168 Hours

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” ~ Lewis Carol, Through the Looking Glass

“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time” ~ Steve Jobs

We know time is a finite resource, and sometimes a truly scarce commodity, so what can we do to make the most of what we have?  Here’s a self awareness exercise that helps me maximize my time: there are 168 hours in a week.

Listing four basic buckets for a typical working week: sleep, commute, work, and everything else, a typical working week might look something like this (according to the bureau of labor statistics).

168 Hours


How would yours look?

If you want this mix to change, what can you control?

And recognizing that whenever we say Yes to something, we have to say No to something else.


Now break out Work.  List every major activity.  Be as granular as you find helpful: Conference calls, Emails, Meetings 1:1 and Group, Preparing presentations, Delivering presentations, Planning, researching, networking…

A week at work might look like this:

Work Pie


Again, if you want this mix to change what can you control?

What could you do differently that might have the greatest impact?

How can meeting time be reduced? How can meetings be less frequent and more productive?

And is email always faster than talking?

Then break out Everything Else.  List every major activity.  Again, be as granular as you like: Chores, TV, music & movies, browsing and/or shopping online, reading, socializing, hobbies, exercise and leisure time.

A week outside of work might look like this

Life Pie

According to Facebook’s internal numbers, although 20+ minutes is the global average, people in the US spend much more time on their platform than that.

In Facebook’s Q2 earnings last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the average US consumer spends 40 minutes on Facebook per day (Jul 8, 2015)

That’s 10 days a year!  That’s as much PTO as some folks get to take.

For me being more effective with my time starts with being honest about where my time goes, being aware of where my time goes and then making a conscious and sustained choice to think and behave differently until a new routine is established.

Establishing new routines is often infinitely easier said than done, however change begins, all change begins, with self awareness and then with choice.  Understanding where my time goes helps me think about why and what I can control or do that could influence a different outcome.

This self-evaluation and self-awareness is key to effective leadership and developing emotional intelligence.

If you ever feel there isn’t enough time and you wonder where it all goes, try this and see if it helps you make new discoveries, new changes and new choices?

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” ~ Lewis Carol, Through the Looking Glass

Let me know how I can assist you?

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