I guarantee you have more spare time than you think you do

I think I’m busy.

I have a full time job, to which I spend 15 hours a week commuting to and from.

I have a wife and five children.

I write articles here on Medium, and for a couple of business advice websites, as well as being an active photographer

I’m a mentor for a charity, supporting kids figure out what they should study and what career they want.

I’m renovating the lower ground floor of my house, so that my in-laws can move in.

And I’m in the early stages of starting a business with a friend.

So I can’t possibly have any spare time. Can I?

Well, according to my iPhone I have.

Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

It tells me that I’ve spent over 2 hours in the past week playing Soccer Stars, another hour on Facebook, and a further hour playing a game called 1010!.

That’s 4 hours of doing nothing productive, just in the past week.

So despite all the things I do fit into my week, there’s half a working day where I could be reading a novel, undertaking an online training course, building up my network, or just spending quality time with the ones that I love.

How much spare time do you actually have? Check it now.

If you’ve got an iPhone, go to settings and scroll down to the battery option. Give it a minute to load up the data and then rather than leave it on the last 24 hours, click the option to show the last 7 days. Just next to that will be a picture of a clock, so click on that as well and it will change the percentages to actual time.

If you’ve got an Android phone, I’m sorry, I don’t know where to find the information, but you can download a free apps like App Usage to give you the same information.

Have you checked? No? We’ll wait.

Great. Now you have the number, how much time have you spent on apps that haven’t really positively contributed to your life? Games, social media, that kind of thing.

Are you like me and have a spare 4 hours hiding away in your week? Or is it more like 8 hours? Or even more?

4 hours a week is about 200 hours a year. 8 hours a week is about 400 hours.

What could you do with 400 hours extra in a year?

Learn a language, whether it be Spanish or JavaScript.

Read 40 books, or everything Jason Bourne creator Robert Ludlum wrote.

Walk 1200 miles, or 40% of the way from New York to LA.

Start a side hustle? Visit your grandparents? Exercise? Volunteer? The list is endless.

Don’t tell me that you’ve not got any time. You do, but you’re currently spending it doing something that might feel good at the time but which ultimately isn’t adding much value to your life.

Keep checking your phone usage regularly, as its a good indicator of whether you’re in control of your life, or whether your life is in control of you.

Written by

Helping people kick start their product management career at gettingstartedinproduct.com * Product person at Watchfinder

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