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168 Hours: How To Wisely Manage Your Time

“I just don’t have enough time,” is a phrase that is tossed around so often that is basically a cliché. With our busy and chaotic lives, we constantly feel like there just isn’t enough time to do everything. But, the question we should actually be asking ourselves is, “Am I using my time to the fullest?”

Turns out, we’re not (I know. Shocker). But the good news is that there is a fantastic way to understand how you are using the hours in a day and make changes because the truth of the matter is, you do have enough time.

Before we get into it, if you have not read Laura Vanderkam’s book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, I highly recommend it.

Now, let’s get into it.

Where is Your Time Spent?

This is a very simple question and yet most of us don’t know the answer. Can you tell me precisely where you are spending all of your time? If you can, way to go. Give yourself a pat on the back and go back to your very productive and fulfilling day. For the majority of us, this is a very difficult question and the answer usually goes along the lines of, “Oh, you know, work…and family.” And it is these vague generalizations that make us feel like we don't have the bandwidth to do what we want to do.

Let’s Break it Down

There are 168 hours in a week. So, let’s dive deep into where all this time is going. Specifically, let’s break down my week:

Starting Hours: 168

   

Sleep

-

56 Hours (8 hours/night)

Hours Left: 112

   

Work (including commute)

-

60 Hours

Hours Left: 52

   

Working Out

-

10 Hours

Hours Left: 42

   

Time with Family

-

12 Hours

Hours Left: 30

   

Date Night

-

5 Hours

Hours Left: 25

   

Time with Friends

-

5 Hours

Hours Left: 20

   

Reading

-

5 Hours

Hours Left: 15

   

Mindlessly Surfing the Web

-

10 Hours

Hours Left: 5

   

Even with everything, I still have 5 hours left of the week. You can choose to fill the 5 hours or, like me, keep it open for passion projects, relaxing, etc.

When I first broke down my week, it did not look like this. I was spending so much time in areas that didn’t interest me or that should not have been treated as a priority. It was after I took a long, hard look at how I managed my week that I realized that 1. I had time to do everything 2. I could shuffle these hours around to be optimal for me.

Take the Challenge

Now it’s your turn! Starting tomorrow create a log in your phone, computer, or on a plain old pen and paper, and log exactly where you spend your time for the next 7 days. See how much of it is being spent on things that don’t interest you, on things that move you, on everyday household chores and errands, etc. And if you don’t like how your week breaks down- change it! If you’re appalled at how many hours you spend browsing on your phone, consciously reduce that time by putting your phone out of sight when you don’t need it. If you want to spend a larger portion of your week working on a particularly enjoyable hobby, take look at where you can take time from something that is less enjoyable and move it over.

Consciously and actively be aware of your time and you will realize that you can do everything you want to do and feel good about it too!