How to Make the Most of Your time

A look at the mistakes we make in our perception of time

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Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

here are two very distinct, wildly different ways of looking at the spare time we have in the world. How we view that time can be the difference between a life full of experience vs a life full of regrets.

The majority of the world is facing a weird, strange reality. Which has led many to think a little more deeply about what seemed so normal — and simply not noteworthy until the beginning of the year.

But for many of us, we are finding we have an incredible amount of spare time on our hands. It is now more than ever that is important to look retrospectively and decide how we want to use that time.

Just Killing Time

I’ve been reading a small book called The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It’s short but powerful.

The story revolves around the ‘prophet’ who longs to return to his native land after living in another for twelve years. The book begins with a ship arriving to take the prophet back to his land.

As he is leaving, the people of the community that he has belonged to for the past twelve years come and ask him questions from love and marriage, to time and freedom.

One of those questions is about friendship [1]. There is one part in particular that caught my attention.

“For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.”

Gibran’s point is that we should not be looking to spend time with our friends in order to satisfy our boredom — instead, with our friends, we should be looking to elevate the experience of life.

It is a fascinating truth — and something which for me was an eye-opener.

If we can apply this rule to our friendships, why not to our own spare time?

What is described as killing time and living life will be different for every person reading this, so I can only speak for myself.

Nonetheless, I know that excessively watching Netflix or playing video games is something I would do to kill time — not live life.

Changing Perspective

If we instead look at how to best live life in our spare hours rather than kill time it can make a world of difference.

When it is the evening hours, rather than turning on the TV — why don’t we ask ourselves how we can use this time to better live life?

Our options are temporarily limited due to the current pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have options.

It may be as simple as learning more about the world through the window of a book. Or learning a new skill to broaden our horizons.

Switching our view on spare time from ‘time to kill’ to ‘time to live’, at the very least is an interesting thought experiment — and at the very best can change how we live our lives.


[1] K. Gibran, On Friendship, The Prophet (1923).

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Data scientist learning and writing about everything.

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