Ever heard of a little something called the 40 hour work week? Here’s why you need to take that bit of antiquated wisdom and forget it.
There’s a lot of jobs out there that require employees to put in 40 hours per week, typically Monday through Friday. That’s what most of us expect anyway. Now I’m no wiz at math, but given that there are 168 hours in a week, that leaves 128 hours left. Subtract 56 more for sleeping (that’s a solid 8 hours of beauty rest per day right there), and you still have 72 hours for other things. That’s 3 full days.
Now, of course you have other responsibilities that chip into that time. And let’s not forget setting aside time to eat, shower, and physical exercise. Even with all that gone, you’re still left with a considerable chunk of time that’s all your own.
So what do you do with it? Well, that’s entirely up to you. After all, who among us hasn’t wanted to be more productive at some point or another?
I can tell you that successful professionals are putting in way more than 40 hours of work per week. That’s because they know success takes more than the average; in fact, as far as success is concerned, the average starts to look like the bare minimum. Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t schedule in free time. Burnout is a very real obstacle, and that’s why you should be getting adequate sleep, and staying healthy in body and mind by eating right and working out. The specifics don’t matter so much, as long as you find what works for you.
To that end, take all the advice you can get, but it’s up to you to sort through what works best for you.
However you define success, examine people from all walks of life who have made it or are on their way. Look at what they’re doing and who they surround themselves with. Try new things out, and forget what doesn’t work. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that whatever you’re doing is sustainable long term. After all, dreams happen at night, but achieving them happens during the day.
It may not feel like it when we’re stressed or tired, but we have more time in a day than we realize. Use it. As a student, set aside certain hours every week to explore your interests, your passions, and your hobbies. This takes the ability to prioritize what is really important in life. That includes the obvious like health and family, but probably covers bringing in income and doing well in school as well. Each of us is on a personal journey, and what you prioritize has to come directly from you.
If being more productive appeals to you (and we hope it does), then start with the 72 hours and make a list of everything you’d like to get done in that time. Then, assign each activity a quota of hours, and start subtracting. It’s empowering to take control over our lives, and this is one sure fire way to make certain your time is your own.
For more insight into other success tips, check out our free training videos!
Alex is Director of Content at Student Success University. When not drinking tea, discussing the finer points of English cheese, or being accused of general ‘snobbery’, he can be found in the library or on the archery range, recounting charming tales from his youth to anyone who will listen. Generally a bit of a jokester, he is quite serious about commas.