Recent statistics indicate that the average North American adult watches four hours of television each night. On top of this time, statistics show that home internet use is about an hour daily. This equates to 35 hours each week, which is an astonishly high number when compared to the average working week of between 37 and 44 hours. Even if you spend only two hours on TV and Internet daily, you still have consumed 14 hours of time, or two entire working days!
What if we could reduce the time we spent on these activities by one hour daily? Instead of five hours on TV and Internet, spend four. Instead of three hours, reduce it to two - and so on. By cutting one hour daily, we could recapture seven hours each week.
How could this time be used? The Personal Balance Sheet provides some clues:
Community: Volunteer at a local not-for-profit. Not only does this give back to the community, it gives you skills that increase your value in the workplace.
Family: Spend the extra time with your family, doing activities that they want to do. This is the "life" part of work-life balance.
Intellectual: When was the last time you read a challenging non-fiction book, or took a course that really got you thinking. The brain is a muscle that needs training every bit as much as the rest of your body.
Physical: Go for a jog, walk, or cycle in your neighbourhood. Early morning exercise invigorates you for the day; after-work exercise recharges you far more than sitting on a couch.
Spiritual: If you have questions that you would like answered, or were looking to get involved, there isn't much downside to a spiritual time investment.
Financial: Spend some of that extra time making sure that your money is working properly for you; review your investments, insurance needs, education and retirement planning. At the very least, pick up a book to learn the questions to ask.
Career: Consider how some of this time can be used to move your career forward at an even faster rate. Or, for those that typically work on the weekend, consider how your extra seven hours can be allocated within the week - then take the weekend off.
Timeshifting doesn't mean recording TV shows for later; it means trading activities that are time wasters for ones that move your career forward - and provide balance.
This week's action item: Make a list of 3-5 activities that have remained on your to-do list for some time; the list above might spur some additional items. Then commit to reducing your daily TV or Internet time by one hour. When you have the urge to flop in front of the TV or "Check your email" yet again, pick an activity from your list and start on that instead.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: September 26, 2006