
Exercise: depending on how much you like exercising, this could fall under me-time. I’m making it a separate category since there are some people who exercise only because they feel like they have to or should
Chores: the time you spend doing things you don’t really want to be doing (i.e. laundry, cleaning the home)
An increase in me-time (such as taking vacations) is correlated to an increase in happiness. This article from Time backs me up.
Sheeple’s Daily Routine Breakdown (M-F)
There’s 120 total hours during the weekdays. The typical work schedule is Monday – Friday, 9-5 daily. Most people have some sort of commute, and some like to wake up an hour before work to mentally prepare.
Here’s how the math breaks out during the workweek:
This gives you a grand total of 3.5 hours (or 14.6%) of me-time each day. That’s not a lot of time. Throw in happy hours, dates, mandatory after-work events and you can see how quickly your entire week disappears. Add in hangovers and it makes the following day even more brutal. And I know many people in advertising who often work until midnight…just no. This drops me-time down to 0 and completely removes exercise. It’s a sick cycle of wake up, commute, work, sleep.
Sheeple’s Daily Routine Breakdown (Weekend)
Yay the weekend! There’s a reason we say TGIF on Friday and say on Monday “we have the Monday blues.”
Here’s how the math breaks out during the weekends:
We love the weekend because we get to spend more time doing the things we want. Mostly. In lieu of work, we use this time to handle our personal responsibilities and chores like laundry, or cleaning the apartment. If you’re into bottomless brunches on Saturday, then you’ll likely have a hangover to deal with on Sunday (which means you’ll wake up late, skip the gym) and then you’re spending half the day Sunday dreading Monday. It’s an awful cycle. This is not how human beings were meant to live. It isn’t healthy. And quite frankly, outside of a few specific careers, it isn’t necessary. Not when we have the power of a computer in our pocket. We can and should be empowered to work from anywhere we want. We should be paid for our productivity, not because we show up for some arbitrary set of fixed hours (9-5). Surprisingly I’ve never read the 4-hour Work Week but through my own personal experiences I’ve arrived at the same conclusion. Speaking of productivity…
Why the 40 Hour Workweek Doesn’t Make Sense
When you have a 9-5 job, you are generally paid for your time and not for your productivity. A corporation is literally trading people’s limited time in exchange for money. Guess which is more valuable?
By escaping the rat race (which trades money for some arbitrary fixed set of working hours), you can re-balance the scales and find or create a career that pays you based on productivity instead. Let your iPhone and laptop become your mobile office. This also can reduce your commute time down to 0. And if you want to push it even further, you can move to a country like Thailand where you can earn US-based income remotely against a significantly lower cost of living. Work less, get more. My friend told me she’s getting a 1-hour massage in New York City this week and it’s going to cost her $110. That’s the same price of ten 1-hour massages in Thailand. With tip!
How I Spend My Day
I feel happiest when I am free (me-time). According to my Daily Routine Breakdown chart below, I am free for 11.5 hours a day, every day of the year. Over 365 days, that means I spend 4,197.5 hours in freedom. This comes out to 174 days, or 48% of the year. If we remove sleeping time, then I am enjoying freedom 72% of the time.
Compared to sheeple, they are free for 3.5 hours a day during the weekdays, and 12.5 hours a day during the weekend. Over 365 days, sheeple have 2,210 hours of freedom. This comes out to 25% of the year. If we remove sleeping time, then sheeple are free 37% of the time.
As you can see, I have found a way to almost double my freedom and thus, I’ve created more time. Factor this out across 10 years and you can essentially live 20 years in 10!
The top 5 deathbed regrets are:
1. I wish I’d have the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 🙂
We should learn from our elders.
So How Do You Create More Time?
As you can see, you don’t need a Time Stone or Dr. Strange’s powers to create more time. You just need some creativity, be willing to take a risk, and an open mind.
- Think about what your current company is paying you to do. And then think if your skillset can translate to a career off of your phone or laptop. Some of you might have jobs that require you to be on-location such as a doctor or nurse. But if traveling more is something you wanted, there’s always jobs like traveling nurses (this is a huge industry). There’s always a way to improve or obtain whatever it is that you think is lacking in your life, regardless of your career.
- Always respect yourself. If your company is taking advantage of you or not paying you what you feel you deserve, do not show them loyalty. If the company was struggling, they would have no hesitation in laying you off. I’ve seen it happen to close friends and good people.
- Consider living in a more affordable country while earning income remotely. Work less, get more.
- If you’re in the rat race for the foreseeable future, make as much money as you possibly can, as quickly as you can and invest. Do not buy a Prada bag or the new Jordans if you do not yet have a healthy portfolio or real estate investments. Only spend your money on things that will grow your money. “Make your money move.” Your money can literally quadruple in 10 years.
- If money is limited and you feel like splurging, I recommend splurging on experiences over appearances. Invest in a trip, not an expensive clothing item. The clothing item will surely go down in value but your experiences will never be forgotten.
To end this article, I want to leave you with 2 things. A beautifully-said post by my friend Tara Atwood and one of my favorite shorts, Rat Race.