There are 168 hours in one week. Where do you spend them?

Did you know that there are 168 hours in one week? If we are working full-time, that takes 40 hours of our week. We have to sleep (+-50 hours) and eat (10–20 hours per week), and perform a variety of other essential tasks (taking care of children, personal hygiene, cleaning our homes, etc.) to ensure our survival and happiness.

Have you ever taken the opportunity to discover where you’re spending your time? If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend you take a personal inventory of your activities. Most of you will be surprised at the amount of time that goes unaccounted for. You will find in many instances that you cannot recall where you spend your remaining “discretionary” time. For many of us, we are left with a balance of 30–50 hours of discretionary time, but we often wonder where the hours all went to at the end of the week. We may be using our discretionary time productively, although we don’t always know where it is going, but it would be smart for us to determine exactly where we are spending our time to ensure we are using it wisely. For those of us who are already productivity “gurus,” this exercise can help us to free up an additional couple of hours that we can use at our own discretion.

Time is a precious gift. If we do not learn to use it wisely, we will end up with many regrets. This being said, don’t confuse being “busy” with being “effective” or “efficient.” We often procrastinate doing “the hard things,” which are usually the most important. At other times, we fail to spend time where we need to spend it the most; namely, with family and friends. Time spent with family and friends is not “wasted” or “unproductive.” Most of us don’t spend near as much time as we’d like with those we love, but understanding where we spend our time will help us to “free-up” precious hours that we can allocate to the activity and people that bring us the most happiness.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Time is Money,” but few of us reflect a sincere desire to make the underlying principle an important part of our lives. If we thought of time in terms of money, maybe that would help some of us to better utilize it more fully in our lives. For others, we could think of time as an “activity” or “experience.” For one person, each hour of time they fail to utilize is a loss of $20. For another person, each hour they fail to utilize is a missed date night with his wife. If we understand the value of time, we will learn to use it well. By using our time most effectively and efficiently, we’ll be able to do more of what we love, spend more time with the people we love, and develop our potential to serve those who are around us. Budget your time like you should budget your money. Set aside time for the things you have to do. With what time you have remaining in your “budgets,” spend it doing and being around the things and people that make you happiest. You’ll gain greater control of your life and be happier if you follow these simple suggestions. All the best in your quests for a better life!

Think about this….

What patterns can you see with your time usage? Does time spent reflect results achieved or increased productivity?

Remember this…

Results may be “increased happiness” due to spending more time with family. This would be a great result, one which we could classify as a “result.” Not all results have to be thought of in terms of the “world of work.” We have “work” results and “quality of life” results in addition to many others. Increased productivity should also be seen as doing the things and being with the people that make you happier in addition to optimizing your work-life and other tasks.

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