There are several “80/ 20 rules” out there. Some of these are based on the Pareto principle, which states that approximately 80% of effects are the result of 20% of causes.
A variation on this having to do with productivity is that 80% of your productivity comes as a result of 20% of your actions. So the goal is to focus on those highly-productive actions and try to minimize the less-productive ones.
I’ve also seen an 80/ 20 principle regarding diet, that 80% of your food intake should be healthy and the other 20% can be less healthy (although I would argue it should be more like 90% healthy and 10% or less treats).
This gave me an idea for scheduled time: what would your life be like if you only scheduled 80% of your time, leaving the other 20% unscheduled. How much time of not having to answer to the clock would that equal each week?
So I did a little math. 7 days a week x 24 hours per day = 168 hours in a week. But let’s not count hours spent sleeping. So for the sake of this example, let’s say you get 7 hours of sleep every night. 7 hours spent sleeping x 7 days per week = 49 hours spent sleeping each week. 168 hours in a week – 49 hours sleeping = 119 hours of awake time every week.
Of these 119 hours (which doesn’t sound like much, to be completely honest), 20% = 23.8 hours, which we will round up to 24 hours for simplicity’s sake.
So that means if you were going to schedule 80% of your waking hours in a week, 95 hours would be scheduled and 24 hours would be unscheduled.
Your 95 hours of scheduled, or allotted-for time, includes work and commuting hours, events and activities, time spent preparing meals and cleaning up, showering and getting dressed, etc. All those routine things you do during the week.
Your 24 hours of unscheduled time isn’t necessarily do-nothing time. You can do gardening, go shopping, read, meet with friends, whatever you want. You just don’t do it on clock time. During that time you are free from the clock.
Say for example your weekdays are busy, so you want to keep your weekends unscheduled. Or say you are a working parent with kids in sports and your Saturdays are just as busy as your work days. You can keep Sundays free plus some evening time during the week for your unscheduled 24 hours.
What do you think? Do you have 24 unscheduled hours in any given week? If not, what would your life be like if you did?