“The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.” - Dante Alighieri
With only 24 hours in a day, the sharpest of us attempt to utilize ways to get a bit more from this finite resource. We are annoyed with wasting time, so we dig through productivity apps and hacks, opt for sleep deprivation, and more, as we attempt to find ever clever ways to do more with less. If the lack of time annoys you too, begin taking back what’s rightfully yours. The first step is learning where your time goes.
When you begin taking hold of your time, the most powerful information you can leverage is your knowledge. What are you spending your time doing? What are you spending your time not doing? There are a few great apps that make tracking your time easy. There is also this exercise, which you can do now, to better understand your patterns and priorities in order to use your time more effectively.
Take this Time Audit and you’ll see how.
First, some quick math:
There are 24 hours in a day and there are 7 days in a week
24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours
There are 168 hours in a week to do just about anything. Let’s say you spend 45 hours a week at work.
168 hours – 45 hours = 123 hours
Lets say you spend 9 hours a night sleeping.
9 hours x 7 days = 63 hours 123 hours - 63 hours = 60 hours
Now, take out commute time.
2 hours round trip x 7 days a week = 14 hours 60 hours - 14 hours = 46 hours
Deduct time spent eating / preparing food.
3 hours a day (being generous) x 7 days a week = 21 hours 46 hours - 21 hours = 25 hours
Cleaning and grooming.
1 hour a day x 7 days a week = 7 hours 25 hours - 7 hours = 18 hours
Remaining are about 18 hours a week to give attention to just about anything. That’s almost a full day devoted to whatever you’d like. It’s not an infinite about of time, but it’s a lot more time if used wisely.
Try tracking your habits for the next week by hand or by using your favorite app to see where your time goes. The more information you have, the better you can make decisions regarding your time and routine. When you know you have 18 hours for yourself each week that is powerful knowledge. Setting aside 7 of those hours to write creatively, study for the GMAT, or design your company’s website can lead to great results over many weeks and months.
In fact, all great things were built one brick at a time. Treating your time like the resource that it is will allow you to give more attention to the things that matter most—your family, your passions, and yourself.
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