What's it worth?

How are you?

It seems that more often than not if I ask someone that question the answer  is "busy" or "exhausted". Or both.  And it's true, for all the time saving conveniences we have it still seems like everyone is maxed out. I'm tempted to say "busy" is the tagline of our era. And at same time we never seem to have enough time.

It's the reason why we don't exercise as much as we should. Why we opt for takeaway. Why we don't catch up with our friends and family. Why we missed our kid's assembly. There simply isn't enough time. 

Now I am not denying that life can be a bit of a juggling act. Between work and kids and personal commitments and family and friends and admin and house there is a whole heap to get through in any one day. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and say "I just don't have enough time..." My problem with this statement however, is that it suggests you have no choice - that life is busy and you are at its mercy. 

But the fact is, we do have a choice. We all have 24 hours in a day. Each and every one of us is allotted the same amount of time. And for those of us who are fortunate enough to have a freedom of choice, what we choose to do with that time is up to us. Think about it. 24 hours a day. 168 hours a week. Over 760 a month.

So how are us busy beings actually spending our time? Lonergan Research found that on average Australians spend about 8 hours a day working, 7.3 hours sleeping and a total of 9.4 hours on screens. And that's just the average - if you're an office worker it is more like 11.5 hours. We spend more time in front of our devices that we do eating, exercising, commuting and getting ready for the day. Which doesn't leave much time for meaningful conversation with family and friends - we spend more time in front our screen that we do with people we care about. 

So when we say "I just don't have enough time to [fill in the blank]" in fact what we should be saying is "I am choosing to prioritise [X activity} over [blank]" I am choosing to play Candy Crush rather than go for a walk. I am choosing to look at Facebook instead of chatting to my partner. I have decided to work late rather than eat dinner with the family. I want to stay home and watch Netflix instead of seeing my friend. Simply whitewashing things away by saying "I don't have enough time", "I'm busy", "I just have too much to do" is actually a cop out. 

Now think about being handed five thousand dollars at the beginning of each month and being asked to allocate your spend across the various facets of your life - work, relationships, sleep, fitness, screen. Wouldn't you want to get the most value for money? Spend a portion on work, a decent amount on family and friends, a good chunk on sleep and fitness, and perhaps a bit on screen? 

The problem is most of us go through our days and weeks mindlessly - from waking, to work, to watching t.v, to sleep, to waking, to work, to watching screen, to work.... and yes we might fit in some housework, we may have a chat over dinner with our children and partners, we might kid ourselves we did some exercise because we walked from the car to the office. Yet the evidence clearly shows that for most Australians (and Brits and Americans) the highest priorities in life are work and screen. That's what makes us busy and tired. 

So next time you are about to say "I don't have enough time" or "I'm just too busy" remember it's actually your choice.