I’ve spent more time looking at time logs this month than I have at any point since writing 168 Hours. Many BNET readers (responding to the post about “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast“) agreed to keep time logs for me, and the results have been coming in. Seeing all these logs has reminded me of a few best practices that I’m really working to incorporate into my own life as well.
For instance, many people want to find time for personal priorities (like exercise or writing a novel) that require a reasonable amount of time on multiple occasions. Yes, you can exercise 6 hours on Saturday and get a reasonable amount of volume in, but this isn’t ideal. Other people want to spend more time networking for work, or otherwise investing in professional development. What often trips people up is this belief that they can’t find space for these priorities every day. They don’t want to wake up at 6AM every morning to exercise. They can’t stay late for networking after work because they need to get home to see their kids before bed. And so they never do these things.
But there’s no reason for this all-or-nothing thinking. This is the benefit of thinking in terms of 168 hours rather than 24. If you want to do something like exercise 4 times per week, then you can do twice on weekends, and then aim for twice during the workweek. Twice is not every day. Most workdays you can keep your normal schedule. You only have to change things twice. This is twice that you get up a little earlier to work on that novel or go for a run. In the case of networking events, you can even aim for just once a week. That’s one night you’re gone, but hopefully you’re around the other six. That’s still a lot!
I am trying to remember this with my own schedule as well. As the temperatures have gotten warmer, I’ve realized that running outdoors during the day in my pregnant state is just unpleasant. But on cooler days, I’m fine. When is the weather almost guaranteed to be cooler than at noon? 6AM. The problem is that 6AM is hard to pull off. I don’t like committing to wake up then (even though I often am awake). I have to talk with my husband about his work and travel schedule, rather than just going when I feel like (which I can during our childcare hours). So I’ve told myself that “it just doesn’t work for me to run in the early mornings.”
But this is silly. It may not work every day… but it can twice a week. That’s two more comfortable outdoor runs than I would otherwise have. So that’s my goal for the summer. I ran early this morning, enjoying the empty streets of New York City as they slowly came alive. I will miss the rhythms of this place, the sight of the early morning light gleaming on the East River, sparkling on the bridges. It was nice to see it again. And it’s also nice to knock that to-do off today’s list before I had my coffee.
What personal priority would you like to tackle a few times per week?
(photo courtesy flickr user Ryk Neethling)