Dying Daily #141: Time and How We Spend It

I like to ask people about their priorities.

The answers are inevitably similar:
  • God
  • Family
  • Job
or
  • Family
  • School
  • Career
or
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Church
A lot of overlap, and the answers are pretty standard.

We say what we are supposed to say, we state our priorities as they “should” be.

The thing is, these are pretty much always untrue. We can see what our priorities are by how we spend our time. When I ask people to keep a time log, or even just pay attention to how they actually spend their time the answers are much different.
  • Watching Netflix
  • Playing on my phone
  • Pornography
  • Drinking
  • Texting with people
  • Smoking weed
  • Playing video games
  • Watching sports
Things like this. Not all as noble or healthy or socially acceptable, but much more honest.

An unavoidable part of a mindful lifestyle is being conscious and intentional with how we spend our time.

It’s easy to waste time these days, we live in a society and consumer culture that not only encourages it, but creates newer and better and more interesting ways to do it constantly. We also pile our lives up with meaningless tasks, so that suddenly shirking everything and binging The Office for 6 hours seems overwhelmingly appealing.

Every moment matters, and if we can approach them with a mindful awareness and compassion, we can make even the most unpleasant or mundane task worthwhile.

But first, we have to be aware of what we are doing at all.
How often do you snub the person in the room with you by engaging others through your phone or tablet?
How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram or Reddit?
How much of your time goes toward getting intoxicated, including the process of acquiring the intoxicants and recovering from them?
If you were to create a minute-by-minute log of how you spend your time, how much of it would be intentional? What would someone who read this log say your priorities are?
None of these are meant to be criticisms or judgments, we all waste time and lose intentionality. They are tough questions, but questions worth answering.
Once we look at how much time we are wasting, we can ask ourselves why. I find there is often something missing in our lives when we are driven to distraction and idleness, and that is where the real value of being mindful with our time comes in.

Try to be mindful of how you spend your time today. It’s limited, and all of it is irreplaceable.

Have a great day, thank you for reading.