How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

Treat Thompson



This is a republishing of The Steady Fella Newsletter. Every week readers use the timeless insights on passion, productivity, philosophy, and happiness from this newsletter to build towards the life they want.

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Time is our most valuable resource; it's the raw material of our lives.

Wherever we allocate it, our lives manifest accordingly. If you spend 12 hours a day playing the guitar, you'll most likely become a great guitarist. If you don't spend any time doing physical activities, you most likely won't be fit.

The uniqueness of time is that we're forced to spend it. From the moment we're born, our timer starts involuntarily ticking. We can't pause the timer, we can't save some time for later, and we can't buy more time. The only thing we control is how to use it. The only guarantee is that eventually, it will run out.

That being said, it becomes incredibly important to spend your time in a way that lets you get the most out of life.

Our problem is that we act like we're emperors of time. The time we waste on distractions and unfulfilling commitments would make you think we have centuries to live.

We often don't understand the value of time until it's too late. So rather than wait until I get there, I take advice from figures I respect, elders in my life, and books.

My overarching approach is to create a ranked list of priorities and allocate my time respectively. In doing so I create a life I want and I only work towards the things I care about.

In addition to that, here are 3 lessons that Arnold Bennett writes in his book, "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day", published in 1908.

Don't let 1/3 of your day be the master of the other 2/3

  • We view our work life in an unhealthy manner. We treat 9 am to 5 pm as our whole day, and the morning before work and the evening after work, as the prologue and epilogue. We look at our free time as leftovers.
  • Unless your job or business gives you maximum satisfaction and fulfillment, your work isn't your life. Don't intertwine the two and make your job your master.

Seek fulfillment in a small business, side project, hobby, or study.

  • He recommends doing this for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes per weekday. He says these 7 and a half hours every week "quicken the whole life of the week, add zest to it, and increase the interest which you feel in even the most banal occupations."
  • As a tip, he says the biggest danger to avoid is not starting or doing too much at once. He says, “let the pace of the first lap be absurdly slow, but let it be as regular as possible.”

Pursue your dreams even if they fail

  • One of the most common regrets of the elderly is the things they neglected to do. Someone who fails may be upset about their unfulfilled aspiration, but they won't be tormented in the same way as someone who never tried.

We only have 24 hours a day to maintain our health and fitness, create quality relationships, pursue fulfillment, achieve a high quality of life, have fun, and reach personal goals. So we should be intentional with spending it.

This weeks quote

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough ... to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. - Seneca

Seneca is saying that life is long enough to achieve whatever we want. It just feels short because we don't invest our time well.

This weeks question

Is your allocation of time creating the life you want?