(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)


Column: Live life at 2x the speed

Everyone wakes up having the same amount of time in a day, but it is up to each person to decide how they will use their 24 hours. Life is definitely unfair, but there is one major aspect of life that is fair: time. One of my biggest goals recently is to save time. That…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/elenacupid/" target="_self">Helaine Zhao</a>

Helaine Zhao

August 24, 2021

Everyone wakes up having the same amount of time in a day, but it is up to each person to decide how they will use their 24 hours. Life is definitely unfair, but there is one major aspect of life that is fair: time.

One of my biggest goals recently is to save time. That sounds like a pretty basic goal, but productivity is so important in every phase of life. You never will know when your time is up in this world, so it is very important to make good use of every minute, every second.

I personally don’t think that scrolling through social media and watching YouTube videos is a very good use of time in general, and most people probably agree. However, we still watch online content anyways, myself included. The internet has become a major part of our lives in the world we live in today, and it is appropriate to say that it is practically impossible to completely cut out digital media. 

Even so, the situation isn’t entirely hopeless. Although we cannot completely cut out all digital content, we are able to reduce the effects by spending less time on it.

According to Forbes, the average time spent daily consuming digital content was about six hours and 59 minutes in 2020. 

Six hours and 59 minutes. That is one-fourth of your day. However, you are sleeping for about one-third of your day, so in the remaining 16 hours, over a third of it is spent watching or listening to content on the Internet. 

That does not seem like a very great use of time, but I have to admit that I also spend several hours a day consuming internet content. Maybe not as much as 7 hours per day, but enough to make me contemplate my unproductive decisions while lying in bed at night.

However, a few months ago, I started doing something that greatly decreased the amount of time I spent online watching and listening to digital media. I started watching content at 1.5 to 2x speed. Whether that is listening to podcasts or watching YouTube videos, I set everything to a faster speed to be able to finish the content in a shorter amount of time.

There are three main reasons why I am doing this and why you should do it too. The most obvious and convincing reason is that it saves time. I believe that true wealth should be measured in time, and therefore, it is crucial to make good use of your time. 

If you turn the speed up, you can watch everything you would have watched in possibly double the time in a much shorter amount of time. If you are getting the same result and saving more time, why wouldn’t you do it?

If you are wondering how much time you could save, then the answer would be a lot of time. A whole lot of time. It may not seem like a lot of time for one thing you watch online, but the time adds up.

For example, say you start at 20 years old and live to be 80, and you spend six hours a day watching content online. The Forbes article had suggested that most people spend close to seven hours, but for calculation purposes, let’s reduce it to six, an even number.

If you begin watching everything at 2x speed now, you will save 3 hours a day, 21 hours a week, 84 hours a month, 1,008 hours a year and almost 7 years in your estimated lifetime. Now that is a lot of time. With this time, you could be developing relationships, sleeping more, reading books and getting important things done, all with just the change of a setting. 

Time is very valuable, and therefore, just this one reason alone should be enough to convince you to start watching things at 2x speed.

Another very convincing reason for me to crank up the speed is because some content creators on the media talk quite slow, in my humble opinion. It is very tiring to listen to slow-talking, and it can also make the content itself more boring. Listening to it at a faster speed takes care of this problem right away. 

For the final reason, listening to content at 2x speed can be beneficial to your health. Staying on electronic devices can be draining mentally and physically, and is harmful to your eyes. If you are able to spend half the time each day on electronic devices, then I am certain that the possible health hazards of staying on electronic devices will reduce greatly.

Another compelling benefit of listening to things at 2x speed that you may or may not be interested in is that you will be training your listening skills and your brain by consuming content faster. 

At first, it may be difficult to comprehend and process information at 2x speed, so begin with trying 1.25x speed, and then to 1.5x, then 1.75x, with the goal being 2x speed. Just like how speed-reading or fast-talking takes practice, so does speed-listening.

It may require some more effort when starting, but trust me, it is definitely worth it.

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