Most people sleep about seven or eight hours a night. That leaves 16 or 17 hours awake each day. Or about 1,000 minutes. Let’s think about those 1,000 minutes as 100 10-minute blocks. That’s what you wake up with every day.
Take out a piece of paper and draw a grid that is 10 rows x 10 columns. Each square represents one of those 10-minute blocks.
Let’s step back and think about how we’re using those 100 blocks we get each day. How many of them are put towards making your future better, and how many of them are just there to be enjoyed? How many of them are spent with other people, and how many are for time by yourself? How many are used to create something, and how many are used to consume something? How many of the blocks are focused on your body, how many on your mind, and how many on neither one in particular? Which are your favorite blocks of the day, and which are your least favorite?
Think about everything you might spend your time doing in the context of its worth in blocks. Cooking dinner requires three blocks, while ordering in requires zero—is cooking dinner worth three blocks to you? Is 10 minutes of meditation a day important enough to dedicate a block to it? Reading 20 minutes a night allows you to read 15 additional books a year—is that worth two blocks?
Getting a drink with a friend after work takes up about 10 blocks. How often do you want to use 10 blocks for that purpose, and on which friends? Which blocks should be treated as non-negotiable in their labeled purpose and which should be more flexible? Which blocks should be left blank, with no assigned purpose at all?
So now start by graying out the squares for your work. An 8-hour work day would be four complete columns and eight squares from the fifth column, or 48 squares. Now take a look at those blank squares and begin to fill in your ideal day. I’m not really looking for pie-in-the-sky ideals, like winning the lottery and not having to work, but more realistic, like here’s how I would like to spend my free time this week.
Take as much time as you need to complete this “vision chart” and remember, if you prefer, you can skip the paper and just participate in the spirit of this exercise mentally. Totally up to you how you want to participate.
Once you complete your Vision Chart, take out another piece of paper and chart how you spent a similar work day last week.
Now you should have two charts that tell a visual story: one with your ideal and the second with your reality.
The question to ask is: How are the two grids different from each other, and why?