Forty Hours

A letter to everyone living in abundance

Dear Reader,

I briefly touched on this point on my last article, but I think it’s such an important concept I decided to come back to it again. It’s the idea that, after subtracting work, commute, looking after yourself and accounting for 20% unexpected time wasters — you’re left with forty hours of time to spend how you choose.

The reason I want to elaborate on this point is because growing up in an area filled with successful people of this century I’ve noticed a trend; the need to say ‘Busy.’

Let’s talk about busy.

Because I want to know why every 20, 30, 40 year old likes to reply to the question “How’s your day been?” with “Oh, very busy” at five in the afternoon.

…. Really?

When you go home, what is it that you do? You know, at five or six in the afternoon. You won’t be asleep for the next 4 or 5 hours. So what are you doing, exactly? Watching some Netflix, texting your mates, reading pointless news articles, playing some video games. Maybe some stuff around the house.

Okay, sure. So what about that makes you busy?

So maybe you mean you had a full day at work. Meeting after meeting, email after email. Good, that’s how its suppose to be. You’re getting paid for that after all.

But naturally, after all of this strenuous keyboard clicking and coffee-room talk, you need to relax and unwind, to recharge for another day.

Okay, sure. And you know what, if you’re happy with your current situation, perfect! But the moment you start complaining about not having enough time or money, you start to run into a wall. Don’t worry though — it’s not your fault entirely. The internet and the wider body of digital consumption is designed to tailor towards our goldfish-length attention spans and cravings for immediate releases of the happy chemicals. We weren’t exactly tuned to love ‘working’ 14hrs a day (and what constitutes this concept of working itself is another discussion entirely).

So don’t think I’m having a personal dig at you. I would just like you to step back and have a look at how you’re spending this time. A good way to gauge this is with an iOS app called Moment that shows you how much time you spend on your smartphone. Loosely speaking, if you’re spending more then an hour on it a day you’re probably wasting your time.

However, let’s have a look real quick at two of my generations favourite time sinks; TV and video games.

  • If you watch 1 episode of TV a day at 50min, that’s 5.81 hours a week.
  • If you play video games for another 60min on top of that, you’re at 12.81 hours a week.

In other words, of the 40 hours you’re given a week to spend how you wish, you’re using up thirty-two fucking percent. And those are some fairly conservative numbers for people my age.

So I’d just like to conclude this letter to you by saying:

Are you really busy — or do you just say it to seem important?

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