I am addicted to the internet.
I realized it one evening last month, a few days after Christmas. I went to my office, which was closed for the holidays, to work on my book for a couple hours before I had to be somewhere. I opened my computer and sat down. An hour later I had done nothing.
Well, I had checked my email, refreshed Facebook any number of times, scrolled through some favorite blogs, read an ‘important’ article or two, and scanned my Twitter feed. But I had not even opened the file that held my half-written book.
And my book is my dream. It is what I want my future to be founded on. But instead of using that hour to push it closer to completion, I surrendered the hour to things that had no lasting value.
I realized in that moment that if I don’t write this book, then I am not the person I thought I was, that I aspire to be.
Thinking back over the past years of my life I saw a clear pattern: hours siphoned away into the stream of social media and blogs and funny videos. And if there’s one thing that determines whether a dream will starve or thrive, it’s how you use your hours.
650,000. That’s how many hours the average person gets on this earth. We sleep away a third of them and we’ve already lived another chunk. And whatever you believe happens when we die, the only life we know we have is the one we’re living right now, hour by passing hour. And the only way we will see the dreams of this life fulfilled is if we pour our hours into them.
I did the math for myself the other day. I have about 260,000 waking hours left. That’s it. And the hours that have passed can never be reclaimed. They have either enriched the current hour and pushed me closer to fulfilling my dream, or they haven’t. And for each one, it was my choice.
My mission for 2012 is to reclaim my hours, one by one, as they come to me, and to use them for the things I care about most.
That evening at my office I downloaded an app called Freedom that lets you cut off your computer’s networking capabilities for up to eight hours at a time. I set it for one hour, opened my book, and wrote.
Whatever your dream is, it needs your hours. Figure out what’s stopping you from putting your hours into the things you care about the most, and overcome it. Do it today. Do it now. Don’t waste another hour.