Time Utilization you say ? Yes, Time utilization and the rationalization of a time within a week. I sat down the other day to try and figure out where my greatest “time sinks” were in any one week and came to the conclusion that appropriate planning of time can really change the manner in which you work and which you relax.
Time Utilization you say ? Yes, Time utilization and the rationalization of a time within a week. I sat down the other day to try and figure out where my greatest “time sinks” were in any one week and came to the conclusion that appropriate planning of time can really change the manner in which you work and which you relax. For the last few months, I have been working pretty crazy time schedules which has lead to ridiculously inconsistent sleeping patterns and very little sleep indeed. This isn’t necessarily a long term endeavour and is a facet of building a start-up — but I wanted to try and normalise my time within any particularly week and figure out what exactly I was doing.
In any week, you have approximately 168 hours at your disposal (TT = total time = 168hrs). That is — for those that can’t be bothered to do the maths — simply 7x24 hrs which arrives at this magic number. Now let’s assume that each day you sleep around 7 hrs — that means your total time (TT) is now reduced by 49hrs to give you an available time period of approximately 119 hrs (AT=119) or around 17 hrs per day. Frankly, when you think about it — that’s a lot of hours available to be doing stuff. For the “average 40 hr week worker” — this would break down to be something like
- 2 hrs for work-related travel
- 8 hrs of work
- 1 Hour for lunch
- 1 hrs of personal time [waking up/shower/cleaning etc]
- 5 hrs of relaxation time
On this basis of a typical working week, then approximately 17 hours of time are available on weekends or a total of 34 available hours. Such a break down infers that the total relaxation time per week available to any “average” worker is around 25 + 34 or approximately 59 hrs of disposal time (FT = free time) to do stuff — or around 35.11% of Total Time (TT) or 49.5% of Available Time (AT). In my mind — this is quite of a bit of time to do anything you like. I often listen to people complain “I never have enough time” — and after breaking the week down — I think as an average proportion of the population — you actually have 49.5% of your Available Time per week to do what you want — evidently, you are either the % proportion of people outside the above proposed structure and therefore have different Total Time variables — or you really have a lot of time but you aren’t utilizing it correctly.
Of course, in my view at least, I think the key differentiators to the above model are:
- People sleep for greater than 7 hrs per day — inferring that they are losing a higher proportion of their available time (AT) and therefore eating into their Free Time. But — I would argue that is a choice — and therefore it should eat into Free Time — since you’re choosing to sleep more than 7hrs and therefore [in my mind] this IS leisure time.
- People work longer — thereby increasing the level of working time and reducing the level of Free Time. Arguably, not a Free Time choice and therefore the question here is one of effectiveness and efficiency.
For those whose time “melds together” [ala me] — the key is that a lot of the relaxation time is “mixed” with the working time. That is, as a function of the working week — the time I utilize for work mixes with the relaxation time — but it is all related to work. This is perhaps a key problem (although I enjoy it) — because it means that the differentiation between the above 1–5 segments is broken and creates the inevitable “I never have enough time” scenario. Again, however, a specific choice of mine.
So how can one fix all this ? What I’ve proposed to do is to significantly proportion and timetable my week — I want to see how effectively I am using the time I have allocated for specific tasks and see whether — within the time allocations — I am actually performing the tasks I have actually allocated to try and form an optimal structure. For example, if you’ve allocated 4 hour block of working time — but you find yourself drifting to News sites or writing blog posts — you’re eating into allocated working time and this has to be redistributed to leisure time. Importantly, this is suggesting that a 4hr block of time isn’t working — so perhaps reduce the length of the blocks and reallocate them to more short blocks to ensure that you using this time effectively. For example, 5x2 hrs blocks or 3x3 hr blocks and 1 “miscellaneous working” block (email/planning etc). This would give a 50hr working week and still ensure that you have 49 hrs of FT per week (way more than I am getting at the moment).
Of course, you might be thinking “Um, this sounds quite ridiculous” — but I think that most people have a lot more time available to them each week but they just aren’t using it correctly. If you really think about it and you fall into the above structure — you’ve got 59 hours per week at your disposal to do with what you want — 49.5% of the time you are awake. The key question is — what are you doing with this time and are you using it effectively. Equivalently, if you’re finding yourself working way more than the above structure — or the variables are completely wrong — I question the effectiveness of the time you’ve allocated to working and whether the change you need to make is working more effectively as opposed to working longer. Propose & make changes to your working structure (if its possible) and this will enable you’re free time to “truly” be allocated free time.