A frequent question I get is, “how do you have time to do all that?” which I’m quite sure is often accompanied with thoughts of “he must be a work-a-holic”. The obvious implication is: there’s no way someone can accomplish alot, and still have a life.
WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong….. wrong, wrong.
Let me tell you the primary reason I seem to do a lot more than typical: I have cut out much of the typical “time wasters” that are common today. I have my lazy days, that’s for sure. Once in a while I feel really tired and just hit the proverbial wall. Occasionally I get a butt-kickin’ headache that ruins an entire day. Once in a great while, I get a case of the procrastinate-itis.
For the most part though, I don’t waste time. I have something to read and study at almost every point of my day. While driving, my wife and I often discuss ideas, or I’m making recorded notes into my iPhone. Often, even if I’m watching TV (a rare occasion), I’m still reading or working on something. (You’ll find TV has less and less appeal when you fill your time with things that really matter)
Do You Work All the Time and Cut Out Fun?
“That’s all you do is work then!” Nope. When I spend time with my wife or kids, I don’t work: I spend time with them. We don’t lull away the hours in front of the one-eyed-brain-killer (that’s the TV for those of you who have spent to much time in front of it). My wife and I go on dates, and prefer bookstores and coffee to movies. I play tennis, ride bikes and make time for serving others all of which is time well spent, not wasted.
Let me clarify one thing before we go on: I’m not talking about this kind of hyper-super-productivity where you try to squeeze every ounce of effort from every minute of every. You should maximize productivity during the time you choose for work but primarily this post is about cutting out or cutting back on those habitual things that really are a long term waste of your life-time.
When I hear someone say “I just don’t have time to… [choose one: start a business, write a blog, read my Bible, spend time with my family, help others...]“, a little further investigation reveals the same thing 99.9% of the time: if you look at their schedule, you’ll find they actually have plenty of wasted time then claim “not enough time” for their un-achieved goals.
Passive Electronic Stimulation
The major culprit today is PES (Passive Electronic Stimulation). I’m not sure PES is a real term; if not, I just made it up because I don’t want to type it over and over. What is PES?
- Television and movies
- Electronic games
- Instant messaging
- Social internet sites
- Internet news sites
- Internet pornography, gossip, scandal or Hollywood voyeurism
You can pretty much sum up wasted time in two words today: Television and Internet.
It is the rare person who doesn’t spend an hour or two or more A DAY watching electronic entertainment in some form or another; “surfs” the Internet, or engages in something casual and non-productive on the computer. That’s the “productive” people! Typical unproductive people spend 4-10 hours or more A DAY in these activities. UNREAL!
It’s Your Time, Spend It However You Choose
IT’S YOUR TIME. Spend it how you want but don’t whine “I don’t have enough time” when your financial, spiritual and personal goals lay neglected. Just say, “I choose to spend my time turning my brain to unproductive mush with passive electronic stimulation instead of doing worthwhile things for me and my family”. At least have the guts and self respect to admit it is your choice. It’s YOUR life. Spend your time doing what YOU want – just have the courage to be truthful about it.
Look at the truth about what is really being said here (are you saying these things?):
- I don’t have the time for [insert worthwhile goal] because there is 20 hours a week of football and golf that must be watched.
- I don’t have time to [insert worthwhile goal] because I have to spend 2-4 hours a day checking email, instant messaging and keeping up on Facebook and Twitter.
- I don’t have time to [insert worthwhile goal] because I stay up until almost midnight every night watching movies, the news, talk shows and late night garbage.
From my experience, I would take an educated guess that even disciplined people probably waste 1-3 hours a day on PES; the average person wastes 3-6 hours a day; and an alarming and growing number of people waste 5-10 hours every single day on passive electronic stimulation.
Consider what PES is doing to your brain: loss of cognitive skills, inability to think abstractly, the weakening of personal and professional communication… and probably all sorts of other fancy $12 phrases that I don’t even know about. Ask any business owner who must deal with the task of finding people who can actually write and communicate well if he thinks these skills are scarce today.
I’m not a fancy doctor, researcher or scientist… but my experience, gut and instinct tell me that PES is the primary culprit in the dramatic loss of communication skills and critical thinking in America. Of course the experience, guts and instincts of a reasonably bright monkey could easily surmise the same thing, so I probably won’t win a Nobel.
I wrote all this to have you think honestly about PES in your life. Sit down privately and take a brutally honest look at how much time you spend on these activities. Don’t justify or defend. Don’t make excuses. Be honest.
After you evaluate it, think about what you could accomplish using that PES time to pursue personal growth, financial peace or spiritual fulfillment. In the end, if you simply WANT to invest that much time in PES that’s your right but don’t bemoan some false lack of time when the important things never get done. Don’t look at parts of your life that need improvement and deceive yourself by saying “I just don’t have the time or I would”.
Oh, by the way… reading my blog does not count towards PES.
Will of God