Previously, I wrote about calculating the hourly value of your time and touched upon the idea of “work” time vs. “free” time. We think of “work” time as the hours we spend working for pay. We consider the rest of our time “free” time. So, in a traditional 40-hour-per-week job, the thinking goes, you work 40 hours, and the remaining 128 hours of the week constitute your free time.
I pointed out the flaw in that kind of thinking previously, noting that time spent commuting, traveling or socializing for work, networking, and the like, should all be counted towards your working hours.
But after you’ve added in all that time, plus, sleep, routine maintenance for keeping your basic life humming along, how much free-time do you really have?
I’ve designed the How Much Time Do You Have Calculator to help you compare the amount of time the “typical” American worker has vs. the amount of time you have (or would have) in a full-time job vs. the amount of time you have (or would have) working independently.
Each week, we all start with the same 168 hours available to us. For most of us, the biggest chunks of that time are dedicated to sleep and to work. We also have to factor in commuting to get to and from work. Beyond that, we allocate time to basic hygiene and maintenance such as showering, eating, personal grooming, flossing our teeth, making our beds, going to the doctor and the like. We also have to dedicate a chunk of time to a variety of tasks that most of us don’t particularly enjoy, but that are necessary to keep our lives humming along, things like having the oil changed in our cars, filing our taxes, cleaning the cat’s litter box, taking the dog to the vet, packing school lunches, or getting kids off to school each morning. I call this bucket of time SOL, or “S*** of Life. When you’ve added up all that, the time remaining is your actual “free” time.
When I ran the calculator myself, it suddenly made sense why I felt like I was run ragged and never had a moment to myself when I had a full-time job. Compared to the “average” worker, I slept less and had significantly less free time — 11 fewer hours per week to be exact. But as an independent worker, I’m doing significantly better both in terms of sleep and free-time. It’s no wonder I feel so much better.
Try the calcuator yourself and let me know your results in the Comments section, below.