A Perspective On Free Time

Lesson number: 

Over the last four years I have sliced and diced the topic of time management and presented my observations in several articles, polls and lessons. I cannot stress enough how valuable and precious our time is and have found yet another way to make my point. During our adult working life which we'll say consists of ages 22 through 66 or so, we would be considered fortunate if we had four hours of FREE TIME per weekday to divide up among our ongoing responsibilities; study; recreation and entertainment. That four hour figure is derived by a broad assumption that a typical worker leaves their house early in the morning and has no free time before work. And returns home around 6:00pm; prepares for and eats dinner until 7:00pm and retires to sleep around 11:00pm. Thus, leaving between 7:00pm and 11:00pm designated as free time. For this exercise, we will leave out the weekends, since they are usually full of chores; commitments; family events; worship and of course some fun and entertainment sprinkled in here and there.

Over a period of a "typical" Monday through Friday work week, four hours a night or twenty hours a week, puts into perspective, how little free-time we really have to invest in anything worthwhile. Now I realize that many individuals work shifts and begin and end their workdays at different times. And many individuals travel far to work and may yield even less than four hours free-time per weeknight. However the point I am trying to drive home is how little FREE TIME we really have to learn; grow; and enjoy life to the fullest.

During my own career, having four hours of free time nightly was a generous assumption, since I conducted meetings and seminars for my clients and employees during many weeknight slots. And I'm sure that many of my viewers had far fewer than 20 hours of free time as well, during the course of their careers. During that 22 to 66 age span, it often appears that we live to work rather than work to live. Our needs always tend to overshadow our means and that just leads to working longer hours at our jobs or businesses.

Now assuming that the four hour figure is somewhere in the ballpark of reality, can you really put a price on what your precious four hours are worth to you each night? Are those four hours worth a hundred, five hundred or maybe a thousand dollars to you? After all, once they are gone you can't relive those hours and it seems as though they should be utilized for something really special to you. Perhaps some of those precious hours should be invested in exercise or activities that promote your health? Or maybe invest some of those precious hours to increase your knowledge and skill levels? Or invest more time with your spouse, children, or parents, to enhance your relationships and the well being of those you care about most. I think most will agree that there's never a shortage of worthy causes that are crying out for your precious time and attention.

The one activity you don't want to "SPEND" all of your free time on is watching TV and then falling asleep in front of it. This is the activity of choice for too many individuals, who just don't realize the negative significance of performing this activity night after night for a 44 year span. I do realize that work tires us all out. However, it is too critical not to recognize the importance of making an error in judgment almost daily, over a 44 year time span. The routine of getting up early and hitting the road to work; coming home - eating dinner and watching TV until you fall asleep in front of it – can't be the reason for our existence. There has to be more to life than falling prey to this routine. For anyone following this path, it's time to take notice and make some changes right now!

I believe that the habits and routines you develop over time will make or break your lifestyle. Form poor habits and routines and be prepared for poor results in the health; wealth; and happiness column. Pursue better activities and adjust those poor habits and routines into good or great habits and you will enjoy watching your lifestyle improve right before your eyes. It takes an open mind to seek out and discover what activities, habits and routines can be better for you; make changes immediately; and stay the course until you find even better activities to pursue.

We all have to make the critical choices of how to best utilize those four precious hours each weeknight. Viewing these 20 critical hours in a new light, is just one more way to view our precious time, as we come to grips with the fact that time slips away quickly, one night at a time. This important realization is critical, if you ever hope to make positive changes in your nightly habits and routines. It's always better if you can make these changes and develop better habits and routines earlier in life than later. However, it's never too late to improve your life!

Whatever your age and whatever stage you are in your career or family life, take an inventory NOW and make the best of those 20 hours of precious free-time. In doing so, you might change the course of your life forever!