How to stop wasting your time

There is one thing, money can’t buy. And no, it isn’t health, since if you have money, better medicine and better health care can be bought. It might not save your life, but odds are that it will. What I am talking about is time.

You have specific amount of time on this planet and can’t buy a single minute more. Sure, with living healthy, you can extend it. But you will never be 20 again, you will never be 25 again and you will never be 30 again. You will never go back and use this time for anything else, but what you already did.

I realized that long time ago. While many people understand this concept, it seems that nobody have serious thought about it, until they run out of time and start to reflect back. Where did my life go, I could do so many things, but I didn’t. I could travel the world, I could take more risks, I could start my business…, but now I run out of time. Why people run out of time? Well, simply because they waste it. This is not about time management. Some people are better organized than others, some people will have strict schedules and routines of every hour of their day (nothing wrong with it), while some people live their life “more spontaneously”. But majority of people in either group waste their precious time, throwing it out of window every single day.

I hate wasting time, not that I don’t like it, I just hate it. Lets see some major time wasters:

Education. Years and years of some of the best time in your life, where you could do so many other things, are spent getting “knowledge” to later work for someone else. It depends which country, what kind of education system, but on the average person with university degree spend almost 2 decades in school. 2 decades! Since you have little choice before getting into university, at least this is the time, when you should think twice if it is really worth it.

TV. I stopped watching TV years ago. It is absolutely freeing. I don’t care about soap operas, news filled with bunch of advertisements, sit coms, some movie repetitions and reality shows. If I want to watch a movie, I can watch it on comp or cinema without advertisements, I can read (only important) news on the internet and I just don’t care about the rest. TV is a major time waster and not only that, but it also makes people stupid. When you come home, tired of work, the easiest way “to relax” is to turn on TV and get hypnotized by it. Your brains don’t have to think, they don’t have to exercise, all the information is given to you in multimedia form. Your brains slowly but surely become slower and slower, until one day you wake up, well, stupid. Now, lets do a quick math. On the average person suppose to watch TV 30hrs per week or more. That’s more than 2 months in only 1 year. 2 months!

Social media sites. Before I closed SM accounts for good, I noticed that my “virtual friends” were much different online than in real life. On Facebook people seemed successful, living full lives, but in reality many of their lives sucked. Not all of them, but a good majority. People basically pretend in order to get likes – approvals from others that they are not as big losers. Once I even heard a girl saying, look, “I got 50 happy birthday wishes on Facebook, people love me so much”, but in reality nobody really cared about her birthday, only couple of people showed up to the party. But besides being fake reality, SM sites are also a major time wasters.

Traffic. Lets say an average person commute 30min-1hr 2 times per day. That’s 1.5hrs on the average every day. Lets say such person works 20 days per month. That’s 360hrs yearly. In 10 years this means 150 days! Yes, average person with commute time of 45 min in one way spends 150 days of his life over a span of 10 years. “But I can’t avoid traffic. What can I do?” There are simple solutions to avoid this. Either you don’t commute, since you have your own business and can choose driving out of rush hours, or use public transportation and use this time for reading. Download quality articles or materials, which will get you specific skill, sit on the bus or subway and read. It might take longer than commuting with car and not as comfortable, but your time will not go to a waste, since you will be learning. You also save the money this way.

Once I had a chance to meet a business owner of construction company with very interesting, simple but efficient approach to this problem. He bought somewhat cheap car and hired a driver to drive him around, while he was taking care of a business in the back sit. He could have bought expensive car, losing his nerves in traffic jam, like I used to do, when I had my 1st business, but he did a simple solution. For money difference between expensive and cheap car he just hired the driver and saved money. How he could save money if expensive car = cheap car + driver? Well, he saved his time. It is called opportunity cost and while his driver was driving him around, he made calls, writing on laptop and taking care of business documents.

Shopping. Especially around public holidays. I don’t do much shopping at all. Firstly, I live cheap, I don’t buy things I absolutely don’t need. Secondly I buy things online and got them delivered. I don’t have to lose my precious time to go to some shopping mall and then stand in the line like an idiot to give my money. There is absolutely no need for this whatsoever. That time can be used better. If you spend only 3hrs per week shopping, that amounts to almost a week time in 1 year. Some people don’t have that long holidays.

News. Especially “celebrity news”. Every day we spend a huge amount of time “to be informed”. But do we really have to know about every single detail of everything? How exactly will your life improve, knowing that some celebrity couple is getting divorced? Surely, over the next 5 min you might think that your life is not as bad, since others have problems too. But after a month that celebrity couple will bounce back on their feet, enjoy their fame and money, while you will read about another celebrity couple divorce. It always amazes me, how much time people spend reading mediocre content about things, which don’t have to do anything with them at all. Simply skip all of this junk. If you have to be “updated” all the time, just read the titles, chose couple of them and limit your time for reading daily news.

