Have you ever considered that no matter where in the world we live, we all have the same number of hours and days at our disposal? Every human has 24 hours in a day and 365 of them per year, which we allocate to sleep, work, eat, and enjoy leisure. What delights social scientists and researchers in human behaviour is finding out how we chose to distribute these hours across occupations that we prioritize.
Studying how people across the world spend their time provides an important perspective for understanding living conditions, economic opportunities, and general well-being.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.” – Steven Covey
Because people have recently had to change their work habits and schedules as a result of pandemic public health measures, the last few years have provided prime study material for researchers studying the socio-economic impacts of demands on our time. For most of us, our traditional work routine was altered. Some people had a lot more free time on their hands, whether it was because their commute to work was cut to zero if they worked from home, or because their job was no longer available because of the social distancing restrictions.
Meanwhile, another social experiment that has been quietly happening in towns across Canada over the last year, is the trial of four-day work week among willing employers.
The municipality of Guysborough in Nova Scotia for example, began testing out a shorter work week in 2020 for its employees. In order to minimize disruptions, approximately 60 municipal workers took either Monday or Friday off every week and after 12 months, findings are positive.
Employers who are willing to implement flexibility within their work week typically are of the mindset that as long as the work is getting done, employees should have the opportunity to get better work-life balance.
Similar tests are being held in Quebec, and Ontario with participants who are ready to trade-in the traditional work-week in favour of alternative models that are equally productive.
In Iceland, where shorter work weeks have been in play for awhile, researchers learned that a four-day work week, without a pay cut, improved workers’ well-being and productivity across a range of indicators, from perceived stress to health and work-life balance.”
There is no such thing as work-life balance – it is all life. The balance has to be within you– unknown
So my question to you is what would you do with more time added to your day?
Even if you can’t have a shorter work week, you can create more time. It is surprising how becoming aware of how you spend your time, will go a long way in making the most of the time you do have.
Seven Ways To Make Better Use of Your Time
- Slow down. You will discover that when you allow the task its due time, the activity becomes more meaningful
- Structure your free time. Do each activity with intention and you will be happier and more productive.
- Track your time. Keeping a time journal is a good way to record where you spend your time, and become aware of where you are losing precious time.
- Do less. Spreading yourself too thin is your biggest time monster, and doing less allows you to focus and get better results.
- Prioritize. If you are afraid of running out of time, then make sure you allocate your time to what matters most to you first.
- Focus on the ROI. Spend your precious time resources on the activity that will give you the greatest “return on your investment”.
- Be realistic with your time. You only have 24 hours, and once you set aside time for the priority areas of your life like work and sleeping, you can’t live beyond your means.
A time diary is a good place to start if you are not sure what are the time bandits in your life. Track for a week, and then apply one or more of the seven tips.