Posted by: draknor | March 30, 2012

An [almost] 100 Hour Workweek

Caleb (one of the bloggers that I follow) just posted an interesting article on the 100 hour workweek. Having just come off one of the busiest weeks I can remember, I thought it’d be interesting to see what my hourly total came up to.

Only 77 hours.

Included in that week is:

  • Preparing for my first (and only!) wedding shoot
  • Shooting the wedding
  • Post-processing the wedding pictures
  • Revising a photography presentation
  • Preparing handouts for the presentation
  • Giving the presentation
  • Following up after the presentation
  • Three real estate photo shoots, including travel time
  • Post-processing for those three real estate shoots
  • Following up with other leads & potential clients
  • Business networking meetings & lunches
  • Watching some Zack Arias workshop videos from CreativeLive.com
  • Traveling to hear Zack Arias speak in Appleton

What was NOT included in this last week?

  • Skipped my regular workout schedule
  • Terrible diet (fast food, junk food, soda & energy drinks)
  • Limited quality time with my girlfriend
  • Lots of sleep deprivation (including an all-nighter)
  • No time/energy to keep my administrative “systems” running
  • No time to reflect & prioritize
  • No time to be proactive – just reactive

Looking back, a couple of interesting observations stand out to me:

  1. A week has 168 hours (7 days x 24 hours). So if I spend 80 hours a week “working”, I still have 88 hours a week left, or more than 12 hours a day.
  2. If I averaged > 12 hours a day that I was NOT working for each of the last 7 days, then why didn’t I find time to keep up my workouts (1.5 hours 3x/week), have some healthy meals, and get at least some decent sleep (>6 hours/night)?
  3. Despite being really busy, I felt GOOD. But my lifestyle for the last 7 days is not sustainable, AT ALL.

So what DID I do for those other 91 hours over the last 7 days?  I really don’t know. Some of it was spent with friends & family, some of it eating, some of it sleeping, some of it doing mindless things on the interwebs. A lot of it thinking about other things I should be doing.  Or thinking about “I don’t have time to do <X> right now, I’ll do that next week” (where <X> is something small-but-important, like “document my business mileage” or “update my client database”, or “put stuff away where it belongs”).

Next week looks like it’ll be a busy week again — two major gigs tentatively scheduled for next week, plus another presentation, more networking & lunches, plus more real estate shoots.  No wedding to shoot & post-process, but otherwise it’ll be  not that different from last week.  And with any luck, my future weeks will start to look a lot like this — multiple shoots/week, multiple opportunities to meet with people, give presentations or talks, network & promote myself, and keep educating myself.

So it’s crucial that I start to figure out how to make all 168 hours in a week valuable.  Notice I didn’t say “productive”. Being “productive” implies being “busy”, and that’s not always valuable.  Time to reflect, time to think, time to just be present — these can be very valuable times.  Time eating healthy meals, working out, and being with my girlfriend are also very valuable, but not often considered “busy time”.

Then the next level is getting my administrative systems in place to keep me organized & running smoothly, even when the going gets busy.  I don’t want keep digging myself into these holes that I have to climb back out of. So let me pick three things to start with:

  1. Documenting business expenses & mileage
  2. Updating my client database (new leads, actions, etc)
  3. Keeping my home office “organized”

I’ll try to do blog posts in the future on these, because it seems like these would be very valuable topics to document & establish a model for!

Finally, I’ll sign off here with a concept that is forefront in my mind right now — it’s not about “time management”.  Time is constant & unchanging.  It’s really about priority management — what’s really important to you, because that determines how you spend your time.  I just ran across this great article on this topic over at Lifehacker: Instead of Saying ‘I Don’t Have Time’, Say ‘It’s Not a Priority’.

Brilliant.

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