The wise have rightly said that “how you spend your day is how you spend your life.” It makes a lot of sense: the habits and the work happening (or not happening) day by day come very quickly to make up a life.
Thinking about each 24 hours like this can have pretty profound effects on your ambitions for each day. But I’d like to propose one more concept to clarify and focus our use of time.
We talk about “spending time” a lot. I think the concept is right, but not right enough. “Spending time” is not a useful concept for long-range thinking. Since we can divide time up into such small units – seconds, minutes, etc – it’s easy to imagine ourselves as having a whole lot of it to spend.
But just as our days make up our lives, so do our seconds and minutes. We should think of “spending time” in the terms of “spending life.”
You aren’t just “spending time playing video games.” You’re spending your life – or at least part of it – playing video games. Sounds a lot worse when you put it that way, huh?
You aren’t “spending time with stupid, lazy friends.” You’re spending your life with stupid, lazy friends. What a lame way to spend your life.
There’s a flip side, too. You aren’t “spending time” helping to improve your community. You’re “spending life” helping to improve your community.
When we talk about “spending days” and “spending time” it helps to zoom out in both cases to see the big picture. When we do that, we see how much each moment counts for making a good life in toto.