My oldest daughter launched a criticism at me several months ago that I could not argue with. She said, "Daddy, why do you watch all of those political shows? They all say the same things over and over again." I went into a long speech on the importance of being informed as she rolled her eyes and chuckled. We both knew I was full of it. The truth is I enjoy these shows as a form of entertainment. Then, I calculated the amount of time I could get back buy cutting out some of this noise. Success is not about having time, but about making time.
I went a bit nuts with this and eliminated most of my television watching. I even cancelled cable recently. Bet my daughter wished she had kept her opinion to herself. Consider the following calculation:
1. Recovering 3 hours per day = 21 hours per week.
2. This equals 84 hours per month.
3. This amounts to a whopping 1008 hours or 42 extra days per year!
Perhaps 3 hours is unreasonable for most, so let's reduce this to 1 hour per day. This is equivalent to 7 hours per week, which is slightly over 15 extra days per year.
How many ways could this extra time change your life? How many books could you write? How many subjects could you study?
Choose Your Poison
How many different ways can we find this additional hour? Take your pick.
· Eliminate 2 sitcoms
· Eliminate 1 prime time drama or one of those dreaded novellas.
· Eliminate 1 political talking head show (ouch!).
· Eliminate 1 soap opera. Do people still watch those?
You get the point. Any number of combinations exists for even the laziest among us.
Farmville or iBooks
I love the iPad for one main reason: eBooks. My 9 year old was amazed when we added up the number of books on my iPad - 167. Then, I showed him the highlights and annotations between my two reading apps, iBooks and Pdf Notes. "Wow! You can write notes in the books too?!"
What if more adults got this excited about this type of technology?
These devices help give us access to more information than at any other time in human history. Unfortunately, they are also one of the biggest time killers. Now, I am not about all work and not play. Just ask my friends and family about my Fight Night obsession. But how many hours of Farmville do you need!
How to Reach the Top 10% of Your Field
Let us return to the 1 hour per day we liberated earlier in this piece. The average person can read a 300 page book with ease in 7 hours, which amounts to 4 books per month and 52 books per year. According to Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, anyone who reads 52 books a year in their field of study or work, will be in the top 10% of the field.
What about that new language you want to learn? Is 1 less hour of Farmville or television worth achieving this goal?
If you are like me and carry an iPad or some other kind of tablet everywhere you go, or even a smartphone, how much extra study or reading time can you get while waiting in the Doctor's office or the DMV? Still think you need to find time? There is no need to find something that is in plain view.
It's Not About Discipline
Does this approach require discipline? Some would say yes, but I disagree. It is a matter of deciding what is most important to you. If you cannot eliminate an hour of waste from your day to pursue something of more value, lack of time is not the problem. The only thing lacking is enough passion and desire to make a significant change in your life.
So, ask yourself a simple question. Would you rather watch people on television living out their dreams, or spend an extra hour a day pursuing your own?
Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.