Use a Stopwatch or Set a Timer

Ever wonder where all your free time went? Here’s a tip. Use a stopwatch and figure it out. Or, set a timer. On everything.

This morning on a company Teams call, the boss reminded everyone to do something that was sent from “corporate.”  I chimed in and said, “I did that right when I got the email and from the downloading of the App, to the logging in, and to the upload of the required information, it took me 9 minutes and 37 seconds (00:09:37).”  To which my boss said jokingly, “if it took Don nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds, the rest of us will probably need 25-minutes.”

To my co-workers reading this …I believe in you. You can do it in less than 15-minutes. I know it!!!

But it reminded me, oh, right, not everyone obsesses about this type of stuff.

Moments before writing this, I used some soapy water to clean the inside of my oven. I have no idea how long that lasted, but when done, I flipped the oven to 350 and set a timer for 8-minutes …long enough for the oven to heat up and dry-off the water, but not long enough to heat to the entire 350 degrees. It’s a trick I use with my cast-irons.

I set the timer for 8-minutes and decided, hey, I’ll quick flip open the laptop, look at some headlines, and maybe scroll a little through Facebook.

To my shock …the 8-minute timer sounded in what I thought was only a couple of minutes. Turns out, my quick trip to the Internet was actually 8-minutes and during that time I didn’t look at any headlines …I only scrolled through Facebook.

Little things like this remind me, and should remind all of us, that if we’re not careful, we could very well spend too much time on things we know we shouldn’t be spending much time on at all. Here’s some things I’ve logged and know exactly how long it takes me to complete a task.

  • Shaving:  00:04:30
  • Shower:  00:02:39
  • Commute to Work:  00:18:00 (in perfectly clear traffic)
  • The Rosary:  00:07:45 (listening to a guided Podcast at 1.5x speed)
  • Cuppa AeroPress Coffee:  00:01:11
  • Make a Bed:  00:03:15

And then there’s the things I set a timer for…

  • Journaling when waking:  15-minutes
  • Burst A.M. and P.M. Workouts:  15-minutes each (and I’ll be increasing that to 20-minutes each, soon)
  • Looking at Facebook (only on the computer and never on my phone):  10-minutes, 3x/day [Total 30-minutes]
  • Blogging/Writing:  1-hour

So it inspired me to think about something else …the work-life-balance conundrum. I’ve said it. I’ve heard it. You’ve probably said it. You say you can’t find that balance and that you just don’t have enough time and you and I feel like we’re always working and don’t have time for family and hobbies.

Really? Or are you and I making excuses? Let’s look at the math.

2022 has 365 days and 8,760 hours.

We should sleep for 7 hours a night. 365 days x 7 hours = 2,555 sleeping hours.

Subtract the sleeping hours and you have your waking hours.

2022 has 52 weeks and 260 weekdays. But how many of those Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are actual days-of-work? My math says we’ll all have 131 non-work days (Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and vacation/personal days).

So, this leaves 234 workdays. And let’s assume your workday is 8 hours. No, let’s bump that up to 8 1/2 hours. With or without a commute, let’s say 8:45 a.m. start time and 5:15 p.m. quitting time.

234 work days x 8.5 hours = 1,989 work hours.

Next, if you look at your 7 hours of weekday sleep and your 8.5 hours of weekday work, that actually gives you 8.5 hours per day of “me time” (assuming 6:00-8:45 a.m. morning routine and 5:15-11:00 p.m. evening stuff). Add the Monday thru Friday “me time” to the weekends, holidays, and vacation days and you and I have 4,216 hours of “me time” each year.

Back to my original point …how are you using those precious minutes of “me time” and are you selfish with them? Or do you give many of those minutes to Zuckerburg or Rupert Murdoch? Meaning, do you spend too much time looking at Facebook and watching TV news? Be selfish. Guard your “me time” and make it count. And I’m not even saying “don’t binge-watch” stuff. Do that. I think entertainment is art and culture and, like reading a book, is a quality form of escape. Not hours and hours each day …but everything in small doses, right? Then, be selfish at work, too. If you spend a couple minutes talking about the snow or the weather, and do it with two different people at different times, and you talk about the “big game” last weekend, or you make a coffee run, or any other dozen things you can do in a day that aren’t work …think about your time.

We only have to much time on this planet. Let’s use it wisely, together, in 2022 and for years to come.

One Comment on “Use a Stopwatch or Set a Timer

  1. Pingback: Friday Free-for-All – Don Kowalewski

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