3 Important Keys to Time

Here’s some fuzzy math.

Fact: There are 24 hours in a day.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults my age need 7-9 hours of sleep. (Let’s call it 8 – that leaves 16 hours left in a day).

Including transit, my civilian job demands about 10 hours a day. After accounting for this, I have 6 hours left in a work day.

My wife and I go to the gym an average of 6 days a week. This accounts for about an hour a day – now we’re down to 5 hours.

I have a weird eating schedule. I fast, so I only eat after work until the time I go to bed. Nonetheless, supper + cleanup takes approximately 1 hour. Now we’re down to 4.

Another hour is spent on ensuring our kids conduct hygiene, prepare for bed, eat a bedtime snack, do any necessary cleaning…now we’re down to 3 hours.

My wife and I spend about 1 hour per night by ourselves, watching our shows and unwinding/decompressing before we go to bed. Now I’ve accounted for all but 2 hours.

I don’t think my schedule is special or unique. I think this is pretty average. On the one hand, even if your time you can account for isn’t spent sleeping, in the gym, at work, taking care of kids, eating, and relaxing before bed…I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you’re just as busy as I am. On the other hand, if we can agree we all have 2 hours of unstructured and unaccounted for time, then it’s what we’re doing with that 2 hours that makes us different.

Before I expound on that concept, let me add that one Saturday a month, I have to work my civilian job, and another whole weekend a month I’m doing my National Guard thing. So even beyond standard workdays, I only have two weekends a month that are “free”. I never stripped down my schedule like this before until I read Grant Sabatier’s book, Financial Freedom. His concept of a side hustle challenged me to take a deeper look at how much time I have a day (hint: 24 hours) and what I’m doing with my time. Read his book; you will learn to look at time in a completely new light and realize how limited of a resource time is. The point is, I was compelled to get back to doing something that made me happy, and realize I did have the time for it – even if it was scarce and I had to dig for it.

Tonight, when my wife bid me goodnight and hit the sack, I went downstairs to make sure my middle-schooler was going to bed also. He was. At this point, it was 9:32pm. I could have easily went to sleep at this point…and I was tempted to. However, I wanted to make sure I published something tonight. Secondly, once I picked this topic off my list and started writing and thinking about it, I started wondering what the ideal schedule would look like to me. What I mean by that is, pretend you didn’t have to work…let’s say you retired (and if you’re young, say you retired early). What does your day look like?

Using the simple math from my day, you have at least 10 extra unaccounted for hours by not having a job…wow. For retirees old enough and lucky enough not to be taking care of anyone besides a spouse, you also get back at least 1, but probably 2 hours that directly revolve around raising children. This means that you have nearly half of a day at your disposal. That is quite a bit of time.

Let’s face it, a retiree could take up gardening, and volunteer daily, and still only chew up less than half this time. It’s no wonder people get bored and die after retirement.

There are three key points I’d like to emphasize after saying all this.

1.) Time is a limited resource for folks who have to work.

If you’re punching a clock for the man, you’re probably spending half the day or more fulfilling that obligation. You might be like me and have only 2 unaccounted for hours…what are you doing with that time? It’s limited daily. Time is restrained on a daily basis.

Tonight, I decided I’d sacrifice some sleep and make this post happen. There are other nights I’m dozing off on the couch and can’t get to bed soon enough. What I’m proud of, is I pay close attention to my body and mind -if I need the sleep, I go for it. If I don’t, I try not to waste any extra time sleeping. Either way, I try to get the most bang for my buck when it comes to time – and I could do better. How do you fare in this category?

2.) Time is a limited resource for folks who don’t have to work.

If you’re retired and NOT punching a clock, you’re probably trying to figure out how to spend HALF your day. This daily allowance of time might seem like a surplus, but nobody lives forever; it’s limited by your lifetime. We all have an expiration date.

Age drives the levels of expectation for this group. If you’re retiring in your 50s, you’re probably more ambitious than folks retiring in their 70s. The number of children, grand children, and even great-grand children an influence on this “business” or sense of purpose. Thanks to my military career, I’ll probably be facing this time puzzle in my 50s (58 1/2 to be exact!). I have dozens of ideas on how I could spend my time and make money; what are your ideas? What will you be doing?

3.) Time is a limited resource for folks who choose to work, but it’s not so bad!

In the “old days”, folks in my first key point were younger than 55-60, and people in my second key point were older than that. Now, people (not enough, but some nonetheless) are following Grant Sabatier’s lead and saving more and investing more earlier and retiring at very young ages…meaning they work when they feel like it and only do what they want for work. Time certainly applies in the same ways above, but much less aggressively.

I’d love to say I’ll turn 40 and be in this club; it’s not going to happen. If you’re in this group, you figured out “your number” and you’ve already hit it. At this point you’re watching tv and listening the crazy people arguing about how to spend your money and how bad the government wants to screw you. I plan on putting some more pieces out for this group (or at least about this group). To make sure you are in the loop, I encourage you to subscribe. Please like and/or share if you know someone who can benefit. I’ll catch you in the next blog, but hopefully sooner than that, in the first ever Civil War

silver and gold coins
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Husband, dad, soldier, veteran, transportation manager, musician, and now a blogger and podcast host...sharing stories, experiences, and debates.

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