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Purpose-Driven: Think 168 Hours Not 24

Stacy Eads on March 15, 2018

Purpose-Driven: Think 168 Hours Not 24
We all have the same amount of time. You DO have time to focus on what matters MOST to you. Just don’t spend time mindlessly.

For example: Statistica says, “As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.” That’s 2.26 hours per day x 7 days a week = 15.86 (So roughly 16 hours a week – the equivalent to 2 entire productivity work days or 2 well-rested sleepy nights are spent with your thumb pushing up, up, and up as you scroll instead of getting some rest.)

Think through your weeks before you are in them. Think about your time before you’re spending it. Example: Friday afternoon is non-peak productivity time for most white-collar jobs, so she suggests sitting down to make a 3-part category list for a balanced life.

Career: list only one or two goals.
Example: Finish writing one chapter of my book this week, or make 10 cold calls.

Relationship: list only one or two goals.
Example: Make my family a big breakfast Saturday morning, or take the kids to the zoo.

Self: list only one or two goals.
Find an hour to walk this week, even if it's chopped up into 15-minute segments.
Make my lunch at home each night before bed for the next day's diet plan.

Ask yourself WHEN in the next seven days you can schedule each of these three to six goals.
Schedule it.
Now think like Nike, and Just Do It.

Think 168 hours (week), not 24 hours (day). This eliminates the common excuse, "There's just not enough hours in the day." (She believes in it so much, she wrote an entire book on it!)
There are 168 hours in a seven-day week. That's 40 hours per week for work, and 8 hours of sleep per night, or 56 hours of sleep per week. This leaves you with 72 hours of "other." Ask yourself, what do you accomplish with your 72 hours per week? WOW! Are you shocked?

The 24-hour trap of thinking the same thing has to happen at the same time every day is why you fail. You don’t have to wake up at 5:30am every morning for a one hour jog every day. If that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, don’t abandon your goals for your “self.” Simply adapt to a 168-view of the world, and think, “When can I fit in time this week for my health?” Too often, we stop ourselves from trying something because we inaccurately believe it has to be done every day at the same time to be called a “routine.” Maybe your goal is different, and it’s simply to reach 1 hour of walking anytime between Monday and Friday, even if it means taking baby steps around the office, or 10-minutes at lunch, or all in one sitting – it's your choice.

When you think in terms of 24 hours, it feels so short that your automatically feel an unnatural “pull” of work versus home/family. Stop pitting two sides against one another. Stop being a victim, she says.

When you think in terms of 168 hours a week, you can instead focus on the 72 open hours of “other” to balance your life and control your priorities as YOU see fit. The ticking 24-hour time clock is no longer in control: you are. Personally, I love this idea of how you spent “the other 72 hours" in your week. Give yourself back the power of time. We all know you can’t make more of it, but you CAN make the most of it.

Build in Space. “Successful people plan white space in their life,” Laura says. Never be late. Never be rushing. Never fear the domino effect of a morning meeting running too long, which then affects all the other meetings lined up behind it. Personally, at Levant Technologies, we schedule our search engine optimization consults, website weekly content writing meetings, or networking one-to-one meetings with one and a half hours between each commitment. This allows you time to complete the meeting, finish the notes, make the assignments, complete the promises you made within that meeting, and drive to your next meeting with plenty of time to set up and prepare before they arrive without feeling rushed. Your mind is clear for meeting number two because you have fully finished your action items from meeting number one that preceded it.

When you’re planning your week before you’re in it, and making a list of only one or two priorities and ensuring they cover all three well-rounded areas of your life with build in space to breathe, think, and listen well… then we can stop marching from responsibility to responsibility like middle schoolers passing by in hallways on their way to class.

Specifically, when you’re a leader of a company, organization, or nonprofit, building in white space means your open space can invite opportunity. For example, as a CEO I interpret this to mean: how can you have an “open door policy” if you’re never sitting behind that open door ready to listen? Or if you’re a salesperson rushing from one Panera to another Starbucks and back again – you may just miss the opportunity of sitting in the moment, breathing in the aroma AND conversations around you… I once was hired for a $60,000 project because I overheard the right conversation at a Starbucks in The Village.

Be careful with the word YES; don't be promiscuous with it. If someone asks you to volunteer on a committee and your answer is "I don’t have time right now," then you probably won’t have time this winter either. Because in all honesty, “I don’t have time” translates to “It’s not a priority.” And that’s A-OKAY.

Do you NEED to iron your sheets? No, the inspector General isn’t opening your closet and grading your folding technique. Do you need to pick up the kids toys at 11pm? Really, why? Is a home inspector coming through at 2am that you’re afraid of? Laura advocates that we “learn to live in a beautiful mess.”

In the end, by following some of these common-sense rules, Laura says, “When we focus on what matters most, we CAN have the life we WANT, within the TIME we have.” I agree.

If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our Purpose-Driven blog series on Leadercast:

Purpose-Driven: Recovering Perfectionist
Purpose-Driven: Do You Have a Compass?
Purpose-Driven: Being Authentic
Purpose-Driven: Curiosity + Service = Impact
Purpose-Driven: The Purpose Monster
Purpose-Driven: Is Joy a Bad Word?
Purpose-Driven: Chase Your Rainbow
Purpose-Driven: I Was Born
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