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Work Less and Party More

by: JD

by JD on November 16, 2010

We all want more time for the things we like to do. And the reality is that the more time you spend working, the less time you will spend doing what you’d rather be doing (which is probably almost anything but working). But creating more time for yourself isn’t an easy task. Life is demanding, and we have many responsibilities.

But that isn’t an excuse to settle for a lifestyle that doesn’t give you the freedom of time you’re looking for. After all, time is life. There is no separation of the two. If you are living and breathing, time is passing. If you are dead, no more time (as far as I can tell from the land of the living). Even more importantly, time is finite. At some point, your time is up, and you die (sorry).

Money can be re-acquired; houses can be rebuilt. New relationships can be cultivated, and old ones can be repaired.

Even health (being a close second to your time in terms of importance) can often be restored if lost. But time is a one-shot deal. The seconds you’ve got between now and when the bus hits you are fixed. You can’t avoid or escape the bus, so the most urgent question of your life is this:

How will you spend the time you have and what will you do with it?

I can’t actually answer that question for you, but I’m pretty sure that the ideal use of your time and life doesn’t involve working 40-60 hours per week. I know mine doesn’t.

How Much Time do We Actually Have?

Let’s say you live for 80 years. How much of that time do you get to do what you want to do, or what’s important to you, i.e., spend time with your family, build the boat, run, play poker, travel, etc…?

Well, first you lose the first 18 years of your life to being young, school, and just generally growing up. While those can be wonderful years of life, they aren’t that self-directed for most people. Then, let’s take off the last 10 years. By 70 years of age, many of the things you could have enjoyed are now impossible as a result of your age.

So, we’re down to 52 years. Eight hours a day will be lost to sleep, so that means we lose 17 more years. Now we’re down to 35 years.

Shit! We have to work! Ok, well that’s alright. Right? 40 to 60 hours a week (and let’s be honest, who actually works 40 hours a week in the U.S.) equates to somewhere around 8 to 15 years depending on how much you work. Then there’s eating, taking care of the kids, watching TV, driving, napping, exercising, studying, etc… We quickly go from 35 years to do whatever we want with down to, say… 15, 10, maybe even 5?

I hope this has been a bit surprising to you. I want you to understand that you probably have a decade (or less) of actual waking life to do – something. Put enough hours into video games and idle entertainment and that number shrinks (drastically).

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really willing to lose 8 to 15 years of my life working if I don’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, life requires a certain level of maintenance in order to stay healthy and enjoyable. You need food, sleep, safety, shelter and time for relaxation. And in a monetized society, those needs are largely met by earning cash.

But how much cash do we actually need? And what price in time should we have to pay in order to earn it? In order to live?

I would argue that, in today’s World, it is no longer necessary to work for half (or more) of your productive time.

So why do we accept that so much of our time and energy goes towards earning money? If money is meant to help us maintain our lives, shouldn’t the acquisition of it serve us, not imprison us? I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect to spend only 5-20% of your time “working”, in the conventional sense of the word.

And you know what? There are people doing it.

How to Party More

I’m using “party” in a very general sense. I just thought the title was funny.

So, when I say “party”, I simply mean doing whatever it is that you want to do.

Everyone thinks they’ve got to start some multi-million dollar business in order to relax on a beach somewhere or travel. That simply isn’t true.

If you save up a few thousand dollars you could easily travel for a year, maybe more.

By living in my truck, I drastically reduced the amount of money that was necessary to keep me alive, fed, and happy. And to be honest with you, my social life didn’t change much during that period. I still went out, saw movies, had drinks, and just generally had fun.

So, if you want to work less and party more, you have two basic options:

1. Save up some money, quit your job and start doing something fun. When the money is gone, go back to work (probably somewhere else).

2. Reduce your overhead and cut back on all the stuff that requires you to earn a huge salary.

Sell the boat, the Iphone, and the $30,000 car. Take your life back.

If you’re single, you can easily live on $1,000 – $1500 a month. I’ve done it. Everett Bouge has done it. You can do it too.

And you know what you’ll get as a reward? Time. Time to do what you want.

