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Time is a Finite Commodity - Do You Have Enough?

by Gina Gardiner

I am always struck how often we hear about the same theme in several different contexts. I have been amazed how often the theme of time has come up this week.

Several clients have chosen to focus their session on their lack of time and the negative impact this has on their lives this month - no surprise there you might say. Ask most people about their lives and they will tell you that they never have enough time.

Modern technology was supposed to free us all up for a life of leisure and yet so many people are rushing about chasing their tails. With all the labour saving gadgets and convenience foods, dishwashers, microwaves, computers and faster modes of transport we seem to have less time than ever to spend with loved ones, to learn and read and simply to reflect. One has to ask why?

I was on a course recently where I was really struck by one session with the theme of time. Ian Mc Dermot, the course leader, asked us to think about the way we use our time. We were reminded that each day has 24 hours, which gives us 168 hours in a week, 8736 hours in a year. In a lifetime of 70 years we have 613200 hours to use. Sounds quite a lot doesn't it.

We were given a table of the number of hours in a lifetime of varying lengths. For example, if you live to 100 you have 876,000 hours to spend. In fact the table went up to age 120 just so we wouldn't self limit!

Just think about the time you have - you can use it once and once only.

You might think that spend is a strange word to use but, we all make choices about how we spend our time, for most of us these choices are made at an unconscious level and the result is not always as we would wish it to be. We also choose how to spend our money and expend our energy.

Now consider your life time and how you have chosen to spend your time so far. Have you truly made the most of your time? Do you want to go on using your time in the same way in the future?

You may find it useful to complete a chart - give a ball park figure rather than getting bogged down. I've listed some headings you may wish to use, but use the ones you find appropriate and add any of your own.


Activity Hours per week Hours Per Year

(assume 70 yrs
for this exercise)

Eating Food      
Personal Care      
calls, letters etc
Watching TV      

What do you notice? Was the result what you expected?

Do you actively choose how you spend your time?

Does the way you spend your time make you happy?

How would you like to spend your time in the future?

What needs to change if you are to spend your time doing the things you value most?

Look forward into the future to the end of your life. Look back over those years and consider how you would like to be remembered? What legacy would you like to leave?

Managing time is about prioritizing and making choices. It often requires us to create boundaries or to learn to say no to others - and maybe to ourselves.

Even a small change can make a significant difference to the quality of your life - what change could you make today which would make a difference to the quality of your life over time?

The chart can be adapted to audit how you spend your working hours. Identify each of the activities you do whilst at work. Consider which of them are helping you achieve your goals. Are you making the most use of your time? Are you busy being busy or really productive? What would make the difference?

Gina Gardiner - Recovering Workaholics To find out more visit

Gina Gardiner may be contacted at

Gina Gardiner has been described by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader” and by Investors in People as an “impressive coach and exceptional mentor who has developed an innovative and exemplary training scheme” for emergent, middle and senior managers. Gina has a huge interest in leadership, she has led a wide range of training and facilitation activities with individuals, schools and other organizations, In her work as Independent Consultant and as an Executive Life Coach and mentor she supports people at individual or organizational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills and effective delegation; empowering them to see themselves as part of the solution. She is a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner and a qualified coach. Author of “Kick Start Your Career” and “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And In Doing So Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion)”


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