5 months of my time from 2017 tracked using Now Then
If you missed Part 1, you can access it here.
Fixed and Discretionary Time Costs
In my last post, I suggested that some of our time will be spent on certain categories no matter what. We might think of this as fixed time costs.
If you are an adult, you put in your hours working in or outside the home.
If you are a student, you put in your hours in class, in the lab/field, studying, preparing for class, at practice, student clubs, and at work.
If you are retired, you might less fixed time costs but you will have commitments for volunteering, caring for grandkids, and various others events and activities.
And we all have some extra time, some discretionary time. This is like our "offseason" when participation, effort and focus is voluntary. And as the saying goes, "Champions are made in the offseason."
What should with our "offseason" time?
We might look to successful sports teams for some clues.
For example, how does the Mountaineers football team at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina look at the offseason? Through its storied history, the App State football program has won over 550 games, claimed three national championships and appeared in the Division-I FCS playoffs 20 times.
Rest and recovery is also good and important by the way. You don't have to pump weights, wake up at 4:00am and focus on crushing other human beings. : )
My Offseason Time
I focus this discretionary "offseason" time in three areas: Health, Personal Development and Service.
In Health (6.7%) I include a number of things that "charge my batteries" and keep me healthy in all major aspects of life. I am amazed that just 6.7% of my time--that's about 11 hours of the 168 hours we have in week--returns so much to my life.
Spiritual - includes formal time at our church as well as time informal time in our Life Group (small group through our church that meets weekly) and morning "quiet time"
Nature - various ways I get outside from walks in the neighborhood to more direct access to wilderness on hikes or picnics (or cross-country skiing these days)
Movement - any type of physical exercise including stretching, weight training and cardio
Social - time with friends, mentors and investing especially in character-building male friendships
Also included here are Naps, Doctor, and a sub-category I cause "Pause" which is when I just take breaks
Personal Development (1.7%) is similar to Health and we could say it is sharper focus on Intellectual Health. I break it out as a separate category because in my mind, they serve similar but different functions. Where Health is focused on "charging my batteries" Personal Development is focused on "charging my mind and skills." Professional Development could be a better name for it.
In just 1.7% of my time, I have read so many great books, learned from luminaries in podcasts, and become a better leader. I read 18 books in 2017 and it has been life changing. And it feels like it takes a lot more of my time! Og Mandino says "In 5 years, you will be exactly the same person you are right now except for the books you read and the people you meet." That's good advice.
Finally, service is serving on some terrific boards. I am privileged to serve on the boards of Clearwater Conservancy, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), and the Network for Business Sustainability.
My main take-away is that a small investment in time can yield huge results. But only if invested in the right thing.
Where you will invest your time?
How will you know where you have invested your time?
And when will you check-in on your time investments to make sure they are yielding the returns you hoped for?