A Life Well Lived Is Made 10 Minutes At A Time

Spending a short 10 minutes per day on Facebook seems harmless, except when you pull out a calculator and realize that 10 minutes per day for the past 4 years has taken away 15 full days from your life. A life well lived is made 10 minutes at a time, so those Facebook minutes really add up.

When people hear about me climbing a mountain, traveling across California, camping in the wilderness; they never realize that it’s a result of watching one less episode of Netflix or using Instagram for a little bit less each day. Slow, steady gains is called compounding and it’s what made Warren Buffet a billionaire.

If Only I Had More Time

We think to ourselves, “Dang. If only I had more time. If I had more time, I would go and [insert goal]”

But it’s usually not about having more time. We have a whopping two dozen hours in a day! Casey Neistat and Jocko Willink wake up around 4 am and have worked for a few hours and exercised by the time most of us are just getting out of bed.

10 minutes is a TON of time, but our phones are so powerful that it passes in a flash. 10 minutes for an average person on a bike will get them 3 miles away from their starting location on flat terrain. Incredible!

Candid photo on a 10 mile hike on Mt. Tamalpais. Aug 13 2022

The Magic Of 10 Minutes

As a kid, when my mom gave me the 10 minute countdown at a park it feels like I managed to play a few games of hot lava monster, mash some leaves and bark chips into a “potion”, and fight a friend with sticks.

10 minutes is a lot of time. You can make a bed, fluff pillows, and make a cup of tea if you use the time effectively. You can read 5 whole pages of a book, if you read at the average speed. In 10 minutes, you make healthy meals.

Time Sinks

If you are reading this blog and wondering “how is this all possible?” you must take time to find the time sinks in your life. Maybe you’ve got words-with-friends usage that nears an hour a day, or you like to watch a few episodes of TV to fall asleep. Things like that really add up.

Before I started living a life I was proud of, I was spending 80 days per year on my phone–3 hours and 30 minutes a day on YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, etc. That may sound insane, but taking each Saturday each week and spending most of it (70% of the day) online will eat up 36 and a half days per year. Add an hour each day (one single episode of most shows), and you will go way over 80 days per year.

Traffic, waiting around, unnecessary trips to the store, TV and the internet, waiting for the bus. These are all common places we waste time each week. Precious time–the only thing any of us really have.

The worst is at night. If you are staying up past 10 or 11 to scroll, tap, or tweet there is something going wrong. That time is purely wasted, and would be much better spent asleep. That’s why I go to bed around 10 to 11 and wake up at 6 almost every day, and so do

Reflection

Taking some time and reflecting on your day at night by journaling will help you identify how you are spending your time. It’s so important to me, I journal in the morning and at night. In the morning, I write out what I hope to achieve during the day and how I’m feeling. At night, I reflect on the day. I don’t really use it for emotional stuff, just writing out the material facts. “I went to xyz”, “I saw ABC”, “I spent 30 minutes doing blah blah”. It really helps, since most of our days are forgotten. Yesterday was 24 hours long. Can you recall each and every set of 10 minutes? Probably not easily. I can’t either, which is why I journal.

If journaling isn’t your thing, just take a few minutes at least to think about it. What have you done so far today? How much of it was spent on a screen? Is that really what you want to do?

10 Minutes At A Time Challenge

This entire website, along with its 2,500+ article reads, was made 10 minutes at a time. You’ve been reading these articles 10 minutes at a time. So, take a look at your calendar. See if you can find 10 minutes today to dedicate to something that you are interested in. No YouTube videos, no tutorials. Just go. Take 10 minutes and try something new.

Here are some examples:

  • Physical Activity: Take 10 minutes and go for a walk down the street and back (seriously! It’s worth it.) Maybe do 10 minutes’ worth of push-ups and squats right now.
  • Making Music: Take 10 minutes and play an instrument. If you don’t have one, be like our ancestors and make one
  • Going to the gym: Take 10 minutes and walk around the gym for a bit.
  • Eating Healthy: Walk/Drive/bike to the store, buy some fruit you like (or something new) and eat it. A 5-lb bag of 12 oranges is $3.99 at Trader Joes. Or, make a meal.
  • Cleaning: Take 10 minutes. Clean one corner of your room. Clean off the desk. Do the dishes.
  • Hydration: Take 10 minutes and make some water with lemon or orange or cucumber if you don’t like normal water.
  • Sleep: Go to sleep 10 minutes earlier. If you want to wake up earlier, wake up 10 minutes earlier.
  • Foreign Language: You can take 10 minutes to use DuoLingo or have a conversation with someone.
  • Social: Take 10 minutes, make a list of people you’d like to get coffee with, and invite them all to get coffee sometime this week.

Conclusion

A life well lived is made 10 minutes at a time. Imagine how clean your apartment/house would be if you woke up 10 minutes earlier and dedicated 10 minutes per day to cleaning out small parts of your home.

10 minutes is the difference between a clean home and mindless internet. What can you do with the next 10 minutes? Plus, never forget: some is better than none.

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