Harvard University professor and PhD in Social Sciences Arthut Brooks writes a column for The Atlantic on how to organize and manage daily life. He talks about philosophy applied to day-to-day life, gives advice on how to organize ourselves better and, in short, sheds some light on how to better manage one’s own time.
In one of his columns, he attacks the waste of everyday time. For example, he cites a Nielsen study finding that the average American spent three hours and 43 minutes every day watching live TV in the first quarter of 2020. Something many will throw their hands up for, but that in comparison with what we look at on our smartphones, it remains in a derisory quantity.
In fact, Brooks talks about how people feel that mobile phones and the constant hyper-connectivity they enable are more of a bondage than a freedom, and how we end up hooked on looking at them because they give us instant gratification, without us stopping to think about the loss of time that they suppose to us.
And it is that this is one of the big problems that we suffer today: starting activities that, when we finish them, have been a waste of time, because either we have not liked them or they have not served us for what we wanted. And this happens in many aspects of everyday life. To curb this waste of time, Brooks proposes two strong pieces of advice.
The best way to deal with the problem of wasted time and opportunities is not to leave decisions about the use of time until the moment we start an activity, when our decision making can be distorted by the search for short-term comfort. Brooks mentions writer Cal Newport’s book in which he recommends a productivity strategy called ‘time blocking’, which involves making decisions about how to use time in advance and sticking to a schedule.
This method does not have to be limited to work, but can be extended to other environments and structure the entire daily schedule so as not to waste time.
Put a price on bad habits
In 2012, two management academics at the University of Toronto conducted a series of experiments asking participants to think about their income in terms of hourly wages. In the same way, as Brooks points out, they have to assign a price to the time they spend on leisure activities. By thinking in these terms, people ended up getting less happiness from their leisure activities.
Thinking in these terms can help us get rid of hobbies or activities that we really don’t like. For example, thinking about the price per hour that we lose every time we are on social networks can help us reduce the time we spend on them, especially after it has been proven that it does reduce happiness and personal well-being. .