How are you using your 168 hours a week?

Lucy DickensBalance, Business, motherhood, Working mum0 Comments

There may only be 24 hours in day, but there are 168 hours in a week

What if I tell you that, despite what you think, you already have plenty of time to do the things you want to do in life.  ‘Yeah, right!?’, I hear you cry! But hear me out.  I truly believe that, despite what we’re often told, there are enough hours in the day.  I believe this to be true whether you are a stay-at-home parent or working a full-time job; or even if you’re Beyoncé or a titan like Shonda Rhimes, responsible for creating 70 hours of television per week.

Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It, says that we’ve been thinking about time management all wrong.  Time management shouldn’t be about multi-tasking like a pro, nor should you need to give up on sleep! You already have enough time. 168 hours a week, to be exact.

Vanderkam’s proposition goes like this:  There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. That’s 168 hours.  If we spend 40 hours working and 56 hours sleeping, that’s 72 hours for other things. That’s a lot of time.  The key, though, is to prioritise what is important across those 168 hours.  Fitting it all into one day may be tough, but fitting it into 168 hours is far more achievable.

‘We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself.’

It sounds obvious enough, but how many of us really do it?  How much control do you really have over your time? Do you organise your time according to the things that are really important to you, or do you let time wither away, wasting it on social media, or worse, living according to someone else’s priorities.

It’s time to change your mindset and to take control of your time.  Start with these steps.

  1. What are your priorities?

Not everything in life is important, so be clear on what matters to you. What do you really value and what really needs to get done? When you are clear about your priorities it is easier to let go of the things that don’t matter so much.

  1. Schedule time for your priorities and goals

You must schedule your priorities before everything else. It is too easy to get caught up in chores or to waste time if we don’t have a plan. If you are training to run a marathon, work out how often you need to train and schedule time for it first.  If you need some down time, schedule that in too.

  1. Learn to say no

In order to have as much time as you need for the things you love, you need to be conscious not to fill your time with things that aren’t important to you.  It is important that you say ‘no’ to things that don’t align with your priorities. Remember, you’re living your life, not someone else’s.

  1. Don’t waste time

There are enough hours, but those hours are still precious.  How many people waste hours each night watching television or scanning social media?  If these things are important to you, great! If not, limit them or cut them out completely.

  1. Change your mindset

I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking. Looking for the good rather than dwelling on the bad can do wonders for our emotional wellbeing.

Try this: instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’, try ‘it’s not a priority’.

It is also ok to accept that you may not be superwoman every day. We achieve more on some days than we do on others and those down times are equally as important.

  1. Take a breath

We live in a society that glorifies being busy.  Ask someone how they are and you are likely to hear ‘busy’ in reply. But we don’t have to think (or live!) that way.  Don’t overcommit yourself, schedule time to relax.  Allow yourself to be calm. You don’t have to do it all. Even if you do, you don’t have to do it all today!


Written by Lucy Dicken from Leaning In

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