Time management and work-life balance

Where Do You Find The Time? How to get more done in the same amount of time that you always had

Whenever I tell a new patient that I have 3 kids, they always respond with a “YOU have 3 kids? AND a full-time job delivering babies? How do you do it?” Then, don’t let them find out about the blog or that I am writing these books, which are way more fun than work (no offense peeps at my office), they say “WHAT? How do you find the time?”

A valid question that is asked and I have recently been pondering the answer. My first thought was that I write when I should be sleeping. My second thought was that God is good to allow me to do it all and still stay sane (which I do believe). My third thought was, wait, how do I do this? I wanted to tally the time up with hopes that I will prove to myself and the rest of my readers that we have more time than we think.

I’m cheating a little bit because CNN ran these numbers last year in an effort to tell us all that we spend entirely too much time in front of screens. I know I do. No need to prove it to me. Here’s what “we” came up with:

168 hours per week to start (24 x 7 for those into the details)

Not including call days, when I have to go to the hospital as needed for ladies delivering babies and surgical emergencies, I work anywhere between 45-70 hours per week. For the sake of calculations, I’ll average 55 hours per week.

168 – 55 = 113 hours

The following calculations are from Quora.com.

  • A US-average commute of 25 minutes each way (Page on census.gov)
  • Breakfast is eaten on-the-go and takes 5 minutes
  • 30 minutes for lunch, eaten at your desk.
  • 45 minutes for dinner – enough to travel to a fast-casual place and eat or to make something easy at home (15-20 min) and eat

That is 130 minutes per day, 15.16 (assume 15) hours total per week.

113 – 15 = 98 hours

  • Sleep at seven hours a night is 49 hours
  • Toilet time averages about 3 hours and 30 minutes per week. More for those whose movements don’t move. Not a problem over here #squattypotty. Incidentally, the Huffington Post article where I got that stat was highlighting that fact that Americans don’t wash our hands well. Eew. Check it out to see if you are in compliance with anti-eew standards.

98 – 49 – 3.5 hours = 45.5 hours

What else is there? More from Quora:

Regarding showering, dressing, brushing your teeth, shaving/makeup, other morning routines, etc.?

  • Lets say you need 30 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. That’s another 5.25 hours per week.
  • Let’s say you get gas 1x per week at 15 minutes, including travel.
  • And let’s say you go shopping 1x per week for 45 minutes (including travel time to the store and back).
  • For laundry, you are efficient and only spend 5 minutes putting a load in and you own one of the all-in-one condensing washer/dryers that completes everything in one cycle so you then just have to empty the dryer and fold your clothes. You get that done in only 10 minutes. You do 2 loads per week. (Quora calculations didn’t factor in putting laundry away, which I HATE doing. Bear with me thought).
  • Are you ever tired? Do you get Starbucks on the way into the office 2x each week? That’s another 15 minutes each time. Gas, laundry and clothes are another 2 hours per week.

45.5 – 5.25 – 2 = 38.25 hours

  • Let’s assume 2 alarm clock snoozes (10 minutes each) and 5 minutes to drag yourself out of bed after the 2nd one.
  • And let’s assume you need 15 minutes to fall asleep after you lay down in bed.

That is another 30 minutes per day, 3.5 hours per week. Down to 34.75 hours of “free time” per week.

Almost 35 hours left seems like a long time, but CNN just told me that “about 81% of adults in the United States have smartphones, according to the report, which are used about one hour and 39 minutes daily on average to consume media… [and] about 94% of adults have a HD television, and the average adult in the United States spends about 4½ hours a day watching shows and movies. Another key finding in the data shows that services for streaming or subscription video on demand, such as Netflix or Hulu, were in just as many households as a DVR.”

That is 10 hours per week on the phone, and 31.5 hours per week watching TV/movies etc. 35 – 10 – 31.5 = negative 6.5 hours. I owe 6.5 hours back to my week because I overdrew my hours.

There is hope! After you finish reading this informative and entertaining post, put your phone down. Well, first think about what else you would want to do with your time. I like to write, so that’s how I just spent these last couple of hours of my week. Do you like to read books? Knit or crochet? Work out? Map out your own week with your must-dos and want-to-dos. Tally it up and see how much time is left for you to donate to your various screens. Then limit yourself to that.

I have found myself frozen on my staircase for minutes on end just paging through my phone. I know it because one of my assorted children always creeps up to scare me or demand that I listen to what they just said repeatedly probably 3-5 times. Apart from my talent of tuning them out, no longer will they have to tell me to put my phone down and pay attention. I’ll put it down willingly and put on my shoes and go wherever the hour leads. Time is of the essence. There is no time like the present. Time waits for no one. It’s a sign of the times. There is a right time for everything. Okay, it’s time for this post to end. #timingiseverything #couldn’thelpmyself.

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Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at dreverywoman.com

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