100 Blocks Each Day

No person would give up even an inch of their estate, and the slightest dispute with a neighbor can mean hell to pay; yet we easily let others encroach on our lives — worse, we often pave the way for those who will take it over. No person hands out their money to passers-by, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.

— Seneca

Assuming you sleep, we are all limited to around 16 hours per day, each day. That’s the amount of time we can spend in whichever way we decide.

That’s 100 blocks of 10 minutes.

One. Hundred. It sounds like a lot. But think about it in reality:

The average American spends around 14 of those on social media; 12 on their commute to & from work; 48 of them physically in the office; 12 eating; around 6 aimlessly faffing around.

Which only leaves you with a handful of blocks left at the end of each day.

Use this next block to ask yourself:

How am I using those blocks? Do I give them as much thought as they deserve?

The pursuit of a fulfilling life requires you to do just this: to examine how you are allocating your time & to align that with activities that make you feel fulfilled.

Time is our most valuable resource, yet we spend it frivolously. We busy ourselves with trivialities. With things unimportant to us. With worries that never materialise.

“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.”

— Ryan Holiday

This may seem like the usual generic self-help advice, but it is not. It is important to recognise this profound, yet simple, point: That wasting 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there is not, in itself, problematic.

But how you approach spend those 10 minutes determines how you spend your days.

And consequently, if our life is made up of days, how you spend your days determines how you spend your life.

For those of you reading that feel like time is always slipping away from you, that there’s never enough, I ask you to stop. To stop & to think about what it is that is important to you?

What blocks of time currently bring you the most joy? And which, on the other hand, are dragging you down?

Write a list of things you want to spend those blocks on. Then compare it to yesterday. Are your dreams & your reality aligned? Or entirely out of sync?

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”

— J.M. Barrie

Assigning how you spend your time shouldn’t be about saving a block here & there. About squeezing in one extra block to learn a new skill on your commute.

Those things are important.

But more important is to see the bigger picture. To see where the bulk of your time is going?

Do you spend 30 blocks on a Friday night with people you don’t particularly care to see?

250 blocks a week on a job that makes you miserable?

60 a week on unfruitful meetings?

If so, why? And how can you change that?

Where does it all go, you ask yourself, with regret. With a sense that things are out of your control. Better to ask, instead, how you can take back control & spend your time on what is fulfilling for you.


Inspired by the infinitely better blog Waitbutwhy.com post: 100 Blocks a Day.

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Henry Latham

Henry Latham

Founder, Prod MBA

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