There are 168 hours in one week. When I first thought of my week as 168 hours, a lot changed. My perception of time became more focused, and more about getting things done. Of course, there aren't a full 168 hours for you to do things, because we have to remove some of them for functioning as a normal human being!
Sleep: 56 hours
Seriously, get in your sleep. You're happier, healthier and more creative when you sleep properly.
I personally can’t function if I don’t get exactly 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night— I know some people swear that they only sleep 2 or 3 hours a night and are fine…and good for them. That’s not for me, and probably not for most other humans. So taking away 8 hours of sleep each night, that leaves us with 112 hours that we’re awake and functioning.
WORK/STUDENT/ETC: 56 HOURS
I'm going to assume another 8 hours a day is spent doing things like working, being a student, being a parent, volunteering, etc. Whatever it is, it's likely that we have about 8 hours a day of some obligation that we can't easily change. I'm going to take away another 56 hours which leaves us with-- you guessed it, 56 hours!
Your time to achieve your goals: 56 HOURS
56 hours a week are yours to spend however you want. 56 hours! That’s a tremendous amount of time when you think about it. 56 hours is roughly equivalent to watching four seasons of House of Cards (with 4 hours to spare).
56 hours is 8 hours a day that are yours to spend however you want. Even if you take away 4 of those hours for things like preparing dinner, driving around, and generally being a human, that leaves you with 4 hours a day. I know that when I track my time, I find that these hours are often filled with meaningless activities: Watching tv shows (often repeats of shows I’ve already seen many times), playing video games, and tapping around on social media sites. At the end of this time, I have literally nothing to show for it.
I’m not saying that I should never have this kind of leisure time— in fact, I think it’s critical that I turn my brain off every now and then and reset. The problem is that it’s unnecessary to do that every single day— there’s no way that I need to ‘reset’ every day. It’s just laziness and complacency. It’s a million times easier to put on Netflix and let it autoplay my life into oblivion than it is to open up a project in Xcode and make progress on coding. It’s easier to sit and play a few levels in Mario than to pick up a book and learn something new. It's easier than opening a blank document and trying to write something new.
Our brains like the easy path— learning things takes work. The problem with the easy path is that it’s a path to no where. We will end up in the same place at the end of the week as the beginning. Change doesn’t occur when we’re comfortable — change happens when we have the courage to do the hard work, take the risks, and make things happen.
What can you do with your 56 hours? If you track even an hour a day of progress towards some goal of yours, that’s 7 hours a week closer to finishing. The closer you get, the faster you go, and the sooner you’ll reach the goal you care about— launching a new app, writing a killer blog post, speaking a language fluently, selling your crafts online, having a fit body, or whatever it is!
Many businesses started with a founder simply putting in the hours after work, and after sleep, and building their mountain rock by rock. With persistence, intelligence, adaptability and creativity, those businesses can take over their full time work-- which is such an amazing thing. As they say, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.
The challenge is to figure out how you spend your 56 hours, then make small adjustments each day to take back some of that time and work towards a goal that matters to you. You'll be amazed at what you can do with a little bit of time. Go get it!