Edit Yourself: Commitment and Time


I was speaking to a very close friend named Alex about what he wants to do in his life. After he told me what he wanted to do, he started saying that time was a problem for him. He kept bringing up how he didn’t have enough time. He didn’t know where all his time went. Alex was telling me how he spends his daily day. We finally came to his commitments. His time. He was surprised how quickly his time added up. He spent over 3-4 hours a night watching TV, followed by 2 or more hours just browsing the internet. That’s on average 6 hours per day doing something completely unrelated to his goals. In a week that is at least 40 hours! It’s the same amount as a full time job. The only difference is he paid with his time.

While I was writing this article I became inspired to continue it. I’ve decided to create this as a series of articles that will be called: Edit Yourself. This will be about you. What you do and how it affects your day-to-day life. About analyzing how you spend your time and your the environment you put yourself in. The goal is to declutter your life, and have more time and space.

Ever since I’ve started removing and working towards a life that I want for myself, I’ve never been happier. I have available time throughout my day. I don’t find myself rushing to get things done at the last minute. I can focus much easier as there is less going on in my life.

Each week will be about editing yourself. Taking time to sit, question, write down and come to your own conclusions about yourself.

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
John Wooden

Commitments and Time

We commit ourselves to everyday things. But after sometime we get in a habitual pattern of doing things so often that they are ingrained into our behavior. We almost never take a step back and analyze.

We all have 24 hours.

But are you using that 24 productively; for yourself?

We all spend time on commitments. But do we ever write them down? Writing them down allows us to see. See where we invest our time. This is self-feedback. We get to see where all our time goes. From then we can make a decision if we are happy with how much time we spend and make a decision from there.

Doing this makes you become more aware of your time and yourself.  Furthermore allowing you to be more effective with how much time you spend each week, and how much time you can free up for yourself.

Make a list of your commitments.

See how much time you spend each day on them and multiply it by 7. That should be on average your weekly time spent. If not, do a daily measure and have a more accurate reading by the end of the week. Below I have give examples I use for myself. Your sheet can be more detailed. Write all your commitments and add them up.

  • Hobbies (Painting/Writing/Reading etc. Per day 3 hours on average = Approx 30 hours per week.)
  • Work (25-30 hours per week)
  • Online (I would say 8 hours per week. If I do not consider time spent writing.)
  • T.V. (1 hour per week. I’ve cut a lot of T.V out of my life, and am working to eliminating it.)
  • Family (Time spent with family. 5-10 hours per week)
  • Sports (I include sports, gym, and time spent working being physical. 8 Hours per week).

These are some of my personal examples. This is can be an extensive list depending on your commitments.

Visit each one and ask yourself a series of questions: This will work only if you are honest. If you are not honest with yourself about your own commitments; there won’t be change.

Questions to ask about each commitment.

  1. Does this add value to my life? (There shouldn’t be doubt answering this question)
  2. Is this related to MY priorities or the priorities of OTHERS (to please someone, pressure, social influences).
  3. If it is related to MY preferences, does it further MY own goals in life? (Are you doing this because someone else is? Or is this just a simple pleasure you partake in?)
  4. What would happen if I would remove this from my life? (Try it out)

I’m not saying these are easy questions to answer. We sometimes get the idea that after doing something for so long that it is a part of ourselves. We do something so often it’s second nature and we don’t actually see how much time we are spending. This is about asking yourself what you value. If you do value this commitment more than your free time.

If you have trouble deciding, compare. What you are least certain about and have some doubts. Compare all your commitments and see which one gives you the least amount of return for the time that you invest. In making a decision you are forced to remove, not add.

Try to remove a commitment each week and see how it affects you. See how dependent you are. If it really is that valuable to you. If it is in-line with what it is that you want to do. I’d recommend a week to at least to see your dependance. But work at your own pace. Go a day, a week or even a month. The longer the better. You may even remove it completely from your life!

Once you do remove a commitment from your life there will be some sort of guilt or uneasy feeling. This is because of attachment. You were attached to what you were doing for so long. This is a temporary feeling. It goes away, and what comes is free time. Time to allow yourself to do whatever it is that you wish. Even though it may be cliché, it’s very appropriate.  You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

You can either manage your time, or be managed by time.

You decide.

Until next time,

Dragos Bernat

Related: Edit Yourself: Mass Media Overload
Edit Yourself: Workspace
Related: Edit yourself: Declutter Your Life


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  1. David says

    “Life is first boredom, then fear.
    Whether or not we use it, it goes,
    And leaves what something hidden from us chose.”
    – Philip Larkin

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