Be More Productive


Our possessions consume our time. Whether we are cleaning them, organizing them, buying them, or selling them, the more we own the more time they rob from our lives.

Take shopping for example: the average American spends nearly 12 hours every month shopping. Now, while it is impossible to completely remove shopping from our schedules, one benefit of living simply is the opportunity to live a more productive life by the plain fact that we spend less time shopping. Add in the time we spend cleaning, sorting, and organizing our stuff once we get it in our homes and we’re beginning to talk about a significant chunk of time.

We only get one chance to live this life; we would be wise to make it as productive as possible.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I am wondering if that number (23 Minutes) isn’t a bit low? Rhetorically speaking, does it count the time spent shopping online? The aimless browsing (window shopping) for books on Amazon, reading reviews, or ITunes etc.

    To me that’s still shopping and still time spent that could be better allocated, in general. The graphic is very telling about how much time we waste overall.

    I took the baby triplets to the mall on sunday, partly because we needed to get out of the house (Buffalo + Snowy Winter + Needy babies = Cabin Fever), partly because my wife has been dropping baby weight and needed a few things. We were there for about four hours. Now, granted, we had to feed and change each kid, so that took up two hours. And we had a bite to eat in the food court which was another thirty minutes. But still, it was a fair chunk of time that could have been better spent.

    – Charley

  2. sarah says

    these numbers do seem low. it can take me 90 minutes to get in and out of the grocery store (because it is HUGE – i shop there for lower prices) and i’m only shopping for one person.

    believe me – i do not want to spend that time at the grocery store.

    • di says

      I usually time myself with everything, such an hour for groceries, half an hour ride to work, an hour to vacuum, etc.

      In this way, I can easily schedule chores periodically and don’t feel as overwhelmed.

  3. Fauzy says

    Who those who blindly thing it’s 23 minutes. the fact is.. what joshua take is an AVERAGE TIME no the real time though. e.g : taken from 50 Million people.

  4. Irene says

    I agree with the whole concept of being a minimalist and spending time with something more important than shopping. But I completely disagree with depriving yourself with pleasures the world can offer. Shopping or wandering in the mall sometimes gives us an entertaining opportunity and time to be together with our families and friends. Watching movies or eating out in the mall for example. I also consider it a very good exercise to walk around and at the same time look around stalls and shops not to buy something but to just plainly look around and enjoy the company of the people I am with.
    Sometimes don’t try to over think that there is something more important than what you are doing right now that you forgot the value of being spontaneous and just enjoy the “now moment”.. Who cares about that link on the average of a man spent in the mall… Don’t you think those people who makes those chart about the average time should have look for something more productive than just counting how much people “waste” their time in the mall?
    Don’t just think shopping in general is a wasted time, because sometimes we used this opportunity to spend quality time with friends and families.

  5. di says

    At times, I think the slow economy is a blessing, because it forces us to reprioritize and take a second look at ideals, habits and society as a whole.

  6. di says

    For a better perspective, record future chores and errands on a calendar.

    Record weekly chores, such as laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, errands on Wednesday, groceries on Thursday with a long weekend off.

    Record annual chores monthly, such as indoor chores during the winter and outdoor chores during the summer. Clean closets in September, kitchen cupboards in October, bureaus in November, etc. Allowing one month for completion is less stressful.

  7. EU says

    Great post. I could’t agree more. Luckily for me – despite being female – I HATE shopping, window shopping, or hanging out in shopping centers. Therefore, over time I have reduced it to the bare minimum. I buy kids’ clothes online, exept for shoes, where I have a fixed retailer. So no searching time. I buy few but high quality clothes for me that last ages. My last pair of shoes, Italian fabricate, were rather pricy but lasted 12! years. I buy groceries, etc., once per week online and get them delivered to the door, which in total takes me around 15 minutes. I love this possibility, especially as the site stores all old commands, so I have ‘packaged’ the shopping list into items that I have to buy in fixed intervals, which means that I can simply reactivate the old orders. This saves me so much time for more important stuff. With a little creativity one can reduce these errands to very little time per week. And yes, of course buying less stuff in general is probably the most efficient measure to save shopping time.

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