Did you know there are 168 hours in a week? This post at Accidental Creative outlines how when you say you don’t have time to do something, you may just not understand how you are spending your time. Everyone has the same amount of time in every week, we just choose to spend it differently. Todd goes on to break down how many hours are spent each week working, sleeping, eating, spending time with family, etc. Once you break down how you spend your time, you start to realize how many hours you have available to you, and then begin to wonder where they are going.
Here’s how I spend my 168 hours:
- Sleeping: 8 hours per day x 7 (sort of)
- Working: 11 hours per day x 5 (sometimes)
- Eating: 1.5 hours per day x 7
- Exercise: 1 hour per day x 5
This leaves me with 41.5 hours to spend however I want. What do I do with it?
- Watching TV: 2 hours per day x 7
- Surfing the web: 2 hours per day x 7
- Chores/Misc/Fun: 2 hours per day x 7
Sure, I am doing things that I enjoy, but I am not contributing in a meaningful way to anything of importance. That’s 42 hours a week doing…nothing. I don’t think I am exaggerating here either. I am quite guilty of complaining about “not having enough time”. If I am going to be traveling 9 to 5, I must focus on doing things that matter in the limited time before we leave. The time frame forces me to complete things that I have put off for a very long time. Suddenly things that were so important a few months ago have been crossed off my to-do list, and replaced with new and exciting projects.
Let’s say I only cut the time I spend on meaningless activities in half. That will give me an extra 21 hours a week to do things that matter to me. With my newfound time, this is what I will be doing:
- Learning Spanish. I took Spanish in high school and even did an intensive two-month study prior to our Costa Rica trip. Yet after the trip, I let this drop as I got busy with work. Care and I have come up with a study plan to learn and practice as much as we can for the four months we will be spending in South America.
- Photography. I bought a DSLR camera earlier this year as a present for Care. We took a walking photography class around Chicago and learned a bit, but we still don’t really know what we are doing with the thing. One of our goals for the trip is to take stunning pictures and share them on the blog, so we want to be good photographers. We are both beginners so this will be a difficult, but fun project.
- Building a business. I have always wanted to start my own business, but it has never seemed like the right time, or that I had a good enough idea. I may not have any income for nine months next year, and although we have savings, I would like to find a way to continue to earn money while traveling. This has been the perfect catalyst to get me out of the analysis phase and actually hone my marketable skills and start something that is all my own. It’s been hard for me to not spend all of my extra time on this one.
These are just three quick examples of projects I am focused on completing before we leave and all three fulfill long-term goals I had before we even decided to do this crazy trip. Making the decision to take a trip around the world is what it took to get me to focus my time and energy on the things I want in life. Hopefully you can be inspired to do what matters to you, without having to make such a radical life change. (Although it would be awesome if you want to travel too!)
Are you making the most of your 168 hours?