Where Did My Time Go? How your time vanishes and how you can make more of it

How much is 1 minute worth to you? 

Probably not much. But 1 minute is actually a quite significant part of your day. If you sleep for 7 hours and 20 minutes, you have exactly 1,000 wakeful minutes each day to live your life. 10 minutes is actually 1% of your wakeful day. 

A day is just a tiny part of our entire lifespan. But if you perform the same 10-minute activity every day, you are actually spending 1% of your entire life on that activity. 

When an activity is done every day, don’t allow yourself to think: “Well, it is only 10 minutes. It is no biggie.” 

No, It is 1% of your life! And you have only one life to spend. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Do I want to spend 5% of my life commuting to and from work?
  • Do I want to spend 5% of my life preparing food?
  • Do I want to spend just 5% of my life connecting with the people I love most?

When an activity is a one-off, it is as if you are being asked: “Would you spend 10 minutes of all the time you have left on this activity?”. 

But when you do an activity every day, it is as if you are being asked: “Would you spend 10 minutes on this activity if you had just one day left to live?” Because until you change your routine, you are choosing to spend 1% of your life on this activity. That is the same percentage as 10 minutes of your last day on earth. 

Now, imagine if you had the opportunity to do a task once that would save you 1 minute for the rest of your life. How much time would you be ready to invest in that task today? 

Personally, I would gladly give up 5 days to save 1 minute each day. 

This might seem ludicrous. Until you do the math. 

I am 22 years old and expect to live to at least 80. That is 58 years * 365 days per year / 1,000 min per day = 21 days more that I will enjoy my life. 

I get 21 days back for 5 days of work. 

That is a 4X return on my time! 

I do value my time being young more than being old, but 4X is a great return for me. And these days are not going to come when I am old and wrinkled. They are going to be evenly spread throughout my life. 

Realistically, saving 1 minute every day might require 1 hour of work. Imagine if you kept finding ways to save 1 minute per day for the rest of your life, with each minute saved requiring 1 hour of work. If you kept doing this for one month, how much more time would you have to enjoy your life? 

Assuming that you have 50 more years left to live, you would give up 22 days to earn an extra 547 days! Does that sound like a good deal to you? 

The reason why I show these numbers is to help you realize just how powerful daily activities are. 

If you enjoy the routine for its own sake, by all means keep doing it! But if you are only interested in the outcome, here is a list of possible time-saving strategies you could try:

  • Eliminate: Could you buy two power cables for your laptop for home and work, instead of unplugging, packing, and re-plugging the same cable? 
  • Automate: Could you set up automatic deliveries for products you need to restock regularly, such as toilet paper, cereal, or batteries? 
  • Outsource: Could you find a friend who would be happy to do the research you need? 
  • Effectivize: Could you dim your lights one hour before bed to help you fall asleep faster? 
  • Templatize: Could you create templates for emails you frequently need to send? 
  • Bulk actions: Could you prepare dinner for 5 days in just one evening? (For added variety, consider making a large pot of a staple good, like pasta, and using that same pasta for two different recipes). 
  • Task-combining: Could you call a friend to catch up while commuting to work?

Which daily activity can you shave off a few precious minutes from?

If I Only Knew What My Passion Was The two misconceptions about what passion is and how to overcome them

“Just do what you are passionate about.”

This must be among the ‘Top 5 Most Unhelpful Advice of All Time’. If you knew what you were passionate about you would already be doing it, right? The reason you are stuck is because you don’t know what you want. 

But why is it so hard to pinpoint your passion? I have found two common misconceptions that cause many people to get stuck on this subject. 

Misconception #1: Passion is a thing you do 

Many people associate passion with a specific activity or field, such as music, football, or geology. This misses the full picture of what passion is. 

Passion is about engaging in some kind of work that makes you happy. And there are two ways in which a task can bring you happiness: enjoyment and purpose. Enjoyment means you like doing the task for its own sake. Purpose comes from knowing that your work is improving the life of someone else.

Passion = Enjoyment + Purpose

When you associate passion with a thing you do, you focus only on the enjoyment piece. But if you only have enjoyment you have a hobby. Not a passion. Passion is both enjoyment and purpose. 

Misconception #2: There is only one path that will bring you passion

There are countless things you like doing for their own sake. You might enjoy teaching, crunching numbers, cooking, or expressing yourself in writing. There are also endless ways in which you can positively impact the lives of others in a way that feels meaningful to you. Passion isn’t a single path. It’s a feeling you find when you combine enjoyment and purpose. And there are many many ways you can do that. 

A Better Model for Passion

The most accurate passion model I’ve found is Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. The Golden Circle consists of three different circles: WHAT, HOW, and WHY, which describe the three pieces that make up who you are. 

  • WHAT are the concrete things you do, e.g cook meals as a chef or volunteer as a soccer coach. 
  • HOW are your natural strengths, e.g you are great at solving complex problems or you enjoy meeting new people.
  • WHY is your higher purpose. It’s how you want to contribute and what impact that contribution will have in the lives of others.

My WHY is “To uplift others so that they can achieve whatever matters to them”. I love to help others find clarity and expand their abilities so they are able to experience greater happiness in their lives. 

Two of my HOWs include “Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit” and “Pursue constant improvement”. I naturally look for ways to add value, envision how things could be made better, and start new projects to meet those needs. 

My WHY is the purpose piece of my passion equation. My HOWs are the enjoyment piece. My WHATs are just the concrete things I do to bring my passion to life. 

One of my WHATs has been to start the non-profit academy Eureka that teaches math to students who don’t get enough challenge in the classroom. Another WHAT is working for a company to build a career app that helps people make better decisions about which career path is right for them. And a third WHAT is writing the Success Uplift blog. 

Your passion isn’t a single WHAT. It’s a combination of your WHY and HOWs that is simply expressed as a WHAT. And there are many possible WHATs you can be passionate about. 

So how do you find WHATs that you will be passionate about?

My advice is to focus on defining your WHY and HOWs first. This will help you know what kind of opportunities to look for. To define your WHY and HOWs, I recommend reading Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why (it’s $11.95 on Amazon). This book was how I found my purpose and strengths. 

What will your WHY and HOWs be?