The Coolest New Thing I’ve Learned…

I spent last weekend in Vegas at a Marshall Sylver seminar. For those of you who haven’t heard of Marshall, he’s one of the smartest, most entertaining speakers I’ve ever heard.

Anyway, one of his guest speakers, Chuc Barnes was speaking on Priority Management. (Great Presentation by the way…)

There was the usual Franklin-Covey type stuff, which is always helpful. (I like Chuc’s system better.) But the biggest take-away was Chuc’s view on time.

What is Time?

Many of us have been conditioned to think that Time is Money.

I guess it can be. But it’s more than that – much more.

Chuc’s definition hit me right on the forehead it was that profound to me. It may be to you as well.

Time Is LIFE.

Yeah, profound.

So I’ve been thinking lately, “Have I really been living?” Am I doing and being everything that I want to be? Because if time is life, then how much am I really living? How much time am I wasting, throwing away, or killing?

Here are some interesting facts about Time:

  • The average American spends four hours a day watching TV. Doing the math, that’s 28 hours of wasted life per week. That’s 1456 hours per year. Or approximately 61 days – 2 months out of every year.
  • The average person spends 35 minutes per day commuting. That’s an average of 3 hours per week. 13 hours per month. 156 hours per year. So the average person wastes almost a full week per year (6.5 days) commuting.
  • The average professional spends 2 hours per day processing email. That’s 14 hours per week. Or 56 hours per month and 672 hours per year. That’s 28 days or almost 1 full month wasted on email.

Of course, there are lots of other time wasters too. This is just the short list that seems to affect most of us.

This concept, this new definition of time has really lit a fire under my butt this week. Since I’ve been home I’ve been so much more focused than in the past and I feel, well, a little more at peace knowing that I’m actually living this week.

It’s true that I am always “chasing strength,” but it’s always different types of strength. And if strength is “the ability to overcome,” than I am overcoming old and bad habits and replacing them with good and more productive ones. Much of that is do to my new view of time.

What’s your view of time and how is it affecting your life?

18 comments… add one
  • Ken Whidden Jan 30, 2010 @ 21:17

    ”Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it and spend it rather than invest it.” Jim Rohn

    Ken Whidden, DC
    Emerald Coast Chiropractic

  • Chad Jan 30, 2010 @ 21:23

    My time is valuable to me. I spend it at work and training. Off work, the other 8 hours, I try to use my time wisely. I use it to better myself. Yes I check my email and my Facebook. Sometimes that is actually productive (swapping training info, catching up with old teammates, etc). I also like to set aside some of that time for learning, by reading books that will help me gain knowledge (not just pleasure reading) and in those other 8 are my training of myself and others. Any free time I have I like to spend it with family and friends to just enjoy them and some peace. I digress, time is valuable. It is not limitless and we should all use it wisely.
    Thanks Geoff,
    Chad

  • Matt Wichlinski Jan 30, 2010 @ 21:29

    The more connected to the iron I become, the more connected I find myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically to my life, business, family & friendships. I believe strength is found in many ways. As I have been cleaning out the clutter in my life, I have found a lot more time to focus on the things that are really important to me. I urge everyone to eliminate the unnecessary and unimportant things in life, and focus your time on the things that really matter to you. Write those things down, in any order. Then list which things are most important and allocate your time accordingly. If you are spending your time doing things that do not correlate to your goals, eliminate them. Anything that we lose, we can make it back, except life and time. These are the most important things we have, make the most of them.

  • Philippe Jan 30, 2010 @ 21:39

    My view of time these days that it is either wasted or invested.
    Invested in my training, my marketing, resourcing etc so I don’t have to be setback by time when I need to get a’movin’!
    And, btw, multitasking doesn’t exist. It means you do many things not thoroughly… So, time means focus too, to me.

  • Duane Jan 30, 2010 @ 22:06

    I agree with investment/not/level of intensity around time use. However, on one hand, I disagree. And the reason I say that is that I spent 25 years in high volume, casual upscale quality. Many times I have a saute pan in one hand, tossing ingredients–and another hand stirring a sauce–or stirring and mixing ingredients into three soups at once–while waiting for a banquet execution to occur! According to longtime feedback from a large variety of guests, we did good!
    Having said all that, yes, definitely, higher complexity and/or time pressure reduces that multitaxing opportunity. Once again, it isn’t “either/or” but “both/and.”
    (see Zen stuff for that)

  • Kevin Greene Jan 30, 2010 @ 22:06

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

    If time is life, than what I want out off life should determine what I do with my time.

    I want to help the people in Haiti. I want to help shift our business world and our governments toward being sustainable – truly helping people and truly helping our environment. I want to be strong, healthy and injury free. I want to have strong friendships. I want to find a partner who will join me in this adventure we call life.

    So, the question is, am I spending my time doing activities that will create what I want out of life?

    If I am not, I will never get what I want and will live a life full of disappointment.

    If I do, my life will have meaning and purpose.

    You mentioned Franklin/Covey in your post.

    I am studying for an MBA in Sustainable Management.

    One of the books I was assigned to read is The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey.

    Like your, I had an epiphany while reading your post and applying this book to what you were saying.

    Stephen M. R. Covey explains how being trustworthy and trusting others creates functional relationships in all parts of our lives – friends, lovers, work…and makes things go faster. When people trust each other things will get done faster.

    So, creating trust means wasting less time and creating more life.

    Trust can give us the time to really live and be more effective and help more people while we are alive.

    The converse is also true. A lack of trust wastes time, makes us less effective and we end up helping less.

    I highly recommend this book!!!

    It is full of example from business and from personal relationships.

    It will change your life, trust me!!!

