If you are trying to figure out the significance of 168 hours, it’s the number of hours in a week.
24 x 7 = 168.
For the past nine months, the number has haunted me.
168 hours? I can squeeze it all in.
Nine months ago, I took a little online seminar on time management. It challenged me to map out my week using a printed weekly schedule and a handful of highlighters to color code my activities. It even gave helpful reminders to budget some time in for sleeping, eating, and cleaning house.
It wasn’t trying to get me to make every single hour of each day scheduled (that would be ridiculous). The point of the exercise was to show me exactly how much time I had committed and how much of it was “free.”
By the time I listed out all my time commitments for a week, I was at 182 hours. BEFORE SLEEP. It was ridiculous. I rolled my eyes at the impossibility of the whole thing. Then I showed my husband and used as proof that we needed a maid and a full time nanny.
Then I emailed someone and committed more of my time in yet another venture.
No, seriously. It’s 168 hours.
Then I went to National Conference for Thirty One. I’ll spare you most of the details. What influenced me the most was a small breakout session on time management.
She handed out time maps and told us we each had 168 hours a week.
Because it was a 31 seminar, she gave some suggestions
- budget 8 hours a night for sleep but don’t plan on getting it.
- schedule at least 10 hours a week for your home based business (20 would be better)
- allow three hours a day for cooking and cleaning
- make sure you block out time for family and church
- allow at least 30 minutes a day for relaxation
That was twice in less than a month that I’d been given the exact same challenge. Stuff like that makes me sit up and pay attention.
(I admit, I whipped out my calculator to double check the math. Surely there have to be more hours in the week.)
Since I already knew I couldn’t fit all my stuff into the silly squares, I concentrated on prioritizing. In an ideal world, how much of what SHOULD I be trying to fit into my week?
As painful as it was, I recognized that housework and parenting weren’t optional activities. Carline wasn’t going to magically disappear off my calendar.
It really is 168 hours.
About three weeks later, I had a friend recommend a book. She said it really helped her move past the whole overcommitted thing and look at her time a little differently.
I hadn’t even told her I was feeling overcommitted. I think it must have been showing.
The title of the book was enough to stop me in my tracks.
(That’s my Amazon link for the paperback. It’s available on Kindle too. Clicking on the link and buying something from Amazon will buy me a stick of gum or something.)
(Note: this isn’t just about the book. I started making changes BEFORE I read her book.)
Since then, I’ve let so much stuff fall off my plate. I’ve simplified and streamlined. I’ve pulled the plug on commitments. I’ve been the jealous guardian of my schedule.
I had no idea where I would end up. But every so often, I’d try to fill out the silly little boxes again. I was determined to make everything fit (at least on paper) and still get a decent night’s sleep.
In the process, I’ve found time…
…time to catch up on laundry.
…time to read a book.
…time to clear out old boxes.
…time to listen to friends and family.
I still can’t make everything fit. I’m not sure I ever will or what kind of life I’d lead if I had less to do than there was time to do it in. But the journey has made me more aware of the hours I have.
If you’re looking for a challenge and a change in your own life, try it.