As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Most adults know that it flies even when you’re not having fun–and that the speed that time goes by seems to increase as we get older.
Since our time is limited, it’s natural to wonder how much time we actually have to do the things we want to do and how to make the most of the time we do have.
How Many Minutes in 365 Days?
When minutes race by every day, it may seem like there are too few of them, but the reality is that every year, there are 525,600 minutes (just like the hit song from Rent says!).
Why is an Hour Divided into 60 Minutes?
At first glance, the way we divide time makes little sense. Why is a day divided into 24 hours, and each hour and minute divided by 60? The answer lies in ancient history and dates back thousands of years. It is perhaps surprising that our methods of timekeeping have been in place for so long and have not been meaningfully updated in the modern era.
The ancient Egyptians used a duodecimal system that has a base of 12. Because they considered day and night to be separate things, they divided light and darkness into 12 hours each. Later, the ancient Babylonians, who used a sexagesimal (base 60) system, divided the hours of night and day into 60 units, each of which was then further subdivided into 60. That’s where we got our system of minutes and seconds.
How to Calculate the Minutes in Our Lives
If there are 525,600 minutes in a year, how many minutes do we live through in our lives? The average lifespan in the United States is 76.60 years as of 2021. If we multiply that out, that means there are 40,260,960 minutes in the average lifetime.
How Many Minutes Are in 5 Years?
In every five-year period, we live through 2,628,000 minutes. That might seem like a lot, yet many of us look back and feel that five years goes by very quickly.
How Many Minutes in 10 Years?
In 10 years, we live through 5,256,000 minutes. When we look at numbers that high, it might seem that we have all the time in the world. But how many of us feel that we are making the most of our time?
How Much Time Do People Spend Working?
It’s common for people in the United States to work long hours and prioritize productivity over leisure time. When contemplating the number of minutes in a year, it may be useful to ask how much of that time we spend working.
According to the OECD, the average American works 1,767 hours per year. That works out to 106,020 minutes. That might not seem like much, but keep in mind that’s over 20% of our total time. Some people, particularly those who work low-income jobs, may need to work several jobs to make ends meet and may spend far more than the average amount of time at work.
How Can People Use Their Time More Productively?
Because time passes quickly, you may find yourself asking what we can do to manage our time better and improve our productivity without increasing the time we spend at work. Here are some suggestions.
- Track time for a few days. It’s easy to waste time when you’re not sure how you’re spending it. Tracking the time you spend on work and other activities can help you identify ways to maximize the time you have.
- Prioritize difficult tasks. Most of us have a time of day when we’re mentally at our sharpest. One way to use your time productively is to tackle the most complicated tasks when your brain is at its freshest.
- Avoid multitasking. Multitasking might seem like a time-saver but in fact, the opposite can be true. You’ll spend less time working if you focus on one task and complete it before starting something new.
- Create a schedule. Scheduling time might seem limiting, but the truth is that it can help you make the most of your time by making you aware of its passing.
- Group similar tasks together. Most of us have had the experience of getting into a groove with something repetitive and getting it done quickly. Use that tendency to group similar tasks together and complete them faster than you would otherwise.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. A technique used by both traditional employees and freelancers is the Pomodoro technique. To use it, set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on a single task (or several short tasks.) When you’re done, take a five-minute break and then repeat.
Creative time management can help you spend less time working and more time doing the things you love to do. It also mean that when your employer consider employee’s productivity, you are likely to come out on top and get that promotion.
Make the Most of the Time You Have
What will you do with your 525,600 minutes per year? You may need to spend more than a fifth of it working but that still leaves plenty of time for your family, friends, entertainment, learning, and sleep.