    Kevin Greene
    Davis, CA, USA

  • helen Jan 30, 2010 @ 22:47

    Hey Geoff, ah, yes, useful tools, daytimers, self hypnosis.. fun to go to seminars and get psyched up isn’t it?
    Time for me is the universe’s synchronizing everything coming to me.
    I agree with Philippe, multitasking is just fragmenting.
    But Geoff, i like watching tv.. the nature programs, the science, the photography, the mysteries, the adventures, the gardening, the cooking etc etc. I like communicating with people by email, it’s so fun not to have to look for stamps and envelopes, just press end. And i love to commute.. when the insurance lady says, ‘driving for business or pleasure?” i reply “it’s always a pleasure.” So time (and life) for me is more like Richard Bandler’s comment “how much fun can i have?”
    cheers 🙂

  • Phil Gadon Jan 30, 2010 @ 22:48

    Geoff,

    I agree time is life. The greatest time waster is fear…BAR NONE!!!!

  • Jeff BD Jan 30, 2010 @ 23:17

    Hi Geoff,

    We have a limited time on this earth. That fact was brought home to me when my wife of 19 years died suddenly (and for no apparent reason) in October. I have not watched any TV since then as I prefer to harvest whatever my mind puts forth in the silence. I have had a chance to invest some of that time in thought and in activities that enrich my childrens’ and my own life.

    The statistics you quoted are personally disturbing but understandable given that most people make assumptions about their lifespan and the time they have left on this earth. This is not stupidity or sloth, but human nature. People get what they need. For many, the TV fills a need. I can’t criticize seeking comfort. On the other hand, if you are aware that you are using the TV to avoid something critical…

    I train hard. I have meaningful interaction with my friends and patients. I teach what I know about fitness to willing students. I contribute to the welfare of my community. I have a new appreciation for time and the powerful good you can use it for in your life.

    Time is there and moving — regardless of what you do with it or how aware of it you are. You only control how you react to what the Universe throws at you. Discipline and an open mind are the things you need to develop. Time (the uncontrollable) then becomes irrelevant.

    Manage yourself. Let time do what it will.

    Onwards!

  • Betsy Collie Jan 31, 2010 @ 0:53

    Time is life! So don’t analyze it! My advice, don’t look for the end all be all. Don’t look for the extreme good or bad but be present in the moment you are in. For that is life, you are not always in control of it, which is a good thing sometimes. Life is precious, enjoy the ride because there are NO guarantees…. I disagree with Phillippe on multitasking… Ido it everyday as many do. And I am actually pretty good at it. Multitasking is for me a form of organization… Without it I could be lost and too focused on the wrong things and wind up accomplishing nothing or missing out on “life”. We are not all alike btw..everyone has their own strengths and habits that work for them…I agree with Helen about life… maybe it is not about multitasking as much as it is about enjoying or adapting to life’s situations…I have had some of life’s best experiences when it wasn’t about me or my plan of action…. Funny how life is that way…

  • Chuck Jan 31, 2010 @ 2:48

    Multitasking is a myth and self-deception, if you kid yourself that you’re doing 7 tasks at once and doing them all well. On the job, I used to juggle tasks out of necessity, but when I had to do something important that involved creative, analytical, or very organized thinking, there was no substitute for going where I wouldn’t be easily available and working steadily for an hour or three on one single item. Then, it was back to juggling those balls for the rest of the day (and maybe evening)!

    And “bravo!” to Helen for pointing out that there are activities that may not look productive to the less-imaginative observer, but the main Quality of Life issue is: are we enjoying our time living? Is it just busy-work that makes us feel virtuous and in control? Worse, does it grind us down?

    Covey and others may have some answers to making our work-life more effective and productive, but can’t address whether we’re enjoying the trip and our “real” lives. Work is what we must do *have* a life, but it is often our non-work activities that give our lives the greatest meaning and satisfaction.

  • Marcus Jan 31, 2010 @ 5:14

    35-40 minutes a day I do the commute. Always accompanied by some good audio book. Wasted time? I’m not sure. 40 minutes riding of bike is probably good for my heart, and I enjoy it. Plus I learn a lot of interesting things from them books in my ear.

  • John H. Shairs Jan 31, 2010 @ 8:47

    Time is as simple as you need it to be.
    All you have for a guarantee is today.
    No one is sure the sun will rise for us in the a.m.
    Tomorrow is a promisary note.
    Sooooooo,do not waste the day—start or end the day doing something good for yourself and another human being.
    Live one day at a time and –in the end—you have lived every day of your life.
    Strive to be happy.
    John

  • Russ Moon Jan 31, 2010 @ 14:51

    kettlebells have changed my perception of time….short grinds can seem like an eternity and longer sets can go by quickly…time is my life ticking down so I use it wisely, do the best with any given situation that I can and realize there are chinks in my armor that I need to shore up….if I videotaped my initial VO2 max efforts ….but I will persevere.

    I watch movies and some tv, I spend time on the web because it is my profession….but those kettlebells keep calling my name and it is fun to answer. Less tolerant of time wasters than I use to be.

  • liz Jan 31, 2010 @ 20:48

    There is a fabulous new book about this exact thing! It is called The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. check out http://www.other8hours.com

  • Alan Gesler Jan 31, 2010 @ 22:12

    Time is the distance, the empty space, between events. Our focus should be on events, not time.

  • Larry Feb 1, 2010 @ 14:08

    We’re not here for a long time – we’re here for a good time. Take the time to not be miserable. Take the time to not be grumpy. Take the time to not be negative. Take the time to be happy. Take the time to take care of yourself. Take the time to spend your life with people you appreciate and appreciate you (family and friends – it’s not where you are, it’s who you are with). He / she who dies with the most true friends – WINS !

  • Russ Moon Feb 6, 2010 @ 13:49

    Liz, I ordered The Other 8 Hours and just started, but it is awesome.
    Thank you

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