There are 168 hours in a week; this is immutable truth. That sounds like a lot, but is it really enough time to cover the demands of a successful career, family involvement, and everything else that makes up a fulfilling life? Let’s do the back-of-the-envelope calculation.
Starting with those 168 hours, first take away 49 just for sleep. Don’t try to cheat on this. If you are getting less than 7 hours a night, you are probably not resting enough, and your decreased performance will take its toll on the rest of the hours of the week.
So, you’ve really got 119 hours. Let’s assume you’re an ambitious professional and subtract 56 for work. That would amount to working 8 hours a day, 7 days a week – or, if your weekends are off-limits, 11+ hours a day on weekdays only. I know some of you put in more time than this. However, outside of very few professions (and peak times at others) no one really needs to – so if you do, you are probably working inefficiently or being pressured to uphold unrealistic expectations. In fact, research shows that productivity craters after 6 hours a day. If you work more than 56 hours a week, you may need to examine your time use.
Assuming 56, then, you still have 63 hours. But take out two more chunks of non-fun activity – 7 hours per week of commuting, and 13 hours per week of errands and routine housework – and you’re down to 43 hours. This is the amount of time you have for family and other aspects of life.
Childcare, cooking, and other responsibilities on the home front certainly take effort, but they can also serve as family connecting time. Let’s put you down for 20 hours of those.
Guess what: that leaves you with a full 23 hours. Maybe you’ve been saying you don’t have time for exercise, but it seems you do (and exercise makes you more effective the rest of your week at work and at home). Let’s devote 3 hours to that – and still give you 20 hours of free time to do whatever else makes you happy and healthy. It’s surprising, isn’t it: with a little prioritizing and planning, work and life aren’t so impossible to balance.
Make it a great day!