What’s the right split of your 168 hours?

A few weeks ago, several dozen of us took the 168 Hours Challenge and logged our time for a week. It was an eye-opening experience, even for me (and I’ve done this many times as part of writing the book!)

After keeping a log and tallying the hours up, I always tell people to ask whether those totals reflect your priorities. But then that leads to the question: what should that split be?

This will be different for everyone, and depends on your stage in life. I was spending 45 hours working, but it felt like more because that was coming in 2-3 hour (or less) chunks, broken up by nursing breaks, other childcare duties, exercise, errands, plus the general distractions of working at home. Perhaps 45 hours in an office would have felt different. If you have young children, you will probably spend more time on their physical care than when they are older. If you’re training for a marathon, you’ll spend more time exercising than when you’re not (says the woman whose great 35-mile-per-week streak has now turned into a 15-mile-per-week slog).

What is your ideal split? Figuring 8 hours of sleep per night (56 per week) how would you like to split your time among work, family, personal time, and have-to-do stuff like chores? 45-35-25-7? 40-40-20-12? 35-40-30-7? How close to that do you think you are now?

3 thoughts on “What’s the right split of your 168 hours?

  1. I’d say my ideal is
    sleep unless in first trimester of a pregnancy so now at 63 (umm can I count these extra 7 hours as family time, i say yes making baby counts as family time) – 45 work- 10 hrs volunteer cause — 40-50 hrs family (some debate about how to categorize, kid time, hubby time, kid & hubby time) — personal 21 — 5) = this comes to 189 so I miscalculated .. yikes!

    reworked would be 56 sleep, 40 work, 8 volunteer commitment, 40 family total including date night of three or four hours a week) 18 personal = 2.5 per day for eat, exercise, read whatever — 6 hours errands etc which is like 45 minutes a day and that is enough —

    something to look at is how many hours each child or kid is awake and then d the math about who is doing what childcare. right now my daughter is 168 hours, 24 in daycare, 12-16 with grandma, 70 hours or more sleeping including naps = 59 waking hours = 8.3 hours and I would like to spend on average no more than 6 hurs with her which means hubby should be doing like 14 hours of one on one non me parenting.. and this probably isn’t happening — laura, can you post on this like how to do this for your own kids and look at how you want them spending their time and how much of that you really need to be there for — for me 5 plus hours a day of one on one time with my child is enough.. some days it is 8 or9 hours and some days it is 2 hours but on average I foundthat to be good, not sure how it works with 2 plus children

  2. Hmmm…

    Ideally? This is sort of an amalgam of all the things I DO during the week, and how I WISH the time were divided. Exercise, professional development, time with my husband are shorted.

    Sleep 56. Wind-down before bed 7. Coffee and brain wake-up in am 3.5.

    Exercise 7 (including showers, driving to gym, dog on leash, finding Ipod, whatever).

    Work about 28.
    Unavoidable commute 6
    Professional reading 5
    Working on new projects/exploring options for advanced degree/entrepreneurial ideas 3.

    Cooking (including extravagant weekend dinners, which I love) 10.
    Yukky gross other housework (including laundry, cleaning, dinner clean-up, but NOT yardwork) 7.
    Shopping (including grocery shopping, shopping with my teen daughter, etc) 5.
    Logistics time (planning carpools/kid activities/touching base with teachers/helping daughter with high school/college plans/ networking with other parents) 3.

    Recreational/spare time activities:
    Reading for fun 7 (but audiobooks are TERRIFIC for multitasking so I won’t count this)
    Gardening (only about 5 months/yr) 5.
    other outside stuff — sailing, bike riding, long walks/ some of this is exercise, but not all — 7
    Lying in bed with my teenage daughter or my 9 yr old son listening to them talk about their lives/thoughts/dreams– 3 (sadly doesn’t happen every day)
    Carpooling/waiting for kids to finish activities — 3 (sometimes a LOT more)
    Cocktails or late night TV with my husband — 3 (wish it were more)

    Missing or unaccounted for?
    — other hobbies (needlecrafts, more sailing, biking)
    –More time with my kids (they are incorporate into a lot of this since they like to cook, help garden, etc)
    –Volunteer time (happens sporadically)
    — more time with my husband and by myself, and with other friends
    — I haven’t accounted for all those random 15 minutes here and there on the computer (like this!)

    How does the split look? I’ll have to add it up and comment later, since I’m going to watch a movie with my daughter now….

  3. I kept my time log during the past week and I ended up with:
    sleep: 56,5
    work: 66,5
    family: 12
    me: 14,5
    chores: 18,5

    I wish I could cut back on the time I spend on chores…

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