CONFESSIONS OF: ATime Waster – Valuable Lessons In The Value Of Time

Image courtesy of posterize
Image courtesy of posterize

On my way to and from the office every day (30-40 minutes depending on traffic) I have taken to listening to educational, inspirational and motivational CDs.  It’s like having a bunch of amazing mentors in my car with me!  Currently I am going through the Darren Hardy book, The Compound Effect, and I’m going to be listening through this one over and over again.  He quotes the late Jim Rohn often, as he was Darren’s mentor, or one of them anyway.  I love so much of what Jim has to say that I’ve started listening to him via YouTube videos while I work.

I’ve had 2 powerful take aways from my two virtual mentors so far this week, major “ah HA” moments.

The first is something that I’ve heard Jim Rohn say more than once through various means.  That is, time is more valuable than money.  You can always get more money, but you can never get more time. Ponder that for just a moment.  We only get so many minutes in our life.  If we waste them, they are gone.  There is no way to go out there and earn more minutes like in a video game where you can keep the clock running based on certain things you acquire throughout the play.  Every minute that is past me is gone, poof, never to be had again.  And oh have I wasted a lot of time.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut -
Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut –

The other take away was about time wasted.  Do you know what one of the biggest time wasters for us Americans is?  TV.  The average American watches 5 hours of television per day.  PER DAMN DAY!  Yes, you may be one of those who watches less, I know I am.  But holy mother of mind numbing loss!  5 hours is a lot of time.  That is over 1800 hours a year.  That is equal to 2.5 months of 24 hours a day straight of watching TV.  If that same time was used at a part time job paying $8/per hour, it would pay $14,400 for one year.    That is an incredibly expensive waste of time.

My brain took off on this one!

Now, suppose you had a direct sales business where you average $500 in sales for a 3 hour time frame and you do this 2 times a week.  Those 6 hours of your time at 30% commissions on those sales, would pay you $50 per hour.  So, 6 hours of work per week, at $50/hour is $15,600!!!  If we gave up just 6 hours a week of our ‘down time’ in front of the idiot box as my mother used to call it, we could add $15,600 to our annual income.  THAT is a new car, a vacation, a kitchen remodel, an in-ground pool in the backyard, etc.  Heck that comes out to $1300 a month…a mortgage payment so it’s a new house!  Suddenly that TV is looking more and more like a true idiot box because you’d have to be an idiot to spend 5 hours a day in front of it when you could cut that down by an hour a day and make that kind of money!  It isn’t hard to see why those in direct sales who actually work their business like a job rather than a hobby are making fantastic money and leaving behind their day/office jobs.

I get that we all need down time.  But 35 hours a week of down time??? No wonder we as a nation are obese.  Let’s do some more math.

35 hours a week of TV, minus the 6 hours for your direct sales business leaves 29 hours of mind numbing down time each week.  What would it do for the average American to get off their butts and walk 5 days a week, for just 30 minutes a day?  That would still leave 26.5 hours to watch TV.  That is still more than one full, 24 hour day a week of down time on the couch in front of the boob tube. (which now makes sense, as it is making total boob brains of anyone spending 1800+ wasted hours in front of its screen in a year)

Is your jaw dropping yet?  It should be!

Okay, great leaders are good readers it is said.  When is the last time you read a book.  Not a trashy romance novel, but something to stimulate your brain, feed it with educational stuff?  What might it do for your life to take 30 minutes each morning at the start of your day to read something of value? A devotional or self help, or some inspirational book?  I’d be willing to bet if you did it consistently just 5 days a week it would totally improve you day.   And what if you ended the day the same way, just 3 minutes, 5 nights a week turning off the TV and before going to sleep spent 30 minutes reading something of value.  That is just 5 hours a week of reading.  That still leaves 21.5 hours a week in front of the television.  You can do it, after all the 30 minutes of walking 5 days a week will help your energy level.

I know that I do not spend 5 hours a day in front of the television.  In fact right now I am not watching but 1 hour a week, and it’s crap I really COULD avoid.  But what if I simply tracked what I would watch in an average week during the regular viewing season?

Sons Of Anarchy 1.5 hours (it always goes long)

NCIS 1 hour

NCIS LA 1 hour

NCIS New Orleans 1 hour (this coming season)

CSI 1 hour

Criminal Minds 1 hour

The Walking Dead 1 hour

Downton Abbey 1 hour

Big Bang Theory 1/2 hour

That adds up to 9 hours a week for me, and no doubt I missed something in there.  9 hours is 3 direct sales parties I could be doing a week.  Which at $50 an hour is $23,400 a year.  9 hours of television just got real stinking expensive!

It could be said that “well, you aren’t doing parties anyway so why not use those hours to watch TV?”.  True story, and therefore I am wasting 9 precious hours of time each week that I could be using to get out of debt and know what total financial freedom looked like.   Hours I cannot get back.

I seriously need to be re-evaluating how I spend my time.

What about  you? I double dog dare you to track your TV watching, reading, and exercise time for one week. REALLY write it down each time you flip on the television, read a book or workout/exercise.  The results will surprise you.



  1. Challenge accepted! Does the TV being on when Mario’s watching and I’m not count? Also, do all my paces while mopping the M.E. Lyons YMCA 4 hours a day count? (Please say yes!)

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