Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Time

1267744_timeAchieving a sense of balance in life can a bit of a challenge at times. Trying to fit in a bit of everything each day makes for a task list that runs off the end of the page and automatically guarantees failure. Setting priorities is vital, but if you only get to your first two or three priorities every day then something is always neglected – usually the same something(s).

So if the first three priorities every day are, say, writing, exercise, and spending quality time with your loved ones, then things like promotion work (which every author has to do a lot of), cooking real food, yard or housework or keeping in touch with friends consistently get short shrift.

168 hours So don’t try to balance days. Balance weeks. In 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam points out that we all have exactly the same amount of time. Some people get a lot done while living full and balanced lives, and others seem to spin their wheels while constantly wishing for just one extra hour a day.

Read the book if you’re interested in all the details (hard copy or ebook), but the long and short of it is that most people don’t use the time they do have very well.

One culprit is, of course, television. But another is the constant idea we have in the back of our minds that we’re busier than we really are. A week has 168 hours. Take away 56 of those for sleeping a full 8 hours every night of the week and you have 112 hours. Let’s estimate a 60 hour work week, and there are still 62 hours left every week!

Surely that’s enough to fit in exercise, some quality leisure time, spending time with family AND time with friends, things like showering, picking up the house, doing laundry and cooking simple nutritious meals, with time left over. Time that could be used to write a novel or short story, volunteer, learn how to play the banjo or speak French or … WHATEVER.

If you had extra time, how would you use it?


  1. This sounds like a great book to help me with my constant time-management (or mismanagement) issues. Thanks!

    Oh, and I would use my extra time to read.

  2. It's great for providing a bit of perspective. However, Vanderkam hires someone to clean her house, orders her groceries online, has a personal shopper and lives in an apartment with no yard to deal with. What I found really interesting, though, was that most stay-at-home parents spend about as much one-on-one time with their kids as those who work, and most people far overestimate how much time they actually spend working.

  3. Thanks for the perspective and reminder.
    It's about time...