What I am about to write will be the most obvious thing you will read all day. Spending 10 to 20 hours per week on one thing means that you will have less time in the week for other things, and if those hours involve physical and mental energy, then you will have less energy for other things as well.
[As I write this, I actually think that it isn’t as obvious as it first seems. Many of us have experienced the phenomenon of being able to get more done in the same amount of time when there is more to get done. In other words, we enjoy a certain level of busy because it ultimately makes us more productive; at least for some of us. But I digress as this is totally not the point I am trying to make].
It was finally hitting me today, this issue of time spent on one thing not allowing for time spent on other things. Funny because my goal for 2018 was to be intentional with time. I am in the sense that I try to pack a lot in, but I also realize that I have very inaccurate ideas about what can be done in a certain period of time. This really has hit me as I spent a little time this year working only half time and devoting the other days of my week to building my own business. Low and behold, I wasn’t getting nearly as much done per day as I wanted to be getting done. When going to a job, it was the hours that mattered. Not that I wasn’t productive with those hours most of the time, but if I wasn’t in a good place to work on X, I worked on Y and it was fine. Suddenly when I was my own boss, it was abundantly clear that I struggled with feeling I was doing enough.
Those feelings were back at it again today. Well, they often lurk, but for whatever reason I was feeling some doubt that I’m not doing enough. That I’m being a dreamer and not a doer.
It then dawned on me, that if I were to spend 1/2 the mornings I go workout for 1-2 hours doing this ‘other’ work I want to get done, that would be a lot of productive work time! (I am a morning person, so these hours would produce a lot whereas evening hours are sometimes less content-generating).
Here is a little breakdown. There are 168 hours per week. If one works full time, exactly 40 hours per week, we are down to 128. Subtract 5 hours for lunch breaks, (which may be used productively for other useful things such as a workout or building connection through a walk or meal with someone you care about, but for now I’ll assume that those 5 hours are basically part of the workday). That’s 123 hours left. Subtract 10 hours of commuting time, down to 113. Subtract 8 hours per night that we should be sleeping (that’s 56 hours per week of actual sleep, not accounting for prep falling asleep), and that leaves 57 hours per week to do things outside of work and sleep. If I have 15 hours of workouts planned, and then add an extra 30 minutes per day of workout prep and shower time, that’s 18.5 hours devoted to fitness. For me that leaves 38.5 hours for other things including food prep, house cleaning, errands, dog walking, writing the daily Trilife.blog post, and finally the time left over for those ‘other’ projects that I want to be working on and feel ‘I’m not doing enough on’. All of these things listed are extremely important to me, along with some just plain down time and family time. Thus, if I am honest with myself, I can see that slow and steady progress towards the ‘other’ is reasonable.
This thought process also shows me that training based on time and not mileage really is a helpful strategy to fit long-distance triathlon into my life. It is easier to plan a day around and allows it to be okay when my Zone 1/2 pace is slower than other days.