You Have Less Time than you think: A real look at your Lifespan
As the years have gone on, our prospected life expectancy has increased, to where the average Australian lifespan is now 83.5 years. Considering that even in 2000, the average lifespan was 78.8, in 22 years, 5 years have been added to the average life expectancy age. But if you truly step back and think about how many hours, we spend doing things in a day, and over time how these tasks culminate into years, how many years do we actually spend truly living? I think you’ll find the answer astounding…
How we really spend our time
Bear with me while I lay out some math. We have 83.5 years on average to live, but we spend about 26 years sleeping, this leaves us with 57.5 years left. We then will spend around 29.1 full years working, so that brings us to 28.4 years left. Then, we will spend around 4.5 years eating and drinking and 1 entire year on chores and cleaning, which gives us 22.9 years left. Over our lifetime we will spend 4 whole years with family and friends, leaving us with 18.9 years left.
18.9 years of time left that is not spent sleeping, eating, working, caring for others, or cleaning…that’s not that long! In the modern-day and age, I don’t even want to imagine how many years we spend scrolling…actually, it’s a shocking fact so I will share it: we will spend about 9 years scrolling, texting, and watching our phones. Ouch. That is a huge chunk! Is anyone else feeling shocked?!
So, I guess that leaves us with the question, how will we spend the time we have left? I think these facts actually beg answers for many existential questions, are you spending your time how you want? Do the little things we get hung up on really matter that much? Am I being as productive as I could be for a better future? Many grains of food for thought here. Below is a great infographic that highlights everything I've said here in a visual.
Ask the hard questions!
The questions above are really only a few of the thousands of questions we need to be asking ourselves. Not only asking ourselves, but being truly honest with ourselves, so when the clock runs out, we’re not looking back at years of wasted time, wishing we followed our passion or did this or that. We will perform better, excel in the little tasks, and create more deep performance when we know we are living out our truth and passion.
You might be wondering how you know if you’re being honest with yourself or not, well I’m here to clear the air! There are a few telling signs that someone is not being honest with themselves and the first one is complaining about no accompanying action. Do you know someone who complains about how terrible their job is or their boss is but doesn’t do anything about finding a new job, they aren’t being honest with themselves because if they were, they would take action to save their happiness and create more purpose for themselves!
Another telling sign is a defensive person when it comes to the C-word…Criticism. Ouch. Look, criticism isn’t something that we all wake up and look forward to, but it is a reality within relationships, workplaces, and life, that we will have people criticise us and we will at times have to provide criticism to others. Obviously, there is a difference between criticism out of malice and criticism that comes from a place of love and wanting to see someone do better. The inability to take on criticism, especially for their betterment, shows that someone cannot be honest with themselves and accept the truth for their benefit! Are you being honest with yourself? (Be honest with yourself about the honesty question!)
Becoming More productive
Let’s talk about productivity for a minute. Productivity is about working not necessarily harder, but definitely smarter. When productivity is mentioned, we might think about work, but I think that productivity reaches into the small aspects of our life as well. The key to getting more out of time is productivity, and considering we don’t have much of this thing called time, it is essential we hash out how we can be more productive in all our settings.
Control your attention! Notice how in the math I did at the start, I didn’t even account for the amount of time we spend distracted or floundering under the weight of something? Well, it’s because we wouldn’t have very much time left if I added that in! We lose so much time to pointless distraction, and even 9 years on our phone, possibly mindlessly scrolling, is just crazy! Learning to control your attention, dividing it, accordingly, mapping out what your priorities are, is essential to being more productive and buying some of those lost minutes back before they enter the abyss.
Taking daily action is critical! How you spend your day, is how you spend your life! Think about that… It is so true! Everything moment that led to today, is just a bunch of ‘todays’ and we are responsible for how we spend them! Taking daily action towards our goals means that in the future when we reach our goals, we didn’t waste time on the way! It isn’t about mastering the staircase in one day; it is about mastering the next step in the now. Moving towards a more productive life, leads to more satisfaction and more time…isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?
How Will You Spend Your 18.9 years?
Time. Clearly, we don’t have as much as we thought, so another question for you to ask yourself and be honest about…how will you spend your 18.9 years? Do it wisely, capturing your attention at every turn, taking daily action, and living a more productive and satisfying life! Comment below how this post has changed your thoughts about time!
Hey! You're Biased! – #3 Certainty Effect
The cognitive bias of the certainty effect is when people overweight outcomes that are considered certain relative, rather than the outcomes that are deemed possible. Now you might be thinking well obviously I am going to choose something that says 100% guarantee or 100% discount but watch how this bias plays out in the following example. There are two cafés, and the first café offers a 100% free muffin with every 10th coffee you buy. The second café offers 60% off every 4th coffee, most people would choose the 100% free muffin, even if a more frequent discount that saves more money, in the long run, is available. I’ve definitely fallen for this! Have you?
Want to know more about task saturation and finding your priorities, here is a great place to start!
Al-Heeti, A. (2020). We’ll spend nearly a decade of our lives staring at our phones. CNet. https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/well-spend-nearly-a-decade-of-our-lives-staring-at-our-phones-study-says/
Bailey, C. (2017). Our lifespan is really only 17.5 years. A Life of Productivity. https://alifeofproductivity.com/our-life-span-is-only-17-5-years/
Curtis, G. (2021). Your life in numbers. Sleep Matters Club. https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/your-life-in-numbers-infographic
O’Neil, A. (2019). Life expectancy (from birth) in Australia, 1870-2020. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1041176/life-expectancy-australia-all-time/
Pacheco, K. (2021). Americans spend nearly a year doing household chores. Angi. https://www.angi.com/articles/household-chores-survey.htm
Robbins, T. (n.d.). How to be honest with yourself. Tony Robbins. https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/be-honest-with-yourself/
Thomas, M. (2021). 8 Steps to a more productive life. Maura Thomas. https://maurathomas.com/productivity/defining-productivity-for-a-more-productive-life/