It’s Labor Day weekend, and I certainly hope most people will celebrate by not doing labor. I mean, we’re all so busy, especially in PR! But are we being honest about how we spend our time?
Start from the premise that we all have 168 hours per week, which sounds like a lot. And out of those hours, many would say we work about 45-50 hours a week and try to sleep 7-8 hours a night. Many have a one-hour commute each day. We have now used up about 100 hours, what are you doing with the other 68?
Perhaps you’d like to be:
• Exercising at least three times a week
• Eating (preparing and enjoying your meals, a bit more on weekends)
• Binge-watching your favorite shows
• Family time/entertainment
• Catching up on your reading
If your current time allotment is just not working for you, here are some ways to improve your laborious life:
Keep a time log. Track time to keep you from spending it mindlessly and to keep yourself honest. Write down what you’re doing as often as you remember for at least a week. Add up the totals. Checking social media five times a day at six minutes a pop adds up to two-and-a-half hours in a workweek — curiously, the exact amount of time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends we exercise.
Be honest. While humble-bragging Americans claim to sleep only five hours per night, time logs show many of us do actually get the prescribed eight or more. One study tracking people’s estimated and actual workweeks found that those claiming to work 70, 80, or more hours were logging less than 60.
Set goals. Ask yourself what you’d like to do with your time; perhaps adding more exercise by swapping out a couple hours of purposeless web trawling. See where in your 168 hours you could make that happen.
Change your language. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” which is often a perfectly adequate explanation. “I have time to clean out my closet, but it’s not a priority.” Other things are harder. “I keep cancelling the dentist because my health is not a priority.” Changing up our terminology reminds us that time is a choice – some of it anyway – and we have to balance how we spend our precious time!