Time - How to Find More to Invest in Yourself
Time waits for no one - which becomes more and more apparent as we grow older and start to realize that we have less of it to work with. We all live busy lives and it can be difficult to invest the time and energy required to build a career while balancing the responsibilities of everyday life. This begs the question, can we really have it all?
Neil Pasricha introduced us to a powerful time management exercise in his book, “The Happiness Equation”. There are 168 hours in a week, which Pasricha prioritizes into three time buckets. In an average week, one third or 56 hours will be spent sleeping. One third will be spent working, commuting to work, or thinking about work. Which leaves us will a final third, 56 hours, to invest elsewhere.
One of the first steps to finding extra time each day to invest in yourself is to analyze how you are currently spending your time. Do you know where you are currently spending the 56 hours outside of work and sleep each week? By following the exercises below, you can start to become more conscious of your time and more intentional when managing it.
Bucket #1 - Sleep
Extensive research confirms the importance of getting a good night sleep for our physical, mental and emotional health, although the time needed for each individual varies. Determining how much sleep you require per night is helpful in optimizing your time and functioning. Over the next week, consider the following questions related to your sleeping habits:
What is the minimum number of hours of sleep you require per night? Take time to test this.
How much sleep are you actually getting per night?
If you are sleeping more than your optimal amount, what would happen if you woke up 30 minutes earlier every morning or shut your eyes 30 minutes later every night? Is this an opportunity to spend that extra time investing in you?
Bucket #2: Work
We spend a significant portion of our time working or thinking about work. That equates to on average 56 hours per week or 2912 hours per year. If you want to streamline your work life, be mindful of the following questions:
Is there anything that you can delegate to an employee or colleague to take off your plate?
Can anything you are doing at work be automated?
What are you working on right now? Is this task a top priority or are you doing it because you enjoy doing it? Are there any tasks that do not align to the expectations of your role that can be eliminated?
Bucket #3: Other
The third bucket consists of everything else you are doing with your time outside of sleep and work. Taking a deep dive into your “Other” bucket can be extremely insightful. When we did this exercise at Splash Strategy, we noticed a large portion of our time was spent commuting, watching TV and on social media. We are the first to acknowledge that sometimes we have to do the mindless tasks to give our brains and bodies a chance to relax. However, 56 hours is significant time each week. Simply being mindful of what is important to you outside of work and sleep, such as professional development, family, friends, community, etc., and tracking where those hours are currently being spent can empower you to make significant changes - and you can start small.
For example, if cutting out your commute isn’t an option, can you make the time you spend commuting more meaningful by listening to inspiring podcasts or audiobooks, or using the time to call a friend or family member (hands-free of course)?
Review how you are spending your time in the “other” bucket and ask yourself the following questions:
Is__[activity]__ aligned to my purpose, values and passions and helping me progress towards achieving my goals?
Are there any changes that can be made to make this activity more meaningful and/or impactful?
Can the time I am spending on this activity be invested elsewhere?
The ability to “have it all” comes down to your definition of personal and professional success and can be achieved by getting ruthlessly clear about your priorities. In following the exercises above, you will start to identify the most important responsibilities or activities in your life so that you can give more of your attention, energy, and time to those that rank highest.
When you analyze and measure the effectiveness of how you are spending your time, it becomes easier to identify where you can make small changes to help bring you closer to your goals and dreams. By holding yourself accountable to where you spend your time, you will notice yourself start to feel like you have it all - because you are spending your time on what is important to you.
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About the Author:
Kate is a Toronto-based business strategy and leadership development consultant, that help companies turn high-potential professionals into high-performing talent. Kate recently left a successful international corporate career with a Fortune 500 company to launch a purpose driven consultancy, Splash Strategy, focused on implementing a holistic bottom-up approach to developing leaders of tomorrow. Kate brings 15+ years of in-depth international experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors within the health, pharmaceutical and leadership development industries providing strategic planning, business strategy, project management and leadership expertise. Leveraging her corporate experience and her proven ability to identify and develop unique talent, Kate is pursuing her passion to help high-potential professionals build and accelerate their careers in alignment with their core purpose, values, passions and goals to live their best life and leave a lasting legacy.