Take Control of Your 168 Hours

The 168 work week –

During a recent conversation with a young man in his early twenties, he expressed his need to make more income. He explained to me that he was working full time, but it just wasn’t enough income. He was currently working 36-40 hours each week at $12.25 an hour. His gross income was $441 – $490. This is tough situation to state the obvious. I explained to him his problem as tough as it seemed, had an easy solution. He had to increase his income. He immediately needed to increase his hours worked by at least twenty additional hours each week.

What he was calling “full-time” was less than 25% of the total time we all have each week. We all have 168 hours a week to allot to whatever activity we choose. Inside those 168 hours we live, sleep, work and play. When you find yourself living on the edge, barely making it, living paycheck to paycheck, you must take totally control of those 168 hours.

If my young friend simply allotted more time to working for money, say ten to twelve hours each day for six days a week, an amazing thing happens. His weekly income increases from $441 to $882. He doubled his income by simply taking control of his time. This is an amazing 100% increase! My suggestion was received with a look of alarm. Increasing his working hours wasn’t the quick fix he had in mind. He had a family he needed to spend time with. I reiterated my point he must immediately work more hours for his family not less because of them.

In my world as young entrepreneur, I easily worked 70-80 hours a week and some weeks even more than that. I maintained this work load for many years. Working 36-40 hours is not full time work if you want to get ahead in this world. You can’t allow yourself to choose leisure or “family time” if doing so keeps you living paycheck to paycheck. I explained to him if he ever wanted more than a “paycheck” he had to deserve it.

I tried explaining to him to start with the end in mind. Then ask yourself if your action or activity at this moment is leading you to that end goal you had in mind. If the goal is more income, the simplest and most immediate fix is to work more hours. Enjoying leisure time, hobbies, hanging out with friends or family won’t help with the end goal of increasing your income.

If one of your end goals was becoming a healthier person, then smoking, excesses drinking, eating unhealthy foods wouldn’t line up with that end goal. You simply make the obvious and immediate action, you either drop the goal and give up or change the action and activity to be in line with the end goal. The obvious and immediate action may not be the best long term solution but it does put you in the right direction.

I live, sleep, work and play with three end goals in mind. I want to be healthy, wealthy and wise. So my activities and actions within my 168 hours each week need to be in line with these three end goals.

At end of my life I want to have lived as long and healthy as possible. So, if I am not consistently exercising and eating healthy then my lack action and activity isn’t in line with my end goal of being healthy. I need to immediately give up on the end goal or change the activity to be in line with the end goal.

I live each week trying to become more wealthy than the previous week. I want to own valuable assets like stocks, real estate, and businesses that pay me a solid income to help me become more wealthy. I look at each financial transactions and ask myself is this helping me become more wealth or is it moving me towards a life of living paycheck to paycheck.

Finally, I want to be a wise person. I meet few truly wise people. The average person knows a lot about the wrong stuff. You ever meet someone who is older, you assume wiser and all they can tell you is how hard they had it as a kid or “back in their day”. Listening to someone recant how tough it was in “their day” doesn’t help you conquer your day.

The only way become wise is to study. Not just in high school or college but throughout your life. You must read and study daily to become wise. You must study other people who have come before you and have done what you want to accomplish. This may mean studying boring things at times. Things that might not actually apply to you at this moment. True wisdom takes time and consistent work.

People have a tendency think whatever is happening now will last forever. So if they temporarily have to work 12 hours a day six days a week they immediately think I can’t do this forever, so they will die of exhaustion.