Getting the best value for your minutes
A few years ago I had moment of realisation when I read somewhere that there are just 1,440 minutes in a day. For some reason this set of an alarm off in my head and I started doing the sums. First of all I sleep around 7 hours a night which is 420 minutes, but for the sake of mathematics let’s say that I sleep 440 minutes a day. This leaves 1,000 minutes in my day, and I started to think about how I used them. I began seeing them as currency that you cannot save up and must spent at pace. I realised that the only control I had over my newly discovered currency was what I spent it on, and how get the best value for them. There is of course expenditure that cannot be avoided. For example, it is vital that I work in order to provide for my family. However, whilst at the moment I cannot choose whether to spend my time working or not, I can choose the type of work I do, and where I work.
What should you spend your minutes on?
I really cannot answer this for anyone, the value of how time is spent very personal. However I am happy to share how I try to spend my minutes.
Family & friends
It is vital for me to spend with my family when I can. I spend a large amount of time away from them during my working day so when I am around them I value this time above everything else. When I am presented with the option I choose to spend my minutes in this area of my life.
My career is important to me and over the years I have had fantastic opportunity to work with some truly remarkable individuals. I also like to think I have had a positive influence on some people along the way. I have also learned a lot about myself too. Therefore, when working I am constantly asking myself whether I am getting value for my time? Am I developing and intellectually stimulated? If the answer is no then it is time to move on.
Taking a reflective view made me realise that I get the most intellectual and emotional stimulation in helping others cope and manage change. Especially over short periods if time, and this led to a career change. I now spend my working time as a contractor and mentor to others. Not only do I find this more rewarding I also feel that I am getting more personal development as a result. So I feel that I am getting more value for my minutes.
Rest and relaxation
Staying healthy is vital, and ensuring that you get enough down-time to recharge is vital. Being sick is the worst use of time I could imagine. When I am in bed and unable to do anything I am getting zero value (other than getting better of course). We all get sick from time to time, but staying healthy will help limit the need to spend minutes being bed ridden.
Otherwise wasted minutes – The commute
I spend an average of 144 minutes commuting by train to my office each day. Whilst I am sure that not everyone will agree, I find this time extremely valuable. It is an excellent opportunity to learn and for self-development. On my journey I regularly use the Salefsorce trailhead platform to improve my skills in this area, I have been learning to build websites and have been writing various blogs (including this one).
This doesn’t mean that reading a book or watching a Netflix show or film is wasted time. If you get enough value from these activities then it is a good use of your time. It really is an individual decision.
It is a personal thing
I have my own personal likes, dislikes, drivers and goals. This article is meant to highlight the value of time and not how you would get value from it on an individual level. My point is simply that it is important to question what value you get out of your time. Personally if I am watching a terrible movie that is 100 minutes, I will question whether it is worth 10% of my day, and whether there is something else more valuable I could be doing. You on the other-hand may enjoy the same movie, in which case it’s totally worth finishing!