In the throes of an Idaho winter, on Superbowl weekend, I learned that I was expected to watch the game.
I was asked by friends, family, and co-workers what my plans were for “Superbowl” weekend.
While grocery shopping I was surrounded by families picking up goodies for the great event, from hot dogs to chips to popcorn and beer. The weather was dreary anyway, as is often the case the first part of February, so what else did we have to do?
Millions of people enjoyed the game on Sunday, but it got me thinking about how we spend our leisure time as a whole.
Most of Our Leisure Time is Spent in Front of the TV
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the average day, 96 percent of Americans engage in some sort of leisure activity, with men spending nearly six hours and women closer to five. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of those hours are spent watching television.
Yet what is the most popular response when you ask someone why he hasn’t gone after his dream?
“I just don’t have the time.”
We may not all have five or six hours a day, but we all have some leisure time. How are we spending it?
Going with the Flow Can Be Dangerous
Instead of making conscious decisions about it, we often go along with whatever whim we feel at the moment. Usually that involves doing whatever takes the least amount of effort. That’s why so many of us plop down in front of the television.
“If life seems more rushed than ever,” writes Po Bronson for Time Magazine, “you might be surprised to learn that we Americans don’t have less leisure time than we did 40 years ago. We actually have more leisure time, and quite a bit more….[W]hy does it feel like we have so much less? It might be because we waste half of all our leisure time watching television.”
Directing our own time is easier said than done. It takes real effort. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
If you have a change that you want to make in your life—a change your inner voice is urging you to make—it’s going to require an investment of your time. How do you carve that time out of your schedule? That four-letter word: P-L-A-N.
“If you truly want to get the most out of every day,” writes Andrew Wood at SuccessMethods.com, “it is essential that you begin each with a clear plan. I usually plan the next day’s activities the night before. Take a day planner and write down all those tasks you want to complete the next day.” Then “[t]reat each minute as the valuable and precious resource it is.”
If you’re feeling frustrated that you haven’t made any real progress toward the life you want, take a week to record how you spent your time. Then imagine who it is you want to become. How would his/her schedule look?
Close the gap on the difference, and you’ll be more likely to see real change.
“You have to make the decision to do things differently,” writes Sydni Craig-Hart of Smart Simple Marketing. “This means owning where you’ve been wasting time and not making excuses. Making over your mindset also means being willing to change old habits and break out of your comfort zone. Start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and be willing to embrace the changes you need to make.”