One of the many reasons I love my coach, Chad Cooper, is because he often comes up with a blinding glimpse of the obvious--something that was right there in front of me all the time. Once you are aware of the rule of 168, then you will immediately see why it is life's great equalizer.
The rule of 168.
One hundred sixty-eight is the total number of hours each and every one of us gets in any given week. No more. No less. What separates the ultra successful from the mildly so is what each does with this number of hours. The ultra wealthy and incredibly successful all live extraordinary lives. How is it that Sir Richard Branson can own multiple companies and still find time to become an expert kite surfer, while many of us stress out because we can't seem to strike a balance between our careers and the many other facets of our life?
Time is the great equalizer of life.
Here is the beauty of the rule: It doesn't matter how rich or successful you are--everyone gets only 168 hours each week. Period. You can't buy more time, but you can sell your available hours to someone else. This is what the wealthy refer to as leverage. You probably already use leverage in your life. Do you have someone who cuts your grass or cleans your house? Or perhaps you have invested in a virtual assistant. Then you know the power of leverage. The question is, are you properly using the leverage available to you or are you being controlled by the leverage others have on your life?
Or, as Chad Cooper likes to ask, "Are you an extra in someone else's movie script, or are you the lead author of your own blockbuster?"
The happiest, most successful people not only understand the power of leverage, but they also understand that time is the most precious commodity. Therefore, they do not squander it. They take the time to plan their weeks rather than allowing others to plan their week for them.
Stop allowing a to-do list control your life.
Most people use the worst possible planning methodology: the to-do list. By creating an overwhelming list of things you should do, not prioritizing them, and then attempting to cross them off, other people are free to add their items to your list. Your sense of being overwhelmed grows as you struggle to cross items off your list faster than they are put on, but the net effect is that the list is rarely completed. Instead, the list becomes a source of pain, stress, and something to avoid at all costs. This leads to procrastination and accomplishing even less than when you had no list at all.
Planning your extraordinary life.
Instead, take time to divvy up your 168 hours between the distinct roles you have made for yourself. When you subtract out seven nights of sleep, you're left with between 112 to 126 hours (depending on whether you sleep six or eight hours per night). From there, you need to decide how to maximize the outcomes you want in your life given the remaining hours you have to work with.
Do you want to be an amazing spouse parent? How many hours in the week do you need in order to reach that outcome? If you're finding that you're working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, then you're clocking 84 hours of work time and you're left with only 42 hours. Add the two to four hours of TV most people watch ever day (28 hours) and it's no wonder a lot of people are stressed out.
Taking control of your calendar.
Before you can design an extraordinary life for yourself, you first need to understand where all your time is going. Some of the most successful people, such as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, started tracking their time with a log of every 15 minutes from the time they got up to the time they went to bed. This helped them see where their time was being devoted and what changes can (and should) be made to prioritized the most important items.
Resources available to you.
There are also really amazing tools available to you, including Tony Robbins's RPM Life Planner. You can download the free version of his workbook and get the high-level version of his breakthrough thinking immediately. I highly recommend his 10-day audio book program, as it will help you change your outlook on how you manage your time. After all, it's usually your psychology and lack of purpose that encourages you to procrastinate rather than dive with both feet into the things you know you want to accomplish.
There are also several books available on the subject and one that will be coming out later this year by Chad Cooper. I can't talk about that one much right now, but when we get closer to the launch date, you can bet I will be sharing some of the incredible insights he has included in his book. After all, if you like the rule of 168, remember that it came from Cooper and there is a whole lot more where that came from.