How Much Time Do You Really Have?

“I don’t have time.” We have all said it, thought it, and heard it. But is it really true?

A wise friend once told me that we make time for what is most important to us. This is a very powerful point that I revisit every now and again. It takes commitment to self-reflection and honesty with oneself to take a step back and think about how we are really spending our time.

We have 168 hours to spend each week. How do you spend your 168 hours? And ultimately, what is most important to you in this life? This article is intended to encourage each individual to really change the way we think about time.

168 Hours: A Quick Activity That Can Change Your Perception
Estimate how you spend your time each week. Please be honest with yourself and try to estimate everything as best as you can. There is no judgment and no competition. This is for your own benefit. You may learn that you need to readjust things or that you want to give something up or that you want to add activities in.

If some of the activities happen simultaneously (i.e. eating while driving), only count the time once. Please note that the categories factored into this activity are regular, weekly time commitments.

Here are the categories of regular commitments to count:

Personal Care
(showering, grooming, dressing, etc.)

(eating, cooking, baking, getting take out, etc.)

(driving to work and school and back home, driving to other regular commitments)

Chores and Errands
(grocery shopping,  laundry, cleaning the house, etc.)

(This one is pretty self-explanatory.)

(You can split these up into two different categories, if you prefer. For school, make sure to include your hours in classes and your honest productive studying/working hours. Be as accurate as possible. Do not include time you are distracted by the Internet).

Other categories you can use if they apply to you:
Volunteer Work
Religious or Spiritual Practice
If you are a new parent, you can add in those hours as well

Time Remaining:
Self Reflection:

You may find that you have more time left over than you originally anticipated, or perhaps you have very little time left. If that’s the case, the self reflection part will help you. In other words, are you happy with the way you are spending your time? Are there any healthy changes you can make?

Mary Signature

2 thoughts on “How Much Time Do You Really Have?

  1. My 168 Hours

    Personal Care: 4 hours per week

    I try to get ready as quickly as possible in the morning. At night, I have a very simple evening routine. That takes only 5-7 minutes before bed. I do not have many clothes that require ironing, so that definitely saves time. I also keep my clothing and closets super organized and simple, so I can always find everything. I use shelves and baskets to keep everything in a designated space.

    Meals: 9 hours per week

    I recently discovered that meal prepping in advance and power cooking on a Sunday morning saves a lot of time. I eat a lot of raw foods and almost all fruits and vegetables, so all I really have to do is wash my food and cut it up. Smoothies take me 5 minutes to make and clean the blender, and I usually have those or fresh fruit for breakfast and lunch. It is simple and easy to put together, and I spend virtually no time doing so – plus, it’s healthy! This is not necessarily a good thing, but I usually drink my smoothie in the car on the way to work or have the fruit at my desk when I first get to my office hours for the day. This saves me a lot of time. For dinner, I usually have something prepared in advance from power cooking on Sunday and/or I make a beautiful salad.

    Commuting: 9 hours per week

    I drive around 9 hours per week. This includes my commute to and from work as well as my commute elsewhere on an average week. If I have a day trip or travel, it will obviously be more, but this is a general average for me. During my morning commute, I can listen to both music that uplifts me and educational programs like NPR and books on MP3 (this is something I want to make more of a priority and fun activity). I think this is a great way to expose myself to new studies and interests. Also, since I spend 9 hours commuting, that is a good time to listen to the weather and quick bits of news on the radio. I don’t like to overexpose myself to too much negative media, so I am very selective.

    Chores and Errands: 7 hours per week

    I try to do my exercise and chores simultaneously and rapidly. I power clean, so that I do not have to go to a gym. I have designated chores and maintenance in my routine for the week. I follow a lot of the suggestions I have learned from blogs like Apartment Therapy on power cleaning daily to reduce wasted time. I have several animals in my family, so their care is part of this routine as well. Grocery shopping takes me no more than 40 minutes each week. I always have a list prepared and it makes everything seamless and quick. Also, I use an organic produce delivery service called Door to Door Organics that automatically delivers organic seasonal produce to my doorstep every Wednesday (see my blog post on this). When I get home, all I have to do is put the produce away. It saves a ton of time, and it is extremely convenient and the food is great quality. When I wake up each morning, I usually do not check my phone app notifications or email, because it is a waste of time, and I can do that later at work. I just stay focused on packing breakfast and lunch for my husband and I, taking care of all the animals, and then happily getting ready for the day.

    Sleep: 56 hours per week

    This is an average for me. I aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. Some nights, it is more like 7 hours, but I added in the extra hours to be conservative.

    Work + Volunteer Work: 40 hours per week

    I focus on getting back to emails during the work day, during office hours, and in between classes as much as possible. I try not to check emails and online platforms constantly once I get home, because that is a time drain and takes away from family time. By setting different times to check email, rather than checking all day, I realized that I save a lot of time. I also do not take a lunch break at work. For my Heaven & Earth stuff, my business partner and I divide the work up and work very well together for events and shipments. We make bulk batches of product every Monday. The one area where I would like to spend more time is on my blog, because I often let that fall by the wayside. My work for MAVS and NJCA is all volunteer but professional work nonetheless, so that all factors into my regular work hours. I try to work really quickly yet efficiently. It often surprises people how much I can get done in a short period of time, but I think that is because I try to limit distractions during the work day as much as possible.

    Total: 125 hours per week
    Time Remaining: 43 hours per week

    I have 43 hours remaining every week for other activities. This would include time with my family, entertainment, other social activities, reading, etc.

  2. I’m not great with time management, even though I’ve probably read every book about it under the sun. I’m going to give this a try for a week. I have a stop watch, so will use that to time individual activities. This should be fun……

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