So often I hear people say they are busy, and I find myself saying the same thing. That got me reflecting. What am I busy with? How do I use my time? Time is inherent in our life system, inasmuch as the whole world has adopted the 24-hour clock and anywhere on this planet, we have a period of daylight and a period of darkness. We all have 24 hours. Within every 24 hours, we sleep, eat, and move our bodies to stay alive. Recognizing that time offers us limits and potential helps us to think well about our Life Design.
There are seven 24-hour periods in a week. That’s a total of 168 hours. Let’s have a rough look at how we use that time. We might use around 50 hours for sleep, and another 25 hours for food, including shopping, preparing, eating, and cleaning up. If we are working in full-time employment, that’s a 40-hour week, and then there’s perhaps another eight or so hours for commuting, maybe more. What we’re left with is around 45 hours a week—45 precious hours for time with family, friends, exercise, relaxation, and creativity.
Becoming aware of how we use our time, what we choose to focus on, and what we choose to do in that time is part of the Life Design process. It’s not necessarily all about keeping busy. Some of the most productive use of my time is when I’m zoning out, seemingly wasting time. What I find is that those zoning-out moments are a necessary part of my creative, regenerative process. On the other hand, an activity with a defined time frame can bring about great results.
When you start to plan your Life Design actions, being conscious of how much time you have will help you to be realistic about what’s possible for you to act on in a day, a week, or a month. When you understand that you have a set number of hours already spoken for, leaving about 45 hours for you to do with as you wish, you can be more thoughtful about how many changes you will take on each month or how you can design them into things you’re already doing.
You may design changes that involve an hour of exercise per day, a house decluttering project, a change in your diet that involves researching and learning new recipes, and cycling to work. If you start all of these changes in the same month, you might end up feeling stressed as you have no time to relax and just be.
Understanding how much time you have and how to use it is part of the Life Design process. You can gain a clearer picture of how you use your time by tracking your activities. At some point, you develop a sense of how much time you need to do something, and you won’t have to track it so much. You will just have an inner sense of what you can commit to and what you need to schedule for the future. This is essentially a regenerative, life-affirming skill to develop. Showing up on time for yourself and others shows you care. Understanding how much time you need to get something done means you minimize stress and can keep to your commitments.