Learning to tell time

Learning to tell time

Humans suck at a lot of things, but time and maths are two of the most noticeable things that we suck at.

'How can you suck at time?' you might be asking. 'Easily,' I might answer.

I'm actually talking about the two things combined. It's really hard for us to visualise and understand the impact of the time we spend doing things.

Firstly I should start out by saying that I am biased here. I despise social media. Hate everything about it (he says as he posts this to Twitter), so I'll be writing this article with the premise that every second spent mindlessly browsing through social media is a second of your life wasted.

With that in mind, lets do some maths.

Let's say you spend thirty minutes every day on social media. Thirty minutes just flicking through pictures without actually engaging. Maybe you throw out a few likes here and there, but that's it.

Now lets say you did that every day for a year. Multiply 30 by 365 and you get 10,950 minutes spent browsing 'Insta', Twitter and Facebook over the course of a year. Divide that by 60 and you get 182.5 hours. Divide that by 24 and you're left with 7.5 days.

So just 30 minutes a day equates to over a week per year spent flicking through social media. One week straight, no sleeping, no eating just rubbing that screen with you finger constantly.

Over the course of ten years that would be around 76 days, or 10 weeks. This is 2.7 months spent mindlessly staring at social media posts in the space of a decade. Imagine spending 2.7 months consuming social media in one go.

30 minutes a day adds up, and in this case it adds up to nothing. After ten years you will have very little to show for that spent time. You likely won't even remember 99.9% of the content you saw. You might remember that one photo of a friend in her wedding dress, or their new born baby, but that it.

Now of course social media software is just a tool. A communications tool. It might bring real value to your life if used properly. Mindfully. For most, however, it is a way to pass time in the face of perceived boredom, and that is why it is a waste of time.

Using your time and mathematical powers for good

All is not lost however. What if we take that 30 minutes and do something productive with it? We could exercise, do yoga, meditate, learn a new skill, read a book, listen to a podcast, learn to play and instrument, learn math or a new language. Maybe learn to cook or how to create a website, learn to draw or how to program a computer. All things that you have something to show for all of the time invested.

If I said to you "Try limit your social media consumption to just 30 minutes a day" you might think to yourself "That's hardly any time at all!". My response to that? "Ha! Got you!". If 30 minutes is hardly any time at all then spending it exercising. Any form of exercise will do. It's just thirty minutes, and as we've established, that's hardly any time at all.

What ever productive thing you decide to do, if you plug away at it consistently for just 30 minutes a day you will make progress you never thought possible. After all that thirty minutes a day is a full weeks worth of work over the course of the year and nearly three months worth over ten years.

You can get a lot done in three months... If you find you like that productive thing you might even spend an hour at it, or more. Do the maths and figure how much time you are putting into it.

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