The Art of Mastering Time

Are we really aware of how we spend our time?  This week I have spent most of my time in bed having fever. Bored to death and eager to just get out of bed I started thinking about how much time in life we spend doing things we don’t want to do.

As we grow older time becomes more precious to us. To put this in a personal perspective, I choose to believe that this has to do with the fact that every year I set higher goals for my self. I put more places on my travel list and I have more friends I want to visit and spend time with. This has absolutely nothing to do with my 30th birthday getting closer. Don’t you dare say so!

I remember when I was small and time was like a deceased snail. Travelling from spot A to Z took a lifetime and my existence was a constant longing for my birthday. Yes, and for Santa of course. Rude Santa came to visit us only once in a year. I believe I was not the only one feeling that way.

According to a calculation made by an american fellow (who was probably fed up with work) we spend 91,250 hours at work in a lifetime. This number will be more or less correct if we work an average of 40 hours per week during a career span of 44 years. That’s approximately 23 % of our lives, if overtime is not counted. How many of us really like what we do? 

According to Daily Mirror women spend 6 months in the washroom during a lifetime. Men spend more than three years. How come this much difference? Can somebody please tell me what are men are doing there for so long!?

We spend four and a half years eating, which means that we hardly spend more time consuming than getting rid of what we have consumed. How come? According to the same source, this has to do with our busy lifestyle. The quality time we spend by the table has diminished since many of us eat on the go. Is it really worth it stressing like this? And is it healthy?

We spend an average of 26 years in bed. I am talking about sleeping right now. All other things that people might do (or not do) in bed would increase the number with another 6 months. This is according to a study done by the bed makers Silentnight. This number seem depressingly low, considering us spending the same amount of time in the loo.

What about cooking then? Well, women spend three years slaving over a hot stove, as expressed by the oven firm Stoves. Men on the other side, put aside Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, prefer the microwave. British men spend one and a half years in the kitchen. It wasn’t me who said so;)

This guy is making the most out of his time. Stuck in one of the city’s most crowded traffic signals he doesn’t seem to bother much. He makes himself comfortable and puts on some music. 

To mention a few other activities, here is a list of things that we do: 

Queuing: 4 years

Phone:  Woman spend 5,5 years and men 4 years ( I guess you are not surprised woman spend more time on the phone)

Internet: Woman spend 4.5 years and men 6.

Driving: 3 years

Watching TV: Woman spend 13 years in front of the television compared to men who spend 10 years.

This study is made in England and obviously it will differ depending on where we live in the world. If I would give you a brief idea about how much time I spend doing these very same activities in India you would get shocked;)

I guess living in a busy metropolitan city like Mumbai has made me more aware of how I spend my time. At least I choose to believe so. I have learned a lot from my Indian “brothers and sisters”. Instead of grumbling when getting stuck in a traffic jam for 2 hours, I read. Instead of getting bored during a long journey, I sleep. Instead of sweating away in a long q at the train station, I sneak. I am not saying that the latter is something I have learned here, nor that that everyone does it.

We have 24 hours in our hands. Our present time and our future are determined by how we choose to spend them. Are we making the most out of our presence? Obviously we cannot stop going to the loo. Please don’t! We should also not cut down too much on the time we spend sleeping. But we could for instance do something about the roughly 90000 hours we spend at work (if we are not happy). We could also exchange social networking on the World Wide Web with social networking in “real life”? In general we should think about how we spend our time more carefully and what really matters to us.

Time management is an art that few of us master. I am myself far from perfect. I am still searching for the key to that “perfect” life. The perfect life to me would be a life where I am professionally complete and when at same time I feel that I get enough time to spend with my dear ones.  The hardest thing to master though, is to live in the moment. Don’t you agree that we spend most of our time planning for and thinking about the future?  I mean to say that we most of the time plan for something that has not yet happened. What if that moment never comes? What if we wake up one day and realise that we spend all those years planning for something that never happened. Do I just sound depressed right now or is there some kind of truth in this? That’s up to you to decide.

My friend just told me a very true thing. “There is a reason behind Carpe diem being such a famous saying”. Hold on to that thought!

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