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.


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?”

in the momentA little while ago I was sat with some good friends in a coffee shop in Wells. This is a fairly common activity for me – I like coffee, I like Wells and I like chatting with friends. However these friends; Mark Seabright and Mark Mapstone are both ‘thinkers’ and often our conversations roam around topics as diverse as business strategy, creative arts, philosophy & cake.

During one of our conversations we came up with a “Know / Do” matrix to help people understand their behaviours and comfort zone. The idea behind it is to categorise the things you do / don’t do in life and compare them with the things you know / don’t know about.

I had forgotten all about this conversation, and it’s outcome, until I had a look at Mark’s (Seabright) new website for his “In The Moment” consulting business. Mark had a blog about the tool and so rather than repeat it all here, I thought you might want to head over to his site and read all about it.

Mark uses the tool to categorise a business – but I think it can also be extended to see how we may be more effective in our everyday lives.

  • Essentials. This is the routine of every day life including good and bad habits.
  • Magic. This is the intuitive aspect of our behavior, possibly even spiritual.
  • Easy wins. This is to do with change and moving outside our comfort zone.
  • Buried Treasure. This involves help of some sort – either from books, a course or a trusted advisor.

Hopefully some ideas arise from this thinking to improve your own personal effectiveness.

Good Luck

166758_371007243012798_59191175_nThis is a variation on a theme that I have written on before… but it’s well done so I thought I would share it. I came across it on Facebook and couldn’t find the original source. So if anyone knows it, let me know, and I will add a credit here.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of  beers with a friend.