Building the perfect schedule has been a constant process of refinement for me.
Although I use the word 'constant', you could also interchange that with 'addictive', 'zealous', or 'maniacal'. Also, when I use the word "refinement', you can also replace that with 'throwing everything I love doing at the wall and assuming it all will stick'.
Have you ever complained about being too busy? Found yourself wistfully dreaming about better 'balance in life"? Tell me about it.
Wise words have been swapped and challenged amidst my social circles about how one should answer the question "What do you do?" There has been much discussion about how the majority of people answer that question by describing their job title or position. For instance, "I work at X", or "I'm a banker" or "I teach yoga" satisfies the type of typical response that the asker is seeking. Of course, this standardized response makes sense based on the fact that we spend 40+ hours of our week at work.
Instead of answering in that fashion, however, our group of friends decided that a better way of describing what we do is by providing a more personal response, a glimpse into our personal lives.
This would look like "I love reading" or "I love playing volleyball on Thursdays".
However, this discussion brought me to utter confusion, because I have no idea how to answer the very simple question of "What do you do?"
I've built my schedule over the last few years on 6 main pillars:
1. Spirituality aka my relationship with God.
2. Romance aka my relationship with Teresa
3. Health aka my relationship with my body (personal fitness, sleep, eating habits, hygiene)
4. Work/Finances aka my relationship with earning/investing my money and perfecting my craft
5. Social aka my relationship with people (friends)
6. Education, aka my relationship with books, podcasts, and structured learning
How do you even begin to answer that question on what you do if you're like me, and you try to do everything?!
I set out to create the perfect schedule that balanced all 6 pillars.
For most of 2015, I had it down pat. My tightly-monitored schedule enabled me to run my first full marathon, become the top producer in Canada, double my net-worth, continue to learn, elevate my personal relationships, and explore spirituality deeper.
Then, in December, as a fun exercise, I recently tabulated how much time I spend on each area in an average week.
Seeing flawless time-management as operating at 100% capacity for a fully-realized life, I figured out the following, based on our starting benchmark of 168 hours/week.
This is, of course, because 7 days/week X 24 hours/day = 168 hours/week.
(Yay - multiplication!)
Sleep: 7 days/week X 7 hours/day: 49 hours/week
Work: 7 days/week X 8 hours/day: 56 hours/week, includes lunchtime.
Hold up. Sleep and work account for 105 hours? That's 62.5%, or 2/3s, of my life. o.O
That's okay, sleep is a non-negotiable for me.
Okay, let's keep going.
Driving: 21 hours - broken down by 3 hours of commuting a day (1 hour to and from work, 1 hour to my sports game or evening event
Eating: ~8 hours - broken down by 15 minutes for breakfast, 45 minutes for dinner
Time w/ God: 9 hours - broken down by 1 hour for worship team rehearsal, 2 hours in Church, 2 hours for bible study, 4 hours if there's LEAD (leadership discipleship class)
Relationship: 8 hours - broken down by 3-4 hour date nights, like movies, dining out, cooking at home, watching Netflix, etc.
Exercise: 6 hours - broken down by 1 hour for Dodgeball, 2 hours for Squash, 2 hours for Volleyball, 1 hour for Floor Hockey
Education: 2 (4) hours - broken down by 2 hours spent on reading, 2 hours on podcasts while driving.
Relaxation: ~6 hours - this is normally invested with friends, grabbing food/catching up/watching TV/board game nights
Total allocated time: 165/168 hours
So when people ask me what I do, when you look at my schedule, how would you answer that?
What's both really impressive (self high-five) and really terrifying is my inability to react to spontaneous events. Stephen Covey re-defines responsibility by breaking it up into two words: Response + Ability. At a recent church retreat, the pastor shared how some of us (read: me) were primarily DO-ERs. We execute really well, we get things done, and we always prefer action over humming and hawing. However, we lack the ability to respond to unscheduled events. This really hurts us when we come across people in need and we can't help them.
For example, a friend of mine got sick recently. However, being completely booked up, I was unable to support that friend when they needed it the most (definitely not my proudest moment).
This was a wake-up call, especially considering the fact that I thought that I nailed my schedule down to the perfect balance.
So there you have it, a template for the 'perfect'/'balanced' schedule. Accompanied, of course, with the pitfalls of trying to be too perfect.
Ironically, the time-tabulation exercise has led me to focus this year on saying "No" more often, which is my biggest weakness (Huge case of FOMO). It has also made me prioritize more frequently and choose my big rocks over the smaller ones. I might completely throw a fully-scheduled Saturday out the window if I just want to spend an entire day at home with a cup of tea and a bag of Ruffles All-Dressed chips. (These "Do-Nothing" Saturdays allow me to avoid burnout and I do them once a month).
Next up on my list: Figure out what else I can delete from my life!
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.