The Less “Dead Time” You Have the Higher Your Quality of Life Will Be
In Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the Enemy he tells the story of How Malcolm X, transformed his life, and subsequently the impact he made in the world, through his time in prison.
Holiday goes on to share how many others such as Francis Scott Key, Walt Disney, Ian Fleming, and others created substantial works in times when they could not do anything else due to circumstances. The topic Holiday addresses is what he refers to as “Dead Time.” He then compares this to what he calls “Alive Time,” which is simply using the time in a positive way. All through history, notable people, actually became notable as a result of time spent in some temporary state of being holed-up due to some circumstance. In some cases, for many years and in others for just a few months.
It Begins With Being Purposeful
Being purposeful, is not the same thing as having a “Purpose.” While I believe we all have a purpose, and are here to make a specific contribution for the betterment of the world in some way, this takes a long time to figure out for most people, and lots of people go to their grave never having discovered it.
Being purposeful starts with wanting to do the best you can with the time you are blessed with. This is essentially what the “3 Circles Living” platform is all about, as it starts with living proactively in your priorities. When you are purposeful about how you use your time, you turn all time into “Alive Time” regardless of what it is you are doing. This has to start with eliminating the “Dead Time.”
For most of us “Dead Time” is not too hard to find. This is the time that is not contributing a “net positive” to our life. When I teach prioritization and time-utilization I use a priorities quadrant to show where time is spent and to help my students/participants/coaching clients awaken to where their time goes and how to create the process of reallocating into all “net-positive” time.
The quadrant of spending time doing things that are essentially “Dead Time” is the quadrant I call the “Chicken.” It’s where time is being spent on things that are not important and not urgent. Essentially a waste of time (Dead Time). Any time spent in this quadrant is hurting every corner of your life.
FUN is Essential
One point of confusion is things that are purely for pleasure or fun. Without a deeper understanding it could be construed that playing a game or watching Netflix is a waste of time. This is absolutely not true.
If this is what you do for enjoyment it is essential for your quality of life. It feeds your soul and refreshes you. It is when you do pleasure activities to excess instead of doing the other things that are important that you turn this into a “net-negative.” The pleasure you are receiving is being out-weighed by the avoidance impact. You may not feel it in the moment (or you may), but you will definitely endure the consequences at a later date as the things that you are ignoring begin to become major problems.
I plan fun activities daily. I crab, fish, read, play with the dogs, kayak, paddle-board, and follow sports. These are my personal investments in myself of purpose. I enjoy them and they refresh me. If I chose to do them to excess instead of writing a blog, or working on my business, or spending time with my family, I would be turning them into “Dead Time” because I would be eliminating the positive impact.
Make a Plan and Live the Plan
In the latter part of “3 Circles Living” I give a basic outline for planning and executing your life to make the way you use your time purposeful. In my first book “Live Full, Live Well” I give extremely deep detail on planning and prioritizing. Either book will help you significantly.
When you function with purposeful intent in maximizing your time, you also get the other component of “Alive Time,” and that is being in the moment. All around you are things to appreciate and enjoy, including the experience of whatever you are doing in the moment. When you are purposeful and operating with a road map, you don’t have to think, or worry, as much about anything else because the things that matter are accounted for. Living and experiencing the moments in whatever you are doing IS being alive.
One Last Thing
The current craziness in the world involving COVID has led many people to be much more limited in what they can physically do while also stopping many people from being able to work in a way they could before and in some cases, at all.
If you simply sit in your home, and lament what you cannot do, you are turning this time in your life into “Dead Time.” When in fact, this is an opportunity for you. If you are of reasonably sound mind, then you are free to use your imagination, and the enormous amount of information resources available to you, to make a giant step into the future.
What have you always wanted to do? What is on your heart to do? What are you interested in? What do you want to improve?
Don’t waste your precious life pretending you are in prison. You aren’t. Many have shown that even prison can be freeing and used as a starting point for a life of impact. Too many people imprison themselves using the walls of their comfort zone. Break these walls down and get to work on something that matters.
LIVE. Be Truly Alive.
I hope you found this helpful. Please share with others if you believe they would benefit.
Here is a recent video on How to Design an Awesome Life
If you need some coaching reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
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