Using Your Time

8 questions toward living the life you’d like to live.

Posted Feb 18, 2019

Prairie Kitten, Flickr CC 2.0
Source: Prairie Kitten, Flickr CC 2.0

Everyone tells you to prioritize but it’s not so easy to decide what to prioritize. The following self-inventory should help.

There are 168 hours in a week, so, for example, if you sleep 8 hours a night, you’re awake for 112 hours a week. How many hours would your wisest self allocate to each of the following activities? Write your estimate in the space next to each item.

Paid work.  Only count the hours you'd want to actually be working or doing work-related studying. So don’t count water-cooler chatting, lunch, playing on the Net during the workday, etc. (A new study finds the UK office workers spend only 2 hours and 23 minutes actually working.) As you’re deciding how many hours to allocate, recognize that different people value work differently: Some do the least they can get away with while still be self-supporting. On the other end of the continuum, some people work as much as feasible, believing that the life well-led is primarily defined by the amount of their contribution, even if it’s to a small sphere of influence. _____

Volunteer work. In addition to standard volunteer work, for example, at Planned Parenthood or at your child’s school, don’t forget about time you'd want to spend volunteering to help a neighbor or family member.  Also include domestic activities for your family: cooking, cleaning, and parenting. The latter’s importance has been given a recent boost by new research just reported in the New York Times. That research indicates that involved parenting (authoritative but not authoritarian) can boost their child’s achievement, emotional and physical health, and decrease substance abuse.  _____

Relationships. Apart from parenting, which is covered above, how much time in a typical week would the wise you want to spend with or in finding a romantic partner and/or with a platonic friend(s) or relatives? _____

Creative outlets. Many of my clients, friends, (and me) derive great satisfaction from creative outlets. Yet life’s exigencies often push creative activity to the back burner. How many hours in a typical week would the wise you allocate to one or more creative activities, for example, writing, a performing art, or visual art?  _____

Other recreation. These could include sports, crafts, video games, TV, reading for fun, etc. _____

Personal maintenance. This would include exercise, daily hair and makeup, clothes shopping, meeting medical needs, etc. _____

Spirituality: Although a study reported in Scientific American finds "No Religion" to be the fastest growing religion, many people want more spirituality and community than secular humanism provides. _____

Other. Other than what’s covered above, in a typical week, is there something else on which your wise self would spend significant time? If so what, and how many hours? _____

The takeaway

As you review the hours you’ve allocated in your target week, do you want to make any changes now? Or if this isn’t the right time, when?

I read this aloud on YouTube.