How to Better Spend Time in 2023

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It was a rather intriguing evening when I came across Sahil Bloom’s tweets about how we spend time on a friend’s WhatsApp status. Bloom quoted data from an American Time Use Survey and Our World in Data. Essentially, the survey breaks down how and who we spend our time with throughout our lives.

Since reading the posts, I have had to rethink how I spend time and reconsider what truly matters. You’ll likely feel the same if you read this to the end. And there’s no better time than now to have such a feeling.

As you read, think about the relevance of each point to you before moving on to the next. I believe this piece has the potential to radically change how we spend our time in the new year.

A World of Evolving Relationships

As we grow older, we form social connections with different people – family, friends, coworkers, and partners. Seasons change, and these relationships take on differing levels of significance. Friends disappear while strangers become like family. While some bonds thicken, others just fade completely. 

The question then is how to maximise time per season. That would require understanding the inevitables. When you deconstruct the data from American Time Use Survey and Our World in Data, you’ll see those inevitables.

Summarily, our teenage years with our parents, siblings, and friends. In adulthood, time spent with parents and family declines while time spent with co-workers, spouse, and children increases. Later in life, time spent alone becomes the greatest.

Making Sense of the Data

graph-showing-time-spent-with-family

Growing up is something that happens to everyone. As you leave home and get caught up in your life, you’ll begin spending lesser time with family. The data suggest that the time spent with parents declines rapidly from age 20. It means every meeting with family from that time needs to be cherished. You won’t have as many of those as you wish in the future.

 

data-showing-time-spent-with-friends

In adolescence, you’ll frolic with lots of friends, but as you grow older, you’ll keep fewer close friends, and you’ll spend more time together. This means embracing the depth of friendship over volume is better. Only healthy, meaningful, and strong relationships that’ll last a long time are worth spending time on, so do just that.

 

data-showing-time-with-partner

You’ll spend a large portion of your life with your partner. Whoever they are, they will have a major impact on your happiness and fulfilment because the time you spend with them will continue to increase till death. That’s why you can’t leave the choice of a partner to chance or silly games. Find someone you genuinely enjoy doing nothing with,  and then get them to walk with you on the path of destiny.

 

data-showing-time-spent-with-coworkers

You’ll likely spend an awful lot of time working in your prime years from age 20-60. What you do, who you work with and where you work can all determine whether you’ll look back with regret or glee. Also, work will try to steal you from your family and loved ones. Best to ensure your work revolves around something that drives you to be the best and gets you around people that motivate you to keep pushing forward. If all you get from work is negative energy, you may want to consider moving elsewhere.

data-showing-time-with-children

A child’s formative years are often known as the ‘magic years’. They are incredibly short but valuable if you’re going to have a loving relationship with your children. According to the data, time spent with your children peaks in your 30s and declines sharply after. Don’t be too busy that you miss those magical moments of their lives.

alone-time-data

It was Blaise Pascal who said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Unfortunately (or not), the time you’ll spend alone will keep increasing as you grow older. The average young person fears being alone. You won’t be able to avoid it in the future so you must learn the beauty of solitude and invest in yourself. You must learn how to kill boredom or you’ll spend your latter years depressed and alone.

How Should We Spend Time?

From the data, we see that;

  1. Family time is limited so cherish every moment. 
  2. Time with friends is limited so prioritise healthy and meaningful relationships.
  3. Partner time is significant, so be deliberate about your choice.
  4. Time at work is significant so do something fulfilling.
  5. Time with children is magical. Be there for them.
  6. You’ll have plenty of time alone. Learn how not to be bored.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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