four women at a table working, three are sitting and one is standing

Taking Care of Business AND Yourself

You have 62 hours a week to do with whatever you choose. You’re probably laughing right now. You’re thinking, “No, Kenna, you may have 62 free hours in your week, but I certainly don’t. I’m busy and stressed pretty much all the time.” I understand your skepticism. But hear me out.

There are 168 hours in every week. So, if you sleep eight hours a night, that’s 56 hours a week. FYI, most people don’t sleep eight hours a night. The average is about 6.8 hours. So, it’s likely you laughed again at the idea of getting eight hours of sleep. But if you do sleep 56 hours a week and work 50 hours a week, you still have 62 hours to do other things.

Let me blow your mind one more time. Most people don’t work 50 hours a week. Many people don’t even work 40 hours a week. On average, people work about 35 hours a week.

So, a person who follows the standards has 62 free hours a week. The average person has more than 85 hours a week to fill with whatever they want.

This fun with math is courtesy of Laura Vanderkam, a productivity expert and author of the book “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.”

It’s all about working productively, then actively relaxing.

Vanderkam is right. We have much more time than we think. So why do we always feel like we can’t get our work done and have no time to relax? It’s less about having the time and more about how you spend it. It’s all about working productively, then actively relaxing. Or, as I like to call it, “Working hard and relaxing harder.” I’m a huge supporter of this mantra and try to practice it in my own life.

Don’t believe me? Ask my boss, Lindsey Miller, where I spend most of my afternoons. She’ll tell you I’m usually in my pool. First, I get my work done, and then I get on with the rest of my life, which includes a fair amount of self-care. 

I spoke about these concepts last week during WordFest Live, hosted by Big Orange Heart. The nonprofit focuses on helping remote workers with positive physical and mental health. I was thrilled to speak at the conference — even if it did mean I missed that afternoon’s pooltime — because I believe in the importance of proactively focusing on mental health. 

Thank you to all the WordFest Live organizers, volunteers, and sponsors. Keep focusing on the important work of helping people guard and improve their emotional wellbeing.

If you’d like to watch my talk, you can find it free here, even after the conference. If you watch and find what I say helpful, please donate to Big Orange Heart.

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