168. That’s it.
You and I have exactly the same amount of time. Rich or poor, young or old, we each get 168 hours in a week’s time.
With some of that, we need to rest, or we’ll get fewer total weeks in our short lives. With some of that time, we need to spend quality time with people, building friendships and relationships.
And with some of that time, we work. Actually, most of us work during a lot of that 168 hours, proportionally speaking.
How many times have you gotten to the end of the day, or the week, or maybe just Monday morning and said, “If I just had more time, I’d…”
Reality check: You can’t get more time than 168 hours.
But what you can do is expand your capacity. You have the ability to be more fruitful with the same amount of time you’re working now.
I recently wrote on another website about the difference between bandwidth and capacity, and how we often confuse the two.
Bandwidth pertains to how much time we have for a given area of life, such as family, work, or volunteering. And capacity refers to how much fruit I am able to bear in that given amount of time.
When I was a kid, I used to help my grandfather carry things from one barn to another. He was a little slow and I was a little kid, so I could easily keep up with him. We took the same amount of time walking between the barns. But he was strong and could carry easily six times as much as I could. We had equal bandwidth but he had much greater capacity.
The only way to increase your bandwidth is to quit doing something you’re already doing with your 168 hours. You can shift the budget around and get more time for volunteering if you use less time for leisure, and so forth.
Most of us overestimate our bandwidth (the amount of time we can spare), but we underestimate our capacity (what we’re capable of doing with the time we have).
We think we’ve got plenty of time to commit to more tasks and we’ll figure out a way to squeeze it all in. That’s how we start down the path of burnout.
There are far more ways to expand your capacity than your bandwidth.
My grandfather had spent years working with his hands, all the while expanding his capacity to move things from one barn to the other. He had slowly expanded his capacity.
Get the Most Out of Your 168 Hours
So, here’s the million dollar question… how can you expand your capacity?
Let me give you a few ways.
1. Be a lifelong learner.
Every time you learn a new skill, you increase your capacity. I knew nothing about the world of business until I read some good leadership books. I also met with friends who were in business and gleaned whatever knowledge they were willing to share with me.
Then, I tried my hand at joining a friend in a business venture. It failed. (I still like to think our idea was just ahead of its time.) But in failing, I learned a lot about how marketing, financing, and even football (it’s a long story).
Right now, I’m learning about coaching. I’ve been coaching leaders for quite a few years now, but I must keep learning to increase my capacity to produce greater fruit.