Saturday, December 24, 2016
this year was..., and: 168 hours / week
This year was...
New and intense.
Colorful and difficult.
Sad and happy.
For me, it was a year of growth.
The year of recovering from chemo and all.
The year of finding my way into a new balance.
The year of good news and sad news from co-patients.
It altogether has been a year of reflection, and it fits that this December now turned into the month of #decemberreflections2016.
Reflecting on 2016 also made me think of 2017 - and today I came across a beautiful Ted talk that connects to it. The title of it is: "How to gain control of your free time." But it is touching a larger horizon, it's main focus is "how to build the lives we want in the time we've got.":
I copied the part that I want to try for myself, about building the life we want:
"So how do we do that? How do we treat our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater? Well, first we need to figure out what they are. I want to give you two strategies for thinking about this.
The first, on the professional side: I'm sure many people coming up to the end of the year are giving or getting annual performance reviews. You look back over your successes over the year, your "opportunities for growth." And this serves its purpose, but I find it's more effective to do this looking forward. So I want you to pretend it's the end of next year. You're giving yourself a performance review, and it has been an absolutely amazing year for you professionally. What three to five things did you do that made it so amazing? So you can write next year's performance review now.
And you can do this for your personal life, too. I'm sure many of you, like me, come December, get cards that contain these folded up sheets of colored paper, on which is written what is known as the family holiday letter. Bit of a wretched genre of literature, really.... But these letters serve a purpose, which is that they tell your friends and family what you did in your personal life that mattered to you over the year. So this year's kind of done, but I want you to pretend it's the end of next year, and it has been an absolutely amazing year for you and the people you care about. What three to five things did you do that made it so amazing?
And now, between the performance review and the family holiday letter, we have a list of six to ten goals we can work on in the next year.
And now we need to break these down into doable steps. And then -- this is key -- we treat our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater, by putting them into our schedules first. We do this by thinking through our weeks before we are in them.I find a really good time to do this is Friday afternoons. Friday afternoon is what an economist might call a "low opportunity cost" time. Most of us are not sitting there on Friday afternoons saying, "I am excited to make progress toward my personal and professional priorities right now." But we are willing to think about what those should be.
So take a little bit of time Friday afternoon, make yourself a three-category priority list: career, relationships, self. Making a three-category list reminds us that there should be something in all three categories. Career, we think about; relationships, self -- not so much. But anyway, just a short list, two to three items in each. Then look out over the whole of the next week, and see where you can plan them in.
Where you plan them in is up to you. I know this is going to be more complicated for some people than others. But I do think that the numbers I am about to tell you are empowering. There are 168 hours in a week. Twenty-four times seven is 168 hours. That is a lot of time. If you are working a full-time job, so 40 hours a week, sleeping eight hours a night, so 56 hours a week -- that leaves 72 hours for other things. That is a lot of time.
So we have plenty of time, which is great, because guess what? We don't even need that much time to do amazing things. But when most of us have bits of time, what do we do? Pull out the phone, right? But small moments can have great power. You can use your bits of time for bits of joy.
It's about looking at the whole of one's time and seeing where the good stuff can go. I truly believe this. There is time. Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. And when we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want in the time we've got."