One day my friend posted an article on our Wechat group, and it said that on average people spend 4+ hours on their mobile every day. People in the group had all kinds of reactions, some people didn’t believe it, and some people said sometimes it was even more than 4 hours. As a digital marker, I know it’s true.
After our discussion, people in the group checked their “screen time” on their phones, and then they kept silent as they couldn’t believe their time had been “eaten” so much every day by the mobile phone.
Who says “time is the asset”? Sarcastically and astonishingly, it is also true to see most people spend our asset this way, isn’t it? But sometimes we are not aware of it.
On a Sunday morning, my son went skiing with a friend. I was so excited to have almost 6 luxurious hours of the day until he returned from the ski class. I took a breath and wanted to use the time wisely as I do have a long to-do list to clear up.
I hardly ever have such a big block of time for myself. (During the weekday, I only have less than 2 hours for myself after a whole day’s work, dinner, and housework. I usually have around 1-2 hours of quality personal time, depending on when John goes to bed.) On weekends, I need to do grocery shopping and cooking as well as have family time. Sometimes we go hiking, watch a movie, or we have other activities.
Before I worked on my list. I wanted to pamper myself by taking a short break. I replied to my friend’s message on Wechat, and browsed social media a bit. Then I checked my email and found some good deals from my favorite brands’ email newsletter. Although I was quite aware of my limited and precious time, I thought I needed to take a break as I hadn’t shopped for a while.
I clicked the shopping sites, and my interest grew, and I started to see lots of stuff shown on my personal page thanks to the algorithms on the shopping websites such as Amazon.com or Taobao.com.
After that day, I realized that distractions can be anywhere: messages, emails, an unexpected phone call, shopping…Lots of things are craving for our attention but how can we decide how to allocate our time wisely? Here are some golden rules to use our time.
- Reading is never too much; reading is a good habit for a lifetime. It is not something in a fixed format. As long as you learn things, it can be listening to audiobooks or reading a book or an article. The world is changing faster than ever. If we don’t have a lifetime reading habit, we can easily be left out of what is changing and what to prepare for in order to embrace the change.
- Exercise is also never a waste of time; a healthy body is super important, not only to have a better quality of life but to give you less stress and less worry about your health; and a healthy body also keeps you energetic and relaxed.
- Learning should be a lifetime commitment; learning is broader than reading. Knowledge can be from a mentor, from a class, or from attending a workshop. Again it has so many types of formats, such as reading industry blogs, attending a webinar which will help you to improve or online courses. Don’t use yesterday’s knowledge to do today’s job.
- Enough hours of sleep is also essential; sometimes people try to trade in their sleep hours with other things, but it’s definitely not recommended; everyone needs enough hours of sleep. It can boost people’s energy, improve the immune system and is vital for good for health. Lots of people now sleep less than enough hours which is not good.
- Family time: it’s only as long as the number of years our kids are with us before they grow up and explore their own lives after going to university and have their significant other. And our parents are aging; they will not be with us all the time. Try to accompany them often so you won’t feel regret. Some people put work as the first priority; even some workaholics have a sleeping bag in the office and treat the office as their home. The office is never home. We should put work and family very separately and treasure family time which is vital to improve the family relationship and feel the support and love from each other.
- Relaxation: we need to give ourselves a break not running on and on. Yesterday one of my friends said that she has severe hair loss due to her stressful life recently, and she has no break for herself. A heart-to-heart talk is also needed; sometimes when we feel stressed, we need to speak with our family or best friend so we can feel some release after the conversation.
- Spiritual life: going to church makes my spiritual life fulfilling; go to a concert; do meditation or something to have self-reflection. Once the spiritual self feels good, we are more confident and comfortable with ourselves and know where we are heading.
I hope next time when I have limited time and have several options, this can be my guide on how to spend the time.