I saw a TV commercial yesterday for a new movie coming out in a few weeks, called In Time, where time is the currency. It looks like everyone has a certain bank account of time that they can spend. So for example, a cup of coffee costs you four minutes of life. I’m sure there’s more to this action movie than that, but the commercial, on top of all the articles about and tributes to Steve Jobs I’ve read this week, got me thinking.
What if you measured the value of everything you did against how much of your life it would take? Would you make different decisions or decide differently? Think about evaluating a new project not by how much money you’ll make from it, but by how many hours of your life you’ll be giving up for it.
What if instead of assuming you have “forever,” you came from a place where you worked on a shorter time frame that makes weighing every decision on the time factor real, let’s say one year. So you have one year to spend – 8760 hours – 525,600 minutes. Would you use your time more wisely? Spend it more on what really matters to you and what brings you enjoyment?
Is trolling the aisles and racks of Ross for a bargain a good trade of your time for the savings? It might be if you enjoy the hunt. Is Facebook worthy of the five or ten hours of your life you give it each week? Is working an extra two hours tonight more fun than playing with your child? Constantly ask yourself if what you’re about to do is worthy of your life.
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something…” ~ Steve Jobs
People who’ve been diagnosed with life threatening diseases go through this process of evaluation, but you don’t have to have a diagnosis to put it to work. Maybe a year is even too long a time frame. Start with a month, or even a week. Evaluate from this new perspective and see what happens. See how your choices change. It’s your life. How will you spend the currency?