How You Spend Your Time Matters

It determines where you spend your energy

Shailaja V
May 16 · 3 min read
Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

I recently finished reading the book Indistractable by Nir Eyal and if I were to show you the highlights and the notes I’ve been making, you’d tell me “Just highlight the whole book, why don’t you?”

But this one paragraph from the book is worth sharing and worth reminding ourselves of:

By aligning our behaviours to our identity, we make choices based on who we believe we are. By thinking of yourself as indistractable, you empower yourself through your new identity.

-Nir Eyal

Our Energy is a Resource

Why do we tend to squander both time and energy? It’s because they are both intangible.

If someone were to ask us to conserve water or money, we’re able to understand that in practice, because we can see what happens when either of those things is wasted.

Energy and time though? Those are invisible. But they are so much more valuable. Think about it.

When you wake up after 8 hours of a rested night’s sleep, you have at least 10 to 12 hours ahead of you to spend any way you wish. How many of those hours are spent looking at your phone, following memes on social media or going down the YouTube rabbit hole?

The more energy you expend looking at other people’s lives, the lesser energy you have in reserve to invest in your own life.

Reframe energy and time as resources with a quantifiable quota each day. Then, observe how you feel at the end of a day filled with creative pursuits vs a day filled with lounging on the couch and scrolling through your phone.

The Power of Observation

Coincidentally, I started following another practice at the same time as starting Eyal’s book. It’s a technique recommended by David R Hawkins in The Map of Consciousness Explained and it’s a way to get rid of any unwanted habit. And it takes zero willpower, moralizing, guilt, or motivation.

All you need are three things:

1. An intention

2. A calendar

3. Two minutes a day

For example, let’s say you want to stop looking at your phone so much during the day. Start with that intention but don’t force yourself to stop looking at the phone. Instead, here’s what you do. Start observing. At the end of each day, on your calendar, just record how many minutes/hours you looked at the phone. That’s it. Just an observation.

For example, a record could look this way:

Day 1: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Day 2: 3 hours and 5 minutes

Day 3: 6 hours

Day 4: 1 hour and 3 minutes

In other words, you aren’t telling yourself you can’t look at the phone; you’re just recording the habit. As you keep doing this, you’d notice that your habit slowly transitions from frequently picking up your phone to the identity of the person who does not pick up the phone.

And as you continue this observation, you’d see that ever so slowly, the bad habit stops happening. For example, two weeks ago, I finally examined why I was on different social media channels apart from work/my business. If the answer was not satisfactory, I just shut the browser and walked away.

Meaning, I am trying to build the identity of the person who does not waste time online. If I am online, it should be with the intention to serve my audience and connect with people in the same mindset. Anything else is frivolous.

Image created by the author using Canva

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