I can’t imagine a better deal than that.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Adventure-Some Matthew November 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Your countdown was quite an eye-opener! I’d never looked at my life in that way and those numbers are quite revealing.

I have wondered about the time I have available to me. I’m nearly 30. Based on Dad, that’s half of my life-span. Based on Mom’s dad, that’s 1/3. Either way, I don’t have time to waste on things like tv and other idle entertainment.

Alex November 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Another great post. I know all this stuff but it’s inspiring to read it anyway.

John DeVries November 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Matthew,

Agreed! Selling my TV was one of the best decisions I ever made. People ask me all the time if I’ve seen this show or that, and I’m like, “well, no… I don’t have a TV”. It’s amazing how shocking that seems to some people.

I’m glad you enjoyed this one man. Use your life well, do something awesome, and make sure I know about it! Looks like you’ve already got a good start.

John DeVries November 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Alex,

Thanks man. I hope that as this site grows that it will inspire people to do all kinds of things. Thanks for reading, posting, and just generally being interested.

Minimalist4Life November 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm

John,

Nice post! It’s incredible how this kind of number crunching can be a wake up call.

I like your definition of “party more”. Time is the one thing we NEVER get back…so we shouldn’t waste a minute of it doing something we don’t want to do.

Thanks for the reminder…and the inspiration.

John DeVries November 17, 2010 at 6:20 am

Maria,

Thanks! You know, when I tell people that I’m quitting work and leaving to travel etc… I’m startled at how many of them respond with, “What?” or even worse, “Why?”.

Sometimes I just want to slap them. This is your life! Do you really want to just watch it go by? Wake up.

Don’t get my wrong, different strokes for different folks. If you love your job and your family and wouldn’t take anything less that’s awesome, but if you aspire to something, you should make it happen. Or at least try your damndest.

Alex November 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I dumped my Dish Network about 5 years ago because I never watched it. I have no TV now and it’s great. I do feel out of the loop every now and then. Especially when coworkers or friends ask me if I’ve seen the latest movie, which I haven’t even heard of.

When most people are watching TV I’m finding ways to make extra money on the side. So far I’ve gotten to the point where I’m paying all my bills with the “side” income. My job paycheck goes right into savings for future adventures. So what I’m trying to say is TV costs a lot more than the $50/month the programming costs. It costs you your productive time, which John pointed out is the most valuable thing in the universe.

John DeVries November 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm

You’re right man. TV can easily drain a significant portion of your life. I do love movies though, I still hit the theater every month or so.

Whenever something big happens in the media I find out via the grapevine anyway.

That’s awesome that you’ve managed to create that much “side” income. I’m working on a few things now that I hope will be profitable in the next few months. We’ll see.

VagabondDave November 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

All so true! I always tell people I feel exceptionally young at 22 because im only ’4′ un-guided years old.

I had a friend ask me if i was going to miss my Xbox 360 I just sold and I said “No, I haven’t even had a TV to play it on for the last 2 months” He was dumbfounded.

And as far as monthly budget goes, I’ve only been spending $800 and saving the rest!

idk about selling iPhones though..that’s just crazytalk.

John DeVries November 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Selling the Xbox was one of the best decisions of my life. But you’re right, people just don’t get the ‘no TV’ thing.

$800 is pretty impressive dude. Not bad.

“idk about selling iPhones though..that’s just crazytalk.”

lmao.

Mike Stankavich November 23, 2010 at 8:30 am

John, you are so very right. Life is short, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I caught a great link from Marissa Bracke’s blog a while back. It’s written by a hospice care worker who takes care of people during the last weeks of their life. Check out http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html. It’s just as you say – you only get one life. Make the most of it, live fully while you’re here.

One great thing about my recent move to the Philippines was that I completely broke the TV habit. But I’m with VagabondDave on the iPhone – that’s crazy talk :) Then again, it does free up $80 per month or so. Something to think about…

John DeVries November 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

Thanks Mike.

I have read that I think. Actually, I might have found it via – you… not sure. Either way. I loved it and think it’s worth a Re-Tweet. Gonna go do that right now.

Thanks for reading!

Oh, and I don’t own an Iphone, so I guess I can’t talk. ;-)

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