We spend so much of our time attempting to be as efficient as possible at work. We seek out ways to squeeze as much into our work days as time will allow, carefully structuring each day, hour and minute to be as productive as possible and adding as much value to our employers and clients as we can. Many of us even go so far as to offer our time, skills and value for free by working additional unpaid hours.
There are more than enough examples, a quick internet search will bamboozle you with time management tips and articles; for example:
- 15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals – Entreprenuer.com
- Manipulate time with these Poweful 20 time management tips – Forbes
- 10 Tips For managing Time Effectively – ProjectSmart.co.uk
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: 21 Time Management Tips to Hack Productivity – The Creativity Post
Rarely do we apply this same logic to our personal time; this valuable time that we work so hard to afford.
What if I were to tell you that after discounting the hours we spend being paid for our skills by someone else, sleeping or commuting, the time we have left over is nearly enough to do two more full-time jobs. 62 hours, in fact.
Don’t believe me? Let’s do the maths…
There are 168 hours in a week (that’s 7 days, 24 hours long), if you spend:
- 40 hours a week working (8 hours a day, including breaks)
- 10 hours a week travelling to and from work (that’s an hour each way)
- 56 hours sleeping (that’s 8 hours every night) [I wish!]
That leaves 62 hours remaining. That’s enough time to do a second full-time job and still have time left over.
Even if your commute was 2 hours each way, and you work far longer hours, say 50 hours a week; you’d still have 42 hours left over – 42 hours to yourself and your family.
Now you’re probably trying to work out what exactly you fill that additional time with: washing, cooking, eating, cleaning, watching TV, doing exercise, walking the dog, taking the trash out, looking at your phone…
Do you really spend 62 hours doing those things? Why do such small, unconnected tasks take up so much of your time? It’s not pretty is it?
If this was your job, and ‘living life’ was your project, you’d better believe you’d come up with a batter way of doing it, because most of us would be fired if we didn’t.
For many of us, we’ve come to view our lives as our jobs, surrounded by time to prepare and decompress for said jobs – Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat.
So now we know we have all this time that we will never get back, our challenge has to be: ‘how do we use our personal time most effectively?’
How do we use our free time more effectively?
If you were to reassess how we use that time, what would you do? What would you aim to achieve and how would you do it?
Would you restructure your week to be more efficient with your time? Cluster those free hours into chunks to be more useful? Be with your family more? Write a book (or a blog)? Do more exercise? Take up a second job?
Someone out there values our time and skills enough to pay us for it, and they expect to get every bit of value out of it. We need to think about our personal time in the same way because it does have value. We need to use what we have available for ourselves in a way that does justice to ourselves.