What is 168 Hours?

Each week you have 168 hours to use. This blog covers my ramblings on how to use them as effectively as possible.

It's not about stuffing as much as you can into the 168 hours. It's about ensuring that you use the 168 hours as best you can to ensure you get to where you want to go in as relaxed a state as possible.

I came across this interesting article and thought I would share it with you all.

The History of the To-Do List

For those who are interested, I keep my “to-do list” (or action list as I like to call it) in Evernote. This is a wonderful – free – application and is like a virtual scrapbook where you can copy / paste / create and organise all sorts of information.

My “Action List” is permanently open on my computer desktop. I can add, strikeout and copy (from email) and paste (into Everynote) as I work through my day. And these notes synchronise with my phone – so I can always review my list and add / delete from it when I am out of the office an on the road.

How do you organise your lists?

i look up to himI came across an interesting website as I was browsing the internet (as you do) : The Rich Habits Institute

The website is full of stories, tips and ideas for making money. Now, I guess there is nothing particularly wrong with this in itself as long as the pursuit of money is balanced healthily with the pursuit of other (arguably more important) goals. However, what caught my eye was the tag line of the website “The Key to Success and a Happy Future”. This I do have a problem with as it links directly ‘happiness’ with ‘wealth’ and implies you can only be happy if you have money. What a sad way to view the world and others.

Now, I am not against those who pursue money. Of course money does have its uses, let’s be honest. But when there is a focus purely on the ‘quantitative’ aspects of life the ‘qualitative’ aspects can be left behind. When I initally landed on this website I thought I might be reading about nurturing habits that made life more successful in non-financial terms. So, I got that wrong – but rather than clicking away I did take a sneaky peak at some of the blog articles on this site. One blog posting in particular caught my attention; a comparison of the habits of rich and poor people. Here’s the list of habits comparing the rich to the poor:

  1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
  2. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.
  3. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
  4. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.
  5. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.
  6. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of poor.
  7. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.
  8. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% of poor.
  9. 80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls vs. 11% of poor.
  10. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor.
  11. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor.
  12. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.
  13. 79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month vs. 16% of poor.
  14. 67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.
  15. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.
  16. 44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.
  17. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% of poor.
  18. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% of poor.
  19. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% of poor.
  20. 86% of wealthy believe in lifelong educational self-improvement vs. 5% of poor.
  21. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor

We could get into all kinds of cause / effect or nature / nurture discussions based on this list. And aside from the specific link of money to happiness, the one items that jumped out at me from this list was No.12 Only 6% of wealthy people say what is on their mind! So despite these wealthy folks arguable eating better, exercising more, reading more, getting up early and having a written down plan etc. They still haven;t found a way to express themselves and say what is on their mind to others. No, these people bottle it all up inside and keep it to themselves whilst they are on the exercise machine or forcing their kids to do volunteer work and count the number of non-fiction books they are reading.

So, where is the happiness in this lifestyle?

noisy-computerProbably the biggest difference to my working efficiency so far this year has been getting a new computer.

Now, this is not because of what you might initially think. It’s not that my new computer is bigger, faster, smarter (although it is compared to my old one) it’s something else that is different which has had a huge effect on me.

The big change is that this computer is quiet. Very quiet. In fact so quiet you cannot tell the difference between it being turned off, or on. There are no fans, hard drives or anything else to make a noise, rattle or remind me that the thing is turned on.

It’s made a huge difference because I believe the quality of my thinking has changed as a result. I can literally “hear myself think” whereas before there was always this background drone, hum and noise. Until it’s gone, you don’t realise what you have been putting up with.

When I visit a client site now I am very aware of the background noise there is in their office. With all the technology required for today’s work / life all those little machines add up to quite a bit of background noise. It’s amazing really that any quality work ever gets done in these places.

As I am typing this all I can here is the ‘clacketty clack’ of my fingers on the keyboard, birds singing outside and the rustle of leaves as the wind sway the trees. Bliss.

How noisy is your space at the moment? Just stop, close your eyes and listen to what’s happening around you. All of these noises are distractions that can interfere or stop our thinking. That then leads to a slowdown in behaviour and actions. Which in turn means a slowdown in any desired outcomes.

So, thought for the day: “What can you do to create a quieter working space?”