If Time Were Sold in Bottles, I’d Be Sending Mine to the Recycling Center

I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. –Edgar Allan Poe

Ever wish you could time travel like Hermonie Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? For those who haven’t read the series, Hermonie comes into possession of a "Time-Turner," which she uses to overload her schedule of classes at Hogwarts. She schedules more than one class per period in the day and can thus attend them all because she can travel back in time to sit in on the conflicting schedules. Sounds like a wonderful plan, except for the flesh-and-blood aspect of it, which is to say that being able to time travel so that you can squeeze more into your schedule wouldn’t prevent you from exhausting yourself. Even wizards need sleep.

Time Chart

I recently spent 5 minutes that I found under the sofa somewhere creating a quick pie chart that represents an average of how my time is consumed on a weekly basis. The whole of the pie is a 168-hour week. I broke out the hours I typically spend working, driving, sleeping, eating, exercising, watching television, and doing chores (including shopping errands). Turns out that I spend nearly as much time working (50 hours between my full-time job and a very small amount of side work) as I do sleeping (56 hours). That’s 106 hours out of the full 168-hour week, or about four and a half 24-hour days.

I also spend about 25 hours doing chores and 20 hours behind the wheel. Throw in meals (5 hours) and exercise (5 hours), and that leaves me with exactly 7 hours in a week to do something for myself, like writing. Instead, I typically spend that hour a night in a kind of low-energy waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop haze in front of the television with my family or in front of my laptop.

Granted, the numbers above are averages, so not every week looks exactly the same.

Also, I’m not really complaining. How one spends one’s time, even in our fast-paced age, is mostly a matter of priorities. I could let some of the chores go for a while and give myself a little extra leisure time. Occasionally, I do just that.

Still, there are those times when I’d like to borrow Hermonie’s Time-Turner, just to be able to squeeze in a few more "want-to-do" items into the dimensional space between the items on my "have-to-do" list.