10 “Time Bombs” to Challenge You to Spend Your Time Better

10 rapid-fire challenges that push you to spend your time better.

Updated:

No dilly-dallying with intros this time! Let’s count down my top 10 “Time Bombs” that challenge you to spend your time better.

10. The “Singe Most Important Question in the World”

According to an investor named Jeremy Giffon, it’s this:

Why do so many people spend so much of their time on things they don’t like doing?

As hyperbolic as Jeremy’s assertion may be, I did like listening to his answers—so much so that I listened back, took notes, and summarized them on Twitter. To summarize that summary:

  1. The truth can be devastating.
  2. We perceive laziness as an enemy, not a guide.
  3. We perceive envy as a guide, not an enemy.
  4. Money misleads us.
  5. Doing what you truly love is often slow progress at low status.
  6. Existing paths are easier than our own.
  7. People are afraid to “waste” time thinking about it.

On that last point…

9. Time Well Wasted

My fourth favorite1 quote “in the world”:

“People waste years of their lives not being willing to waste hours of their lives.”

Michael Lewis

Agree with this quote? Prove it by sitting on this next time bomb…

8. The Original TikTok Challenge

One of my favorite challenges from last December’s Advent-ure Calendar:

  1. Find an analog clock.
    • If you don’t have one, go to this link on your computer at home, click “Analog” in the top right, and the “Full Screen” button below.
  2. Shut off all potential distractions.
  3. Find a comfortable seat.
  4. Watch the clock go tick-tock for 20 minutes.

7. The Delightfilling Matrix

There are four types of activities you can spend your time on: Chores, Distractions, Challenges, and Delights. Classification depends on A) How much you enjoy doing the activity, and B) How glad you are to have done it afterward. Here’s the breakdown:

Delight-filling time matrix to help you decide where to spend your time on

A perpetually perfect life wastes no time on Chores and Distractions and allocates as much as possible to Delights. And when you can’t find Delights, you take on Challenges.

Delights for me include playing with Zac, outdoor workouts, learning, writing, walking, sleeping, and chatting with friends, family, and new faces. My ratio of Delights to Chores/Distractions is pretty high!

What percentage of your time is spent on Delights, i.e., activities you enjoy doing and are glad to have done?

6. Callings Are Useful and Unusual Delights

Delights are especially useful if most other people don’t enjoy doing them, but are glad you’ve done them. If you can find such activities, you’ll have found your calling(s):

Calling matrix on spending your time usefully

So your callings are activities:

  • You like doing.
  • You’re glad to have done.
  • Others dislike doing
  • Others are glad you have done.

What might your callings be?

I like to think writing stuff like this is a calling of mine. While most people classify writing as a Chore or a Challenge, I take so much Delight in it that I’m doing it now, when I’m supposed to be on self-imposed paternity leave. My only doubt: How useful it is to you? See Time Bomb #1 below.

5. My Best, Boring Little Time Investment

Would you be willing to invest five to ten minutes a day for the following benefits?

  • Slow down the sensation of time flying by.
  • Preserve your precious memories.
  • Gain more mindfulness and accountability for how you spend your time.
  • Have a better idea of what you want to spend your time on.
  • Care less about what other people think and more about your future selves’ opinions.

If so, you might want to experiment with keeping a log of everything you do, a.k.a. “lifelogging.” I started on September 22, 2015, and am still going roughly 2,916 days later. Here’s an example of Day #1,876.

If I could travel back in time to get my 18-year-old self to implement one habit, lifelogging would be it. Better late than never.

4. 100 Minutes Well Spent

Time is money, as they say, so here’s a remix of one of Tim Ferriss’ go-to interview questions:

What recent investment of 100 minutes or less has most positively impacted your life?

My answer: (Hmm. Not so easy!) Planning my July pump challenge, the “Networkout,” which pushed me to set up some fruitful conversations with peers and readers.

Maybe more practically, What future investment of 100 minutes or less might most positively impact your life? A Challenging Chat with me?

3. How to Upcycle One Hour of Your Day

Step 1 of 3: 🌍♻︎ Spin Faster

If the world started spinning 4% faster, so you had only 23 hours every day, what would cut out?

✋ Think of your answer before moving to Step 2.

Step 2 of 3: 🌍♻︎ Spin Slower

If the world’s spinning slowed down to give you 25 hours every day, what would you do with those extra 60 minutes?

✋ Think of your answer before moving to Step 3.

Step 3 of 3: 🌍♻︎ Remix

Bring the world’s spinning back to normal (about 1,000 miles an hour if you’re at the equator!). Why not swap your answer to Step 1 with your answer to Part 2?

2. Your Deathbed’s Just One Bed

I’m not much of a fan of the popular decision-making guide of imagining what you’ll think on your deathbed. Before I lie on my deathbed, I hope to sleep on different beds at least 18,000 times. Why don’t those 17,999 Chrises get a say?

My preferred decision-maker:

Imagine every 18,000 Future You had a vote. What action would win the most overwhelming majority approval?

Or imagine those Future Yous filling a stadium. What could you do to get the loudest cheer?

Hypocritically, I’m not convinced that writing this during my self-imposed paternity leave is the best decision.

1. Final Time Saver

I hope reading the above was worth your time. That depends:

Are you going to do anything different based on what you’ve read? Or are you going to move on to your next email and soon forget about this?

If the latter, and if that’s been your reaction to all previous posts from me, here’s a surefire way to save yourself some time: Unsubscribe.

I hope you don’t, though. Even if none of these time bombs left a mark on you, I hope they inspire you to create your own that will help you spend your time better.

More on this:
  1. For whatever it’s worth, these three quotes currently top my power rankings:

    1. “It’s easier to act your way to a new way of thinking than think your way to a new way of acting.” – Jerry Sternin
    2. “He who has a Why can bear almost any How” – Friedrich Nietzsche
    3. “The advice you don’t want to hear is often the advice you need.” – Oliver Burkeman.

    and 5. “Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard.

    Also, it’s a fun distraction to ask ChatGPT to psychoanalyze you based on your favorite quotes. ↩︎
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👋 I'm Chris. Everything you read on TheZag.com is my fault. This site is like a gym for your comfort zone, full of challenges to make your status quo sexier. Join my 'Consider This' newsletter for a fun new challenge every 10 days. Try it!

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