Cleaning and cooking. While some people enjoy cooking, for the majority this is just another time waster. But you have to eat, right. Simple, hire maid. If you are married or in serious relationship, wife/gf can do most of this things. Better yet, earn enough money to hire maid and you can enjoy quality time with your wife/gf instead of doing housework. But it cost money? Yes, it does, but not as much money as you can earn in that time. If you “can’t afford” maid in the sense, you would enjoy time with your wife/gf while she is doing housework, than use this time to earn money. Whatever your trade is, you can simply do it for that time and earn more, than you pay your maid. If you don’t have any trade, then use this time to learn it.

Clubbing, hanging out with drinking buddies and other losers. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have a friend, with who you can’t enjoy a nice, cold beer in hot summer time. On the contrary, this is the time well spent. What I am saying is that you should cut “friends” who you only get drunk with and “discuss different topics”, of which you can remember none next day anyway. I have a very successful friend, business owner, with whom we know each other for almost 20 years. While we had our share of birthdays, clubbing when we were younger, new year parties and barbeques, we never really just hang out in the mid day for a drink. Indeed, I can’t recall if we did so 5 times in 20 years. And when we did, we had a specific purpose and topic to discuss. Hanging out with people to get drunk and then go the club is a major time waster. You wake up with a headache next day, ruining whole weekend. Am I saying to cut out all the fun? No, but I am saying that you should focus to get success first. Fun is for when you have some things to show. Go out on friday afternoon, have some socializing with buddies if you want, get home, get laid, and then wake up early next morning to either work or learn.

Comp and video games. It is just too big of a time waste, to even go into that.

Hobbies. “Wait, what? But I like my hobbies.” Um, ok, but hobbies are a time waster too, unless you earn money from it. For example, skiing is my hobby. I ski for many years and I am good at it. I spent a lot of time learning and improving my skills at it and I spent a lot of money doing so. It was just a hobby for a long time. Then I sit down one day and thought how can I make some use of this skill. I searched ads and found that people were looking for ski instructors, so I simply applied and taught people skiing. I still enjoyed my hobby but now I also got paid for it. You can do this with every hobby imaginable. You collect stamps? Trade them on ebay. You’re good at sports? Become a part time coach. You know how to fix cars? Offer people to fix their cars for some fee. Whatever skill you have, there will be people willing to pay for it, as long as you are good at it and sell it. Have your hobbies, but earn money from it, otherwise it is a waste of time.

Staying in a wrong relationship for too long time. This is a big one. While there are several relationships which could be wrong (friends, business partners, even family), I would point out specifically spouse relationship. One thing is to be patient in relationship, which you should. You should hold up when pressure is big, when problems occur, when things don’t go as planned. Most of the relationships are far from perfect. Okay. So be patient, try to solve the problems, maybe you two will become even stronger as a couple after that. But sometimes, relationship is just wrong. If you are in a relationship with a wrong person, and don’t want to admit yourself the truth, you are wasting time – big time. Wrong relationship will drain you life energy, affect your well being and waste a huge amount of time (and money). The time, which you could happily enjoy with other person. People who were about to die, didn’t regret getting out of wrong relationships, they regret they didn’t do it before. Don’t waste time with staying in a wrong relationship.

Dead end job. If you are a medical doctor, fine. If you are professor who enjoys researching and teaching, fine. If you are in the upper management of a big company, or moving towards it, fine. If you are a business owner, fine. But if you are stuck at the bottom of food chain, you are wasting time. Dead end job steals your life, slowly, year by year, until one day you wake up looking back and realize your life is gone. It is gone and you didn’t do anything with it. We spend a lot of time of our life working and it is important that we do, what we want.

I had a friend, who kept complaining how he wants to change his job year after year, but there are no good jobs left. The time was not right, he had a family, economy was doing well, or there were other “obstacles”. When we were younger and about to go to the club, he complained we didn’t have enough money to go to have real club experience. There was always some outside reason he can’t do this or that. But eventually he opened his eyes. You see, he used to sell used cars, then he moved onto new job, selling new cars. But where he surprised me is that he realized he can do much more. Since he worked in the car shop, he learned a lot about them. So, when he couldn’t sell new car to the customer, he simply asked a customer for contact info, that he has some used cars in private stock and can offer him a good deal. Before you know, he partnered up with another guy and they were start to make more than 3 times of their salaries.

If you are stuck in the dead end job, first thing you need to do is to open your eyes and realize it. If you don’t move anywhere, sit down, think about your options and start do something about it. Whether is actively pursuing a new job to fulfilling one, starting your own business or side hustle, the time is now.

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