Almost Everything is Unimportant

Humans spend an incredible amount of time everyday on activities that don’t matter. Most of these activities involve technology in some way. Constantly checking social media for updates from people we don’t care about, watching news that doesn’t impact our life in any way, watching TV shows that add no value to our life, reading magazines about celebrities whose lives are truly irrelevant to us and our well-being. These activities don’t add value or meaning to our life. They don’t bring us lasting happiness. And yet we spend an absurd amount of time on these things.

Here’s a look at how the average American spends their time:


3 - Picture 1

Work-related stuff is slightly more important than all the other unimportant activities we typically spend every waking minute looking at. We typically spend quite a lot of time at work. This includes meetings, emails, projects, deadlines, etc. These activities matter because they help us earn income, which is necessary if we want to gain financial independence – the main tool we can use to ultimately gain freedom. But rarely do work-related activities contribute much to our sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with life.

The aspects of our life that truly matter – relationships, health, education, etc. are typically not given the time they deserve on a daily basis. We know these things are important and vital in our life. It’s not a secret. But we simply can’t find the time to work on them. Our time is instead spent on pointless entertainment and our energy is spent on things that don’t enhance our life at all.

 But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We simply need to make our life look like this instead:

American Life

 Notice in this chart we completely eliminate all pointless media and entertainment that the average American spends hours upon hours viewing each day. I’m not saying that all media and entertainment sources are inherently bad. But they can be damaging when they take away our time spent on other happiness-maximizing activities like hanging out with people we love, exercising, reading, etc.

The benefit of cutting out activities that “don’t matter” is that we gain back so much time in our day that we previously didn’t have. It has been said that “life is simple. We make it hard.” The way to make life simple again is by only doing activities that enhance our life in some way. Work is sometimes necessary and we don’t always feel like getting up early and going to the office, but it does provide us with income. On the other hand, most forms of media and entertainment don’t have any benefits and simply consume our time. So these are the activities we have the most ability to cut out of our life.

Almost everything we see in every day life – advertisements, magazines, reality TV shows, social media updates – is unimportant. It doesn’t affect our life in any way. And yet these are the things that occupy the majority of our day. If we can learn to slowly cut back on these activities and instead shift our energy and focus towards happiness-maximizing activities, we will notice something incredible: our life will slow down and we will find more joy.

2 Replies to “Almost Everything is Unimportant”

  1. I couldn’t agree more, Zach. This post reminds me of the things The Minimalists constantly talk about.

    I think that if we all spent less time consuming and used that time instead to make creative posts like this for others to learn from, we’d be in a much better position as a whole.

    Thanks for your wisdom.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Daryl! I think it’s important to constantly ask ourselves if we’re spending time on what matters or if we’re letting our days be consumed with pointless, unimportant information. The less time we worry about consuming, the more time we have for creating.

      Creating > Consuming

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