Our Other Time Debts

In preparation for what I will call a “mini-manifesto” post soon, I came upon the idea of time. Thousands upon thousands of new texts flood the market everyday which tell us how to become our own boss, live our passion, and utilize our time on this earth. I have yet to come across any viable way of doing so, but I have given it much thought and some action. I am currently almost finished reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (100startup.com). The book is an excellent read, if only for inspiration(for blog posts of course!). It goes into a bit of detail of business related topics of which I have little to no expertise, but the book as a whole has opened my eyes.

While this post is not meant to be a book review, I wanted to throw out a topic that has concerned me recently: time. Of course, anyone with full time knows how “time debt” works. 40 hour weeks plus overtime, right? Wrong. Though I am not a “full time” worker, though between my three jobs this summer I pulled closer to 50, I do know a thing or two about how a workplace goes, and I can’t say I enjoy it very much, which is why I gave Chris’s book a read.

However, I started to notice how time works. Of course, giving up 40 hours or more a week is a hurt, especially if your passion in life is anything other than a cubicle or a grocery store; however, I found that there is much more time involved than 40 hours in our “work week.” This unforeseen time difference adds up to much, which makes us more time crunched and stressed. Here are a few eye openers to make you rethink your current job, realize how much time you actually do spend doing what you do, and help you change it.

  1. Work preparation. The first major time commitment we noticed was what we will refer to as work preparation. This time varies by the individual, but it all adds up the same regardless. So what do we mean by this? Basically we mean how much time it takes you to get ready to go to work or whatever it is you do. Thinking critically, if it takes an hour more per day to “get ready” just to go to work, are you actually getting paid for that hour? Chances are that you’re not. So that’s an hour more a day for a whole week or roughly 5-7 hours a week. Isn’t that supposed to be overtime pay? Most likely, your morning or pre-work routine is not very productive either. If it is anything like mine, you cram in posts, cram in nasty foods, throw on clothes, shower, and whatever else it is you do is a rushing mess just to “get ready.” I have found this very problematic. To solve this pre-work rush, I have done two things: reduce work and reduce work. Yes, I said reduce work twice. First, reduce the amount of times you have to go to work; yes that means work less and have more time to do what you want, which then means less time “preparing” and wasting an additional hour. Secondly, reduce work meaning the time it takes you to prepare. Instead of stressing about what color tie to wear, why not take a walk before work or drink some coffee and meditate or read a book. Useful use of your minutes will help you squeeze in more “you” time, even if you have to do it before someone else’s time clock.
  2. Work commute. How many readers commute to work by some form of alternative or less-wasteful means? Do you ride a bike or moped? If not, consider it! I commute to work 90% of the time by either of those two methods now, and I don’t even live in a very “bike-friendly” community. But, wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us to take less time preparing for work? Yes, I did, and you may be thinking that I contradict myself a bit, which could be true. However, if you bike to work, you may take 5 extra minutes, but that will be 5 more minutes of movement you’ve gained for the day. 5 minutes worth of calories burned? I think its worth it. Or 5 times less gas burned? Still worth it. Work commuting may not be as easy to eliminate the amount of time, but you can get more out of your time these ways.
  3. Downtime. Lunch break, anyone? Downtime at work is a crucial ingredient to helping us manage our time. Whether it be jotting down a few words to a poem that you will write later on a napkin, or sending that extra email, or even just taking the stairs, all of our actions add up. Even if you are at a job that you despise going to, you can still make a conscious effort to make the best of the time that you are there. Use these opportunities to gain as much as you can, even if you are hating it.

When we begin to notice that our time is limited, this is when we will use it most efficiently. So if you are like us, and have a time crunch and time commitments that you despise, change your life by changing your actions and you will notice how you will use your time more wisely to benefit your life. With this first step, you will begin to control your life, which will most likely lead to a freeing some day in which you will no longer have to go to this job or place you hate. Stick to the path and success and joy will follow.

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Filed under Environment, Mental, Physical, Spiritual

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