60 minutes – the first few days

8/3/2013 |

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In this post, Graham continues his time management experiment, 60 Minutes – working for 1 hour a day, 7 days a week

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook or tweet us @thinkproductive


In the first couple of posts (Introduction and FAQ) I talked about the scary bit of the experiment really being me tackling my attitudes and assumptions around work-life balance.  Well, turns out whilst that bit is scary, the cramming everything into an hour was not to be underestimated either!

I’m struggling to find meaningful things to fill the time outside of the work, and then because the hour of work is so rushed and I know I’m not on top of things, I’m also struggling to find the enthusiasm to embrace the life-life balance I should be experiencing right now.  Guilt in every direction.

I also don’t think I’ve managed to stick solidly to the exact hour on any day so far.  Over the weekend I did less than two hours – Can you believe I’m only supposed to do an hour a day and I was still playing catch up?!  weekends are hard-wired downtime for me and habits don’t shift easily – and then because I’ve been wanting to ‘catch up’ those hours this week, I’ve done approximately two hours each day on Monday and Tuesday.  So overall I’m four days in and have clocked a few minutes over four hours.  I don’t feel like I’ve even got started.

So what have I learned so far?

60 Minutes-01Well, I could definitely be more ruthless.  I made quite a big decision to pull out of an event, which would have meant some solid preparation time.  In ‘normal mode’, not a problem to say ‘yes’ to it, but also probably very little harm done save a bit of useful profile and a fun day out.  I was quite careful not to use the experiment as my excuse, as I want to practise saying no outside of the ridiculous confines this imposes.  I’ve also been pressing ‘delete’ a little more and ‘reply’ a little less on email.

But more importantly, I feel overwhelmingly anxious.  I know I’m missing stuff, I’m pretty sure it’s nothing crucial.  I feel desperate to do a proper Weekly Checklist yet I know I can’t really fit it into an hour, so my brain is whirring around with all kinds of nags and ideas.  I also have a few things going on outside of work which are consuming a lot of thought (house-moving, marathon training, my football team about to get relegated, you know the kind of stuff!).

Am I anxious because of genuine consequence and lack of impact, or because I was always told at school and growing up that I needed to “work hard” to succeed, and in turn to feel good about myself?  Is this a genuine pining for work time because there’s vital mileage to cover, or is this part of my brain that needs some serious re-wiring?  We shall see in the days ahead.


60 Minutes-02-02Like this? Try these

Catch up on all of Graham’s 60 Minutes blog posts

Try one of our How To Get Things Done workshops – great for increasing productivity

Tell us your work life balance secrets – join the conversation on Facebook

 Why Women Still Can’t Have It AllAnne-Marie Slaughter – The Atlantic 

Shattering The Work/Life Balance Myth – Forbes 


  1. Grace Marshall

    “because the hour of work is so rushed and I know I’m not on top of things, I’m also struggling to find the enthusiasm to embrace the life-life balance I should be experiencing right now. Guilt in every direction.”

    Graham I think you’ve nailed one of the fundamental things a lot of working mums experience on a regular basis. Guilt. So many of us return to work of some kind with reduced hours and high expectations of how much we can get done. Sure, we say to ourselves “I’m only working part time” but our brains find it much harder to accurately scale down our expectations and workload. And then we do struggle to find enthusiasm to fully embrace the joys of motherhood and “work/life balance”. Combined with the well meaning yet strangely irritating advice of “enjoy those early years, they go by far too quickly…” we get – yup – guilt.

  2. graham

    Oh, huge. Guilt is often something we bring to a role as opposed to something the role creates in us. I think next month’s experiment will be looking at this in more detail too, as it focusses on attention and our own inner dialogues…


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