You are losing thousands of hours every year without realising it. One small change can prevent much of that. The best part? It’s small, easy, and barely perceivable. I was told this many years ago and it’s been the single most important thing that I have implemented into my life. It has rewarded me with so much more time to invest into other activities. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but thought it was worth addressing by itself due to its importance.
I recently watched the entirety of the TV show, Impractical Jokers. To go through every episode according to Bingeclock, it takes 127 hours which is just over 4 and a half days. I was able to cut this down by 25 hours. To knock off an entire day’s worth of watch time I simply sped it up by 20%. You might be thinking that 20% would be too fast and any dialogue would sound like gibberish. But this is not the case. You’re compressing 10 seconds into 8. If you show someone something that’s been sped up by 20%, they don’t even realise it. It’s that unobtrusive.
I saved 25.5 hours over a couple months by speeding it up by 20%. Some videos are easy to watch at double the speed. Here are a list of things I regularly watch/listen to at double speed:
Cooking videos (a must)
Documentaries/info videos on youtube
This technique can be used for anything. It’s easy, and I’ll prove it to you. Watch this cooking video at 2x speed and tell me if you missed anything. You won’t have. If you need to pause to read the ingredients - no problem, people do that at regular speed anyway.
Do you really need to spend 10 seconds watching them pour in the mayonnaise?
Won’t this hurt my comprehension?
Short answer. No. Longer answer? No. And I have two reasons to back this up. One is scientific, the other is… Not so much.
Firstly, the science. When people think, usually an internal voice says every word inside their mind. But, our comprehension speed (understanding and taking in the information) is much better than this. If someone speaks to you faster than your thinking speed you’ll still be able to understand them. Look at the list below.
Most conversations are held between 120 - 150 words per minute. Commentators can speak at double the speed. Do you struggle to understand what they say while watching the game? Chances are you can grasp what’s being shown on the television while also comprehending what the commentators are saying. So your comprehension speed is faster than your talking speed, listening speed and thinking speed.
Now hear me out on this next part. I haven’t seen any science to back this up, but I’ve heard people talk about this and it makes sense to me. One of the reasons we have a lapse in concentration is because our brains aren’t getting enough stimulation. In other words, you’re bored. If you’re driving in a slow zone, your mind is likely to wander. Compared that to if you were in a car racing around a track. Your mind would be fully engaged and focused on driving. You won’t have many unnecessary thoughts entering your consciousness.
Same with listening or watching something. There will be parts which aren’t as engaging. This is when your mind is likely to drift. What you’re looking for are the parts that give you a strong emotional reaction, the more times you become emotionally invested, the less likely it is you’ll lose concentration. Which is why when you speed it up you’ll hit those interesting parts more often and you’ll become more engaged overall. You’re comprehending and absorbing more, not less.
Apply this to everything.
Look to see if you can identify places where you might be wasting time (do NOT cut back on sleep, exercise or healthy eating). I have a real problem with getting out of bed in the morning. I can spend up to an hour and half lying in bed scrolling through my phone, it’s a terrible habit. This is an obvious time waster, but there are many not-so-obvious ones as well.
For instance, I calculated how much time I was wasting by having 30 minute showers compared to 10 minute showers. How much time was wasted for that extra 20 minutes? 20 minutes x 7 days a week. 140 minutes. To help realise how serious this is, that’s 2 hours a week that I could have been using for seeing friends, catching up on sleep or watching TV. It had been taken away from me. I no longer owned that 2 hours.
“Eh, 2 hours a week? Big deal.”
Big deal? BIG DEAL??? That’s 104 hours a year. That’s 4 and a quarter days that’s being stolen.
I now put a timer on to try keep my showers as short as possible.
I consume at least one hour’s worth of podcast every day. It’s an hour’s WORTH, but it’s compressed into half an hour. I’m saving 30 minutes a day by speeding it up. You say, “I can’t be bothered speeding it up” I say: “I can’t be bothered losing 7 and a half days a year”. I hope I have demonstrated how these things can add up over time.
Don’t think of it as a one time thing. If you do it once, you’ll save a bit of time which is barely worth it. But if you do this consistently, it adds up quickly. People don’t tend to do this because the results are not immediately felt. But do some basic calculations like I have done and see how much free time you are losing. If that time was granted back to you, what would you do with it?