Ten working hours. That’s a reality for many people. In my forty years in the workplace, my workday door to door averaged about ten hours, even though I was usually paid for eight. It was simple math really. I usually had a half hour commute both ways and an hour-long lunch period. While I had freedom to do what I wanted at lunch, I was far from home and it limited my choices. As my commute got longer, I had the choice to shorten my lunch or work a longer day.
Ten Working Hours
The bottom line was, I had a ten-hour time block while I was away from home.
The time block in my head I was using was based on an eight-hour workday.
Somehow, in my head, I was living a lie. I told myself I was only working 8 hours.
Once I came to grips that I was away from home ten hours, I got mad. Really mad.
The reality was, for many years I had a complainer mindset. I hated my commute and would get visibly agitated in traffic. I was constantly complaining about the lines at lunch. Many times I would hang at with others at work and spend breaks and lunch complaining about everything. It’s really easy to get really negative in a group. Our jobs were bad, everything was unfair etc, etc.
Then one day I picked up a book by Dale Carnegie, called How to Win Friends and Influence People. This simple book helped change my life. Over time, the concepts I learned changed my mindset from complaining to one of productivity and abundance. This led to books on productivity from John Maxwell, Stephen Covey, and David Allen.
Looking at Things a Different Way
By taking on a productivity mindset, I became interested in time management. Once I started tracking my time, I realized that I was wasting much of my day away. Wasted time in traffic, wasted time in lines, wasted breaks. For years, it made me mad. I kept thinking; this stupid job I have is making me sit in traffic and eat at this crowded and expensive deli. If only I could get a job closer to home.
I can remember brooding about my situation. I was a victim of Southern California traffic. I can tell you this. A victim mentality is deadly. It instantly took the focus off of me and put the blame on some government traffic bureaucrats. In my mind, I was helpless to do anything about it.
Then I read a short disastrous blog post from Michael Hyatt, considered my situation, and I asked myself one simple question. . .
What does this make possible?
Opportunity Showed Up
That simple question really opened my eyes. My time in traffic was my time. I could choose what to do with it. While I had to commute to work, I could use this time for something productive. My lunch time was my time. I didn’t have to go to the expensive deli. I had choices. I had a whole hour. During the workday, I had two ten minute breaks. This was my time. I had choices. I could control the outcome.
Once I started looking at my workday time block as a whole, I was able to maximize the options that I had.
That’s when I took action and made some . . .
- Living in Southern California, commuting to work in traffic is a reality for most people. By shifting my work day to start earlier (7 am instead of 8 am), I cut my commute time in half. This made it easier to enjoy a full lunch hour.
- Once I figured in my commute time, I asked a simple question; Can I use this time for something productive? This led to turning off the radio and listening to audio books instead. Over my years of commuting, I was able to listen to over 200 business/self-help based books while in traffic.
- Since I worked many miles from home, finding time to go to the gym became a problem. I discovered a gym within walking distance from where I worked, and spent three days a week there during my lunch hour.
- By starting earlier, I was able to negotiate an earlier lunch period, which completely eliminated the lines at the local restaurants. This saved a massive amount of frustration and wasted time (I hate lines).
I realize that most of these items seem like common sense, but it wasn’t until I looked at my day as a whole that I was able to work a schedule around them. By figuring in commute times, meal times and breaks, I was able to schedule them for greater productivity.
Working From Home
Now that I work from home as a solopreneur, I still use a ten working hours time block for my workday. Even though I may not be actively doing productive work during that time, the ten-hour block gives me great flexibility when it comes to planning. Here are some of the advantages.
- Ten hours is metric (ten base numbering) with allows for easy percentages (one hour is 10%)
- I break my day in half with a five-hour focused work block and five hours non-focused work
- It ties in perfectly with my five, ten, fifty time management system (more in a later post)
- Ten hours a day, five days a week, equals fifty hours. Perfect for work/life balance and productivity
- Per day I use a ten-hour work block, a five hour free/play time block and a nine hour rest time.
The Ten Hour Workday Scheduler
To make the most of a ten-hour workday, I’m currently designing a ten working hours scheduler/planner template. It will help you maximize your productivity and find wasted time during the day. We’ll take a look at how to use this and offer a free download in our next blog post.
Check out our Daily Drive cast here: The Ten Hour Mindset
Question: Would a ten working hours time block work for you?