Not Enough Time

I am trying to create a new career for myself, enjoy time with my family, and live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. I am inundated with advice from all forms of media on how to accomplish this, and like any well organized person I start by building a list of things to do, and a calendar by which I can do it. If I take into account ALL the things I should be doing, according to the experts, I have no time for a real job.

Here is how my week breaks down. There are 168 hours in a week (24 x 7).

Everything I list below is a bare minimum of what I’ve read that experts recommend that I should be doing to lead a balanced and healthy life, mixed in with the mundane chores we can never escape:


8 hours in bed per night, (this includes sleep and lovemaking) = 56 hours a week

1 hour of exercise, six days a week = 6 hours a week

Meditation/Mindfulness/Quiet solitude, 30 mins. a day = 4.5 hours a week

Preparing Real Food, Family Meals, Cleaning Up, 3 hours a day = 15 hours a week

Personal Care (hygiene, grooming, dressing) = 30 min. a day x 7 = 4.5 hours a week

Strategic Planning (investment, schools, mortgage) = 2 hours a week

Personal Improvement, Education (all those self-help sites) = 2 hours a week

Worship, Volunteering = 2 hours a week

Shopping for Food, Clothes, errands = 4 hours a week

Spending time with friends, Socializing = 3 hours a week

Entertainment, News, Magazines, TV Movies, Social Media = 4 hours a week

Home Organizing (bills, cleaning, filing, arranging) = 4 hours a week.

Outside Appointments for Health and Household Maintenance (doctors, dentists, accountants, car repair, etc.) This is about 25 hours a year, or 1/2 hour a week = .5 hours a week.

Working on the Home (watering, planting, painting, repairing, organizing, boxing, making the computer and internet and printers work) = 2 hours a week.

Time for Children Only (All of the above can involve kids, but there is also time where the above must stop, so children come first.) Bike riding, swimming, watching recitals, reading, homework. I have only 1 child, so my lowest estimate is = 7.5 hours a week.

Time for Wife Only (this is going out one night a week, and having an adult conversation or two in the morning or evening, where we can pause and contemplate our lives together) = 4 hours a week.

Vacation 13 full days a year (Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, plus 7 days of vacation days a year) = 13 x 24/52 weeks = 6 hours a week.

Everything listed adds up to 128 hours. If there are 168 hours in a week, and I need 128 hours to lead a balanced life, that leaves 40 hours This, however, does not include commuting to and from work, which at a minimum is 1 hour a day.

I can, however, listen to news podcasts in the car to stay current on issues, so I can steal 4 hours from my Entertainment and/or Personal Improvement line.

However, once I start to multi-task too much, I fall out of balance and I do neither task well, so I am reluctant to do too much of this.

I also didn’t plan for the twister. Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans, right? Let’s build some crisis management into this equation. I am referring to those tribulations that enter every person’s life -- from illness to accidents, to parents with Alzheimer’s, to children with disabilities.

At first, a big problem will erase the entire chalkboard and you’re back with a tabula rasa, where nothing matters.

Over time, however, you must learn to manage the crisis, and find the hours. I could get by with less sleep, order in bad take-out food, and skip exercising -- those are the choices most of us make anyway.  However, I want to give my personal life and my family the attention the all deserve.

Therefore I am going to add 2 hours a week for crisis management.

My 40 hours available for work is actually 40-1-2 = 37 hours available for work.

Anyone hiring?

How little time do you have for yourself, and how do you get it?

Ian Bull2 Comments