We’ve got a few new readers here, which is great! If you’ve just found me through publicity I’ve been doing for Juliet’s School of Possibilities and the Before Breakfast podcast, I hope you’ll stick around.
I post here most days. At some point I was telling people I blog “daily” but that isn’t true. I generally blog Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, and, it turns out, that’s only half the week.
Wednesday may be known as “hump day,” as in being the middle of the work week. But Thursday is the “hump day” of the whole week in the way most of us experience it, and this mindset shift can make all the difference in how we view life.
First, to explain. Many years ago, when I first had people start tracking their time, I needed to design a workable spreadsheet. I elected to put the days of the week across the top, Monday to Sunday, and then half-hour blocks down the left hand side. In honor of the American Time Use Survey, I decided to do 5 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. (though I later learned that the ATUS actually starts at 4 a.m. Nonetheless! That doesn’t really change the point I’m about to make, it just shifts it by an hour).
This means that, per my spreadsheet, the week starts Monday at 5 a.m., which I think is a fairly defensible starting point for the week.
Anyway, this 336-cell spreadsheet represents the 168 hours of a week. And I soon noticed something. When I’d filled out several days representing what seemed like a lot of time, up to Thursday at 5 p.m., half the spreadsheet was still blank.
In other words, Thursday at 5 p.m. is the midpoint of the week. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d always thought of close-of-business Thursday as sounding like the end of the week. But it isn’t. It’s the exact halfway mark. If I put a pin in my time log at around 5 p.m. Thursday, it would balance. There is just as much time after as there is before. For most people, there are a few more hours devoted to sleep in the second half of the week, but it’s not a huge difference.
The reason this matters is we have a tendency to discount time that doesn’t happen Monday-Thursday. Somebody who takes off for a client site Monday morning and flies home Thursday afternoon might speak of traveling all the time. But this is not all the time; it is about half of the time. Your work/life balance might be pretty work-heavy Monday through end of day Thursday. But it’s probably very “life” heavy the second half of the week. Indeed, it’s possible these two balances start to balance each other out.
This mindset also helps us honor the weekend. It’s not tacked on at the end, an after thought to the real days. It represents (especially with the addition of Friday) a big chunk of our time.
I know this shift has helped me take my weekends more seriously. It’s encouraged me to think through what I’d like to do and at least attempt to deal with the logistics. This weekend my husband and I will be going to one of our favorite restaurants. I’ll do some runs, we’ll have neighbors over, and I plan to finish reading Pnin (it’s been an eclectic month on the reading front).
Knowing where the mid-point lies helps us appreciate time in all its fullness. I’ve been writing this thinking, ok, I’ve posted my target number of blog posts to finish out the week…and look how much space we still have left to go!
Photo: Spreadsheet, more than half blank.