Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Algebra of Selling Yourself

Image courtesy of
Work is supposed to take up 40 hours of each week, right? We sell 40 hours of each precious 168 hours of our lives in order to survive. It's less than a quarter of our time, so it's not a bad deal really, considering what people once had to do to survive.

Then we sleep, what?, 7 hours a night, if we're lucky and insomnia doesn't plague us. That's 49 hours a week, 30 percent of a week.

Another 5 hours a week getting ready for work, 3.5 hours a week getting to and from work and 5 hours a week having lunch breaks (but because they are surrounded on both sides by work, one can hardly think of them as one's own time). That's another 15.5 hours (10 percent of a week) that belong to work and not to myself.

That's 104.5 hours out of 168 that are not available for all the rest of the things I need or would like to do.

Or, looking at it positively, I have 63.5 hours a week to cook, eat, shop, do errands, pay bills, take walks, call my mom, see my kids, visit friends, write, garden, fly kites, kayak, dance, do yoga and kiss my boyfriend.

The trick is not to be mentally and physically exhausted during those 63.5 hours so that they can be used properly.

At the moment, the problem is that work is nudging out of its 55.5-hour allotment, bleeding by the hour into my "free" time and even into my sleep.

I have to get it under control or I'm going to become like those sweaty guys in bad suits swigging Maalox from their desk drawers.
This week, a crew (including me) from the company I work for is going to a trade show in Las Vegas. Work, already growing beyond its boundaries as I have described, is about to take on 24/7 proportions for an entire week.

By the way, don't let the word "Vegas" sound too alluring; I've been to these events before. They are a series of 15 hour days on your feet answering question after question, walking miles on concrete, smiling when you don't want to, and not being able to shut down your mind for sleeping when you finally get back to your cold hotel room.

When I get home, I intend to find balance.


katharina. said...


Dan said...

63.5 hours isn't much, I had will use my 63.5 hours more wisely. Cool post thanks for the info.