How to Find More Time

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     A recent study revealed that adults between the ages of 35-49 spend an average of 35 hours per week watching TV. Ok, even though I’m not a math guy, I can figure out that 35 hours per week x 52 weeks per year adds up to 1,820 hours of TV per year. REALLY? Am I going to invest 1,820 hours of my life —and the clock is ticking for all of us folks, let’s be honest, we’re not as young as we used to be— watching television?

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Adults between the ages of 35-49 average 35 hours per week watching TV.

     So, as I got to thinking about this, my curiosity got the best of me, and I did a bit of research on how much time the average adult spends viewing social media—and what I discovered is equally alarming. So get this, a Pew Research study revealed a 65% increase in adult use of social media: a tenfold increase over the past 10 years! Another study discovered that adults living in the U.S. check their social media accounts up to 17 times per day! The New York times reported in May of 2016 that Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger devotees spent an average of 50 minutes per day on their various sites.

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     In a Global Webindex blog post dated January 26, 2015, Jason Mander reported that the average daily time spent on Social Network sites as of 2014 was 1.72 hours per day, that is up from 1.61 hours reported in 2012. We can only guess that in 2016, that number was higher.

So let’s do the math, shall we?

     If the average American spends 1.72 hours per day on Social Media, that adds up to roughly 12 hours per week, or 624 hours per year! Sobering, right?

Ok, one more thing— I just can’t help myself. 

     Think about this. Each year has 365, 24 hour days—I know I’m stating the obvious but I’m going somewhere with this, I promise—that adds up to 8,760 hours per year. So all of us have the same amount of time each year, 8,760 hours. Now, to keep this simple, let’s agree that most people work 10 hours per day if you include commuting—I know some of you drive more, but let’s keep it at that for argument sake. 

     That means that most of us work 50 hours per week. Now, if you do the math, 50 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = 2,600 hours of work per year. In addition, we are supposed to sleep at least 8 hours per night— yeah, wouldn’t that be nice? Again, doing the math, 8 hours per night of sleep multiplied by 7 days per week = 56 hours of sleep per week, and if you multiply 56 x 52 weeks per year, you get a total number of hours of sleep of 2,912.

Hang in there, I’m almost to my point—it will be worth it, 

I promise. 

     Now, if we add all this up together: 1,820 hours of TV per year + 624 hours of social media + 2,600 hours per year for work + 2,912 hours of sleep = 7,956 hours per year. Remember we already determined that each of us has a total of 8,760 hours per year, so if you subtract 7,956 from 8,760 = 804 hours per year, or roughly, two hours and twelve minutes per day left over for doing other things. 

     Now, when you think about it, two hours and twelve minutes a day is a fair amount of time, but when you factor in housework, preparing meals, running the kids to their activities, grocery shopping, and walking the dog—because who has a cat they actually take care of? That 2.2 hours gets used up pretty fast! 

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     But, what if I told you how you could add another hour and eighteen minutes of time each day to your life and you don’t have to work or sleep less, you don’t have to cut out your favorite TV programs or cancel your social media accounts? What would that be worth to you?

     Here’s the deal, you can add one hour and eighteen minutes to your life every day simply by cutting back a mere 20% of the time you commit to watching TV and viewing Social Media. Twenty percent, that’s it. That adds up to roughly 490 hours per year— now that’s a lot of time! 

 So here’s my question, finally, I know: 

What would you do with an extra 490 hours per year?
How would you invest that time? How could you use that time to develop your relationship with Christ,
with your spouse, your children, or friends?

It’s REALLY something to think HARD about. 

Maybe Moses summed it up best when he said:

 “So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

I don’t know about you, but there are things I want to be different in my life in 2017 and I think 490 hours is enough time to do it, how about you?

© The Institute for Discipleship Training - 2017