Time Clutter

You can never get enough of what
you don’t need to make you happy. ~Eric Hoffer
(So why not just get rid of it? ~Brook)

Have you ever found yourself excusing the way you spend your time with the phrase, “Well this will only take a moment?” Moments compounded over time equal days, months and years. Life is comprised of moments. Many of the things that steal simplicity from our lives “only take a moment,” yet as they compound over the years, they leave big footprints of complication.

Let’s look at some common “it only takes a moment” items and see just how they affect our life over time.

  • Fielding telemarketer or unwanted calls – Average 10 minutes per day
  • Paging through, sorting and throwing out junk mail – Average 5 minutes per day
  • Watching television – Average 18 hours per week (national adult average)
  • Paging through catalogs or magazines that don’t “fuel” the soul but instead encourage us to “buy-in” to the consumer culture – 30 minutes per week

With the average lifespan of about 80 years, 60 of those being “adult years,” let’s see how this adds up. I’ll even give you the benefit of the doubt that you watch only half the national average of TV hours.

Weekly Totals

  • Fielding telemarketer or unwanted calls – 70 minutes
  • Paging through junk mail – 35 minutes
  • Watching television or mindless computer time – 9 hours
  • Paging through catalogs/magazines – 30 minutes

Total: 675 minutes per week, which translates into 11.25 hours per week

Or almost 24.5 days per year (or if you average in 8 hours of sleep, this would total about 37 waking days per year)

Or over the course of 60 adult years … 1470 days!

That’s a lot of little stuff adding up! Think of what you could do with that time otherwise. How could that time be focused and spent doing something that truly matters and offers joy?

Your challenge for today is to take action. Create your own time chart. How much time do you spend doing the activities listed in today’s reading? Are there any other simplicity-stealers you need to add to your list (i.e. doing errands once instead of twice, spending time gossiping or regretting). How much time do these simplicity-stealers take from you per year? What else could you do with that time that would bring more joy to your life?


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