Dr Terry Nguyen
Apr 29, 2018 · 3 min read

If you aren’t thinking about time this way then you are probably wasting it.

If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of – Bruce Lee

Have you ever sat down and considered how many days you will live in your life?

The average lifespan in years sits conservatively at about 75 years. It is not beyond me that more and more of us will live closer to 100 as we become healthier, however for argument sake we can think of 75 years as years where our quality of life is optimal enough for good function.

This works out to be;

900 months.

27,000 days.

If this number seems a bit low to you, consider the following:

If you are 20 years old, you would have lived 7,300 days already. Leaving you with 19,700 days left.

16,050 days left if you are 30.

12,400 days if left you are 40.

What about sleep? For simplicity, make that number 8 hours a day. So that’s about a third of of each day sleeping. That’s 9000 days in total that you are in a subconscious state.

13,000 awake days left if you are 20.

10,600 if you are 30.

8,184 if you are 40.

The purpose of this exercise is obvious. To realise our own mortality is to help us focus our energy on the time we have.

How much time are you wasting?

What activities are you wasting your time on?

This could be simple answers like Instagram or Facebook, Reddit, news. Let’s look into these sources a bit more.

How many times do you pick up your phone, whether that be for texting, checking social media, checking if you have any messages. For how long do you use your phone each time you pick up your phone? Obviously the answer is different for everyone, but consider the idea that for every distracted moment, it takes you at least 5 minutes to get back into the task you had originally set yourself to do. This accumulation of time quickly spirals out of control.

There are also deeper consequences of distracted thought in the studies of addiction. The moment a person distracts themselves with a comforting action, it is the mind trying to move avoid the “discomfort” of whatever the thought was. I urge you to watch yourself carefully the next time you pick up your phone. Sometimes you might pick up your phone when you are bored, but for other times it might be because you were thinking about the assignment you have to do, a painful interaction, a moment of embarrassment, or a difficult life issue.

Perhaps you would like to stop yourself from picking up your phone and instead be in intense focus with the thought that immediately preceded the moment. This is your body in physiological discomfort, resulting in your autopilot to switch on – short term pain avoidance being its main function.

We have finite willpower each day. The switching back and forth between autopilot and intense focus drains this willpower like starting and stopping in traffic. What is the difference of your energy level when you have driven 10km in traffic than when you have driven 20km on a highway. Also consider deeper sources of energy/time wasting such as;

Being upset in trivial matters that have no medium or long term benefit to you or the people around you, prolonged resentment at a particular person or part of your life. Consider the days that people you love and care for have left.

Be someone who carries weight and responsibility so that your inner gravity is that of a planet that keeps people grounded.

Do things with purpose. Take ownership of your time. Everything you do matters. Every success and every failure is a moment in your life that matters. There will be good and bad moments and the sooner you are resolved to this idea, the more time you will have to focus on matters of importance.

Tomorrow is not promised. Respect yourself enough to not waste your own time like you would not waste the time of someone you respect. Tell the people close to you that you love them. Do something that makes their day better than 10 days put together and save the time that they have lost themselves.

Dr Terry Nguyen

Medical Doctor Passionate about the mind, body and applying philosophy to appreciate the order in the inevitable chaos of life.

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