I briefly mentioned in a previous post that we’d worked on a schedule, “adding up the 168 hours of each week.” That’s how many there are, by the way. You can feel free to check my math.
The whole 168 hours thing had been on our date night discussion list (we never run out of things to talk about…so we have to plan for which ones come when so the important ones don’t get lost) for a while, since TC read a book called, (wait for the anti-climactic title) 168 Hours. (The subtitle, “You Have More Time Than You Think” is more informative, of course.)
Here’s the premise. You’ll be surprised. Or not.
There are only 168 hours in the week. It’s the same every week. And you use some of those 168 hours for activities that you would admit are less important to you than things you say you don’t have time to do.
Are you keeping up? It’s extremely complicated, right? It’s a well written book and makes the case for a “time budget” (though she doesn’t necessarily call it that). It makes sense. If you net $500/week in pay, you shouldn’t spend more than that, right? Especially if you want to pay off debts. Well you only have 168 hours each week and it’s physically impossible to use more than that. (Go ahead. Try it. The post will still be here when you get back.)
This, combined with the concept of “A Like vs Love List” (see chapter 6 of Quitter), caused me to take a serious look at my schedule and how much time was truly wasted on stuff that really didn’t matter to me at all. Stuff that if it left my life forever I’d never miss it. Not bad stuff. Not stuff I didn’t like. But activities that I have no passion for in the least.
And so we put together a list of my 168 hours. And being honest, the first draft had a lot of embarrassment in it. I mean, really, James? You spend 5.5 hours per week on that? The third or fourth draft had less fluff, but still enough that I could look at it and say, when we discussed whether I should apply for the EMBA program, there’s some time there we could repurpose for school. And then when I went to the information session and had the actual time investment estimate, I knew I could find (with some small amount of pain) the necessary 20 hours/week for school. And just before I wrote this post I went through my spreadsheet and put together the final draft of the 168 hours list for when, starting in just a few weeks, I start classes.
So that’s what you’ve got. 168 hours. For everything. Ev. Ery. Thing. Think about that for a minute. Read the book if you’re not convinced. And make a plan so you can spend the time on what drives your passions in life (family, dreams, etc.) rather than stuff you just “like to do” but wouldn’t miss. Here’s a sampling of where my 168 will go:
- 20 hours for school. Class some weeks, study the rest.
- 49 hours for sleep. That’s 7/night. (My wife is still concerned whether this will be enough)
- 9.5 hours/week for meals. That’s only 15 minutes/day for breakfast, btw, and doesn’t count lunch on work/class days.
- 4 hours for date night. (I think I get an extra hour from meals for this one)
- 3 hours for total commute time to work. Not a lot of slush there.
- 3 hours for exercise (including to/from gym). Tight. But I needed another hour from somewhere. Some weeks this might be only 2 workouts.
- 1 hour for paying bills. Means I have to not skip a week or I can’t get it done.
- 36 hours at the office. This means that everything I do in 5 days I need to get done in 4 now. Also won’t be easy.
You get the picture. If you add those up you realize that there’s not a lot left for leasure time, especially after I spend time with my wife, with friends, with my children, etc.
So what’s on your “must do” list for your 168?