If one assumes to have spent, on average, 4 hours a day on mindless, undirected leisure, in 20 years that's 29200 hours or 3.33 years. If we assume only to have been awake for 16 hours each day for the duration, the time usage stretches to just over 5 years of that 20 year period. That's a quarter of a 20 year life frittered away on mindless leisure.
If this year, one spent just 2 hours each day on mindless, undirected leisure, the opportunity cost was a potentially creative, social or skill developing allowance of 730 hours, about 30.42 full days - 46.09 days of pure wakeful living time. A full month of one's year can be eaten just looking for and watching one full length film each night on Netflix.
Like most of us, I can pay testimony to the fact that people need leisure time. After a long day of work everyone deserves to enjoy themselves and do what they like. The question is, how are we spending our leisure time?
Are we investing our time in those things that make us truly happy and fulfilled or are we impulse buying and habituating our recreation time and settling for empty, unsatisfying, convenience store brain numbing?
There are two main kinds of leisure: active and passive. Just making a conscious decision to invest more of our time in active leisure (something we're participating in) versus passive leisure (something we're mostly idle for) can make a world of difference in the quality of and attitude we have towards life.
It's no one's place to tell another person what is or is not time well spent in life. What is important though is that we are willing to evaluate our own time usage a little bit critically and see if there's anything we're spending significant portions of our lives doing that we don't actually want to do, anything we don't actually enjoy or benefit from.
There are so many cooler ways to spend our time than to always be sitting watching television. Instead of watching life stories we could be living our own life's adventures. Feel free to check out this list of 100 cheap hobbies. Who knows, some of your most favorite activities could be things you've never even thought about trying yet.
In the modern day, everyone is constantly barraged with distraction. Whether the advertisements we casually glance at walking down the street or the onslaught of click bait ads and online postings, everybody wants your attention, big business even pays for it.
Millions of dollars each year are spent on marketing execs trying to figure out how to capture your attention and how to keep it long enough and in the exact right handling in order to sell you products. So in all this constant tug-of-war, what's a person to do in order to keep their attention for their own purposes and not entirely waste it for the means of all the other people vying to benefit from it?
One option of countering this trend is minimalism. Living simply with the less stuff in order to make the most of each of those selected things we do keep in our lives. We can counteract our fickle minds by deeply planting ourselves within specific realms of interest. Shallow distractions pale once we have created depthier contrasts.
The beauty of minimalism is that with this attitude, every moment becomes a blank canvas full of potential for recreating one's life with potency and focus. The less quantity we subscribe to the more depth we're able to dedicate to any one avenue. We essentially regain control of our attention and become free to dedicate it only to the things we ourselves find valuable.
In my own life I can honestly say that my lack of focus has long detrimented the gains I've made in my pursuits. Popular opinion today points to the existence of a hypothetical 10,000 hour rule in order to attain mastery, obviously with somewhat deliberate practice. The failure then of many people is their inability to decide on what's not important and fully dedicate themselves to only one or a few very important pursuits at once in order to attain real and substantial results.
"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker
There is so much power in this quote. If you've never tracked yourself, you don't even know how much power there is in tracking. I couldn't even explain it adequately. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating. The simple act of paying attention to something will cause you to make connections you never did before, and you'll improve the those areas - almost without any extra effort.
I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.
Before I go any further, I need to give you one piece of advice - start small and build up, so you don't overwhelm yourself. This is just being pragmatic. You want to scale up gradually, as I wrote up in "The Evolution of My Time/Habit/Life Tracking." You want to build small wins, lock them so they become automatic, and then expand.
I'd have a hard time convincing you of the power of tracking, so I'll just show you. I fill this out every single day.