Time Is Precious — What Will You Do With The Time You Have?

It’s amazing how much we take time for granted.

In the UK, on average, a new born baby between 2013–2015 is expected to live for 80 years.

80 years…loads of time…right?

Well, when a good friend of mine pointed out this chart to me, it kinda’ put things into perspective.

This chart depicts your life in months but what it illustrates well is how sections of your life are mapped out already (if you let it).

  • Education = about 252 circles — approx 24% (based on if you go to Uni and graduate at 21)
  • Retirement = about 192 circles — approx 18% (based on average retirement age being 64)
Therefore, roughly 42% of your life is allocated to these key life stages alone, leaving 58% of the time you have to find that dream job.

Take time to find out what you love!

We all take time for granted, but we should remember that finding a career(s) best suited to our personality is far better than shaping ourselves to fit the career.

The idea is to love as many of those small circles (in the chart above) as possible and to waste as few as possible.

You do not need to race to get a “serious office job” on the premise that this is the only way towards “making a living”.

This mindset infects today’s society and large proportions of people are just going through the motions, living for the weekend. I’ve been there!

I believe most of us conform to this way of life because we’re worried about how people will use our job title as a way of judging how successful we are. It’s a nonsensical measurement but it can stop us being creative about our career choices as we worry what others will think if we do something less conventional.

We’ve all been there. At the family party or friendly get-togethers and you’re asked that inevitable question:

“So, what do you do for a living?”

Too much attention is spent on high paying roles because their outputs are what society signifies as “success”, such as on one’s ability to buy a big house or make enough money to buy all the other materialistic items I don’t need.

I’m reminded of a quote by James Lachard:

Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. — James J. Lachard

Everyone is different, everyone is unique in some way and everyone has different skill sets, so to assume that we all need to follow a predetermined “safe or well-acknowledged” career path is preposterous.

We will probably work until we’re 70, so we’d better make sure we enjoy whatever we do for a living. Alarmingly, over 35% of 18–35 year olds think they’re in the wrong job and 37% of all Brits think their jobs are meaningless

— Please, don’t be one of these statistics.

These traditional career paths are not the only way to make a “living” and they shouldn’t be the way we determine “success”.

So where does this leave you?


What would you like to do if money was no object?
Credit: Tragedy & Hope — Alan Watts: if money was no object

Hopefully, after reading this, you’ve at least asked yourself the question about whether you are happy with how things are right now, or whether you want to make a change somewhere in your life.

I’ve focused a lot around careers in this article, as they take up such a large proportion of our lives but perhaps it may be your personal life, rather than your work life, where you want to make changes.

If you are struggling for inspiration, I have a couple of suggestions.

The first. An online career assessment which is free to do called Sokanu. This test takes about 25 mins and interestingly I came out as a Web Developer, which is a pretty close match to the job I am in now. It is US based but gives you a nice steer!

Second. If you want something more around personal development. A previous colleague of mine gave me a very useful exercise which became really handy for me, particularly around self-improvement which I would strongly recommend using one.

It’s a self-development questionnaire, you will find many on the internet, but this one asks deeper questions about your personal behaviours that you may wish to improve (credit: Steven Aitchison).

The objective is to score yourself 1–10 on some core questions about yourself. From the resulting scores, you can think objectively about which areas you want to improve next. This really helped me get into a clear mindset and helped me understand where I should focus my energy next.

Have a go, let us know how you get on in the comments below.

“We can’t do much about the length of our lives, but we can do plenty about it’s width and depth.” — Evan Esar