(MoneyWatch) I recently did an exercise mapping out how one could work a lot of hours (55, in this case) and still have a very full personal life. My fictional consultant worked extremely long days on Monday and Tuesday, and hence was able to work fewer hours on other days. Because of that schedule, she was able to exercise four times during the week, spend quality time with her kids multiple afternoons, volunteer at one kid's preschool at 11 a.m. on a Thursday, go on a date with her husband, meet a friend and even mentor (over drinks) a colleague who wondered how she was going to "have it all."
My fictional schedule inspired at least one blogger to map out her perfect schedule. Sarah, a pediatric endocrine fellow in North Carolina, created a schedule in which she worked 50 hours, ran 25 miles a week, got together with friends, blogged, read, and hung out with her kid and husband.
Could that schedule actually become a reality? Well, maybe -- but here's the thing. Mapping out how you'd like to spend your 168 hours during a good, solid work week inspires you to see possibilities. You may think there's no time to exercise, but when you look at the whole of 168 hours, you might see that by getting up 15 minutes earlier twice a week and compressing your personal care routine a bit, you could get two solid workouts in without showing up late to work.
You also may think there's no time for friends, but then you realize you could get up at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, and your teens don't get up and start their days until 10. Maybe you could meet a friend for an early breakfast or a walk. You realize that you could do some work at night instead of watching TV, buying yourself your early evenings back.
By making all the pieces fit together, you see what life could look like. And that may inspire you to make changes. Looking at my fictional consultant's schedule, I realized that I really needed to find a sitter who could work weekend nights. My husband and my first date night in a while is now on the calendar.
Have you ever mapped out your perfect week?Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pixics