There are only 168 hours in a week and if you sleep 8 hours — which I do (and don’t fare well when I don’t), that brings it down to 112.
I remember the first time I worked this out. It was a couple of years ago and I was trying to figure out how to get more writing done. I took an excel spreadsheet, listed the 7 days of the week, the 24 hours in a day and then colour coded blocks of time that I reliably spent sleeping or working or commuting or going to gym or anything else that appeared in my diary as a given. After these basics, I was shocked by how few white spaces I had left to do anything at all.
Everybody knows this. It’s the modern world’s complaint. Some of us manage to do something about it to create a balanced life. Money can come into it. With either the decision to live on a less of it and reduce how many hours we give to work or the good fortune to have enough of money in the first place that we can afford to slow down.
But sometimes we can’t buy time and are forced to let go of what fills it.
My recent knee surgery has imposed several significant time trials. Not only does it take me longer to do plenty of the basics, like climb stairs or fix lunch or get dressed or have a shower — but if my surgery is to be any sort of success, I also have to stop at least three times each day and spend an hour forcing my leg to do things it doesn’t feel like doing. That’s almost 20% of my waking day.
But no matter what I can not race through the amount of physio required. Not if I want the styrofoam feeling in my right leg to ease itself back into the effortlessly bending piece of equipment I need it to be.
This isn’t going to last forever. Sometime in the future I shall be walking like a normal person again (if I do all the physio). But in the interim two things are stressing me out.
Thing One is a specific project at work that preys on my greatest weaknesses and which I subsequently find inherently stressful. There’s no way out of just doing the work, but it’s going to hurt and it’s going to last a few weeks.
Thing Two is that either a bacterial monster or a viral fiend has taken over my body in the last 24 hours which means that not only do I have fewer hours to get everything done thanks to my knee, but I now have to try to do my work with a pounding head and a very delicate stomach that doesn’t want any food.
The moral of the story?
Sometimes there is very little one can do — no matter how much one is meant to be doing — except for lie down.
That, and work out what to remove from the excel spreadsheet.
And so after my little lie down which punctuated yesterday’s post, I came to the conclusion that there could be no Deck of Small Change this week. I need to prepare for the worst — that I shall have to struggle on this week operating on less than full power, and therefore lots of plans must be dashed.
That said, I’m hoping not to cancel Gordon, my financial advisor, who I’m due to meet Wednesday evening. So it’s not like I’m completely abandoning Zeros. I’m just scaling it back for a week.
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