The other day I used a command in an online game I play to unwind. It told me I played the game for over 4,600 hours over the past 5 years. That works out to be 6.4 months solid just sitting in front of a computer. I have nothing to show for it either other than a few online friends and hand-eye coordination.
It is amazing how we use our time so ineffectively. I have many projects I have spent many hours and never complete them. Most end up being deleted or lost. Gaming is my vice. I rarely watch television; when I do I am usually drawing, writing, or reading as well. I have lost so many hours to gaming it is staggering when I think of it.
Time is limited. That awareness is key to using time well. Since the realization struck me, I have found myself naturally losing interest in gaming and my little television watching in favor or writing this blog, painting, programming, and other constructive hobbies. Don’t get me wrong. Gaming and television are excellent ways to relax. The problem is when they dominate your time as they did/do mine. It is rather amazing how death can be such a motivation to work in hobbies and the things that bring true joy.
Television and gaming is often used as a form of escapism. I am guilty of that. I see many gamers get so involved that they shut out people and lose their other hobbies. It becomes their life. When the servers are shut off, those hours are just gone. Very little real experience is had. Hobbies such as painting, writing, drawing, sewing, wood crafting, etc are enriching. They leave a lasting benefit; they develop the mind and cultivate patience.
Much of our time is spent working. Jobs are important, but they shouldn’t determine your life. Our time is far more precious than money. Each moment that passes is gone. I feel terribly sad for people who spend their lives working at jobs that do not benefit humanity. Work can define a person in ways that are positive or negative, but it is not who they are. If a person lacks compassion, all the money in the world means nothing. For one, they work too much to spend it. For another, money does not follow you to the grave. It leaves no real legacy.
The best way to use your time well is to cultivate the awareness of your own inevitable death. I think of my death every night as I fall asleep. While this seems morbid, the realization allows you to spend your time much more wisely. It provides motivation to act and enjoy life. It provides motivation for you to pursue the hobbies that give you joy without worrying about what other people think.