Monday, 12 December 2016

Getting Out More

Once or twice a year - traditionally at New Year - I make some kind of review of my life and try to introduce some kind of change, even if only a temporary one and even if only a small one.I think it helps if you try to look at your life from outside. Even statistics can help.

There are 365 days in the year and so there are 8760 hours in the year. Aware of the fact that I now spend more time literally at home, in my flat, I tried to work out just how much time. In the past, I reckoned to spend maybe 30 nights a year away from home, mostly for work, but that figure has now dropped to 20 or even less. Then I thought about my daily routine if I am at home. If I am well and unless the weather is really horrible, I will go out every day. But sometimes this is only for a short period - a brisk morning walk over and done with in 30 or 40 minutes and then later a stroll to the local shops which might take the same amount of time. Even allowing for day trips and evening outings, the statistics still end up telling me that I spend about 85% of all those 8760 hours physically inside my flat. That's a lot to do with working from home, but also to do with age and temperament. I am sure I should get out more, but ...

It's a good job I really like the flat - modern, top floor, quiet, private, sunny with a tiny bit of a sea view. But if I am spending so much time at home, then maybe the New Year's Resolution should be to re-decorate and re-carpet. Or to improve the desk lamps and table lamps which I work under and which are actually pretty useless. The bed and the bedclothes are very satisfactory and that's relevant to a very big chunk of my time - I sleep more now, as much as nine hours, and if you compute from that it comes out that I spend about 35% of all those 8760 hours in my own bed - I exclude the  beds I sleep in on those 20 nights away. How many of us convert that sort of figure into a luxurious bed? It's surely justified, even if my 35% drops to your 25%.

Of course, I see it as rather a privilege that I spend so much time at home. Suppose I lived in Brighton and commuted to work in London.My home to office journey is unlikely to be less than 90 minutes and more likely 120 minutes, so three to four hours of commute each day, five days a week, forty six weeks of the year for a full-time worker with a decent holiday package. Take the lowest figure of 3 hours per day, then that amounts to 8% of 8760 hours. Take the 4 hour figure, and it amounts to over 10%.  Who would want to spend 10% of their life commuting on crowded trains which are often late and cancelled, pushing up the percentage figure even higher. If you take out sleeping time, those 8 and 10% figures convert to 12% and 15% percent. Life is too short to want to spend 15% of your waking hours getting to a train station,getting on a crowded train, getting off and getting to the office. In any other country except the United Kingdom, figures like those would be a scandal and governments would be busy building high speed train lines and building homes closer to places of work.

If I spend 10% of my total time reading, then that is 876 hours per year. If it takes eight to ten hours to read a book, then I should be able to read a couple of books each week, every week of the year. That's probably what I achieve nowadays and some of them get reviewed at www.readingthisbook.com .

Applied to your own life, it seems that even simple statistics can yield interesting insights




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