What are you waiting for?
For one minute, just watch the second hand of a clock. Tick, tock, tick tock.
See it move, one second at a time. Sixty times, until an entire minute is spent.
Now, ask yourself:
What else could I have done with that minute?
Why am I wasting my time staring at a clock?
Time is sort of like a currency.
The quality of energy we put into every individual second gets exchanged for an emotion.
When I use my seconds wisely, that effort is converted to satisfaction, joy, anticipation, excitement, contentment, equanimity, or gratitude (to name a few).
But too many wasted seconds brings about boredom, despair, loneliness, stagnation, and a sense that I’m irrelevant.
But what is a wasted second?
What’s the difference between a wasted second and a well-utilized one?
I can’t tell you.
It’s more or less subjective.
Plus, sometimes I waste my time doing what other times would be healthy for me.
Sometimes, hanging out by myself and binge-watching shows on Netflix is just what I need in that moment.
But if I do that too much, or do so when I feel a desire in my heart to be productive in some other way, my mind becomes blurry and I start to lose momentum towards my goals.
I tend to overdo things, at least historically. So, it’s wise for me to be careful when indulging in entertainment. Just like with everything, overindulgence defeats the purpose.
Some people I know, have impressively organized lives. They’ll only watch TV for an hour on Saturday night and that’s it for the week.
Give me a decade, and maybe I’ll be there.
Or five years.
Or a month.
Maybe even a day.
Probably more like five years.
I see the utility in that kind of discipline.
It’s easy for people to say, “Sometimes, people just need to veg out and be lazy.”
Which is OK or not, depending on the kind of life you want to invent.
Sometimes, I get a lot done in between periods of being lazy.
And I think, “If I am this productive with mediocre habits, what could I accomplish if my habits were stellar?”
What I have found is that my periods of being prolific while also being lazy only last so long.
Eventually, one of those qualities (the laziness or the productivity) overpowers the other.
And let’s be honest. It’s usually the laziness.
Balance gets skewered. I gradually do less and less until I’m doing just about nothing.
Then, I fight myself to switch back to productivity. But after letting the laziness out of its cage, it does not want to go back in.
So we wrestle a while.
Until finally, I lock it back up again. And pour myself into better habits.
But the laziness. It’s like a dog crying from a kennel.
Sometimes, I let it out just because its whimpers are annoying.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
All while the clock keeps on tick, tick, ticking…
James Altucher inspired me with what he has written about improving just 1% every day.
Can we apply this to time?
Well, there are 86400 seconds in a day.
1% of 86400 is 864.
Tomorrow, what if you spent just 864 seconds working towards your dreams?
That’s about fifteen minutes or so.
Then add fifteen minutes the next day and so on.
I guess you’d need a cap, where you stop adding fifteen minutes at some point.
You have to sleep sometime.
Or do you?
Well, yeah, you do.
But when you dedicate your life to working towards your dreams, your brain keeps doing it when you sleep. You dream up new ideas, and wake up excited.
So really, sleep does not have to get in the way of this whole productivity thing.
And neither does Netflix, if you’re creative.
Can you apply inspirations from your favorite shows to your life goals?
At very least, you can do some simple exercises while watching your shows.
Stretch yourself out. Do some yoga. Jog in place. Work on those abs. Whatever appeals to you.
Or not. Just sit there. Whatever works for you.
As long as you are happy and fulfilled living your life.
Or content being unhappy and unfulfilled, I guess.
Whatever floats your boat.
I know there are some people out there, who make just about every second matter.
The evidence of this is what they accomplish.
Even when they rest, they do so in a way that keeps their lives moving forward.
That is the kind of person I want to be.
One second at a time.
Because this life thing we’re all living.
What’s the point of it, if we do not make our time count?
Of course, technically, time is an illusion.
But that’s a whole other can of worms…
Also published on Medium.