Station InitiativesWellness Wednesday


Making the most of your time in 2023

Posted at 2:47 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 16:47:11-05

As 2023 gets underway, many of us examine our life and our priorities.

“Something I really like to talk to people about is time, and how do we use our time,” said Dr. Denise Lash, a clinical psychologist with Intermountain Healthcare.

Lash suggests thinking of time in terms of awareness as much as management…some of the ideas inspired by author Laura Vanderkam.

“She correctly points out that time is everybody's most precious resource,” said Lash. “She likes to think about time, not in a 24 hour day, but in 168 hour week, because that's more realistic, gives more flexibility.”

Lash asks some of her patients to think about their time in weeklong chunks, and then draw two pie charts. The first, an honest look at how you spend that week.

“So in that chart, roughly 25 to 30% of that time is going to be for sleep. If you work full-time, roughly 25% of that time is for work. And then it gets really interesting.”

The reality for everyone is they need to sleep, and a good portion of us work. We decide how much of the rest goes to our families, errands, leisure, exercise and healthcare.

Lash said, “How much time is spent on errands, how much time is spent with family? How much time is spent recreating how much time is spent on Twitter? Where do you put your time?”

The second pie chart is looking for your ideal…within the limits of reality, what could you change for the better?

Lash said, “The second pie chart that we do is how do you wish you were spending your time assuming that work and sleep have to stay the same? How is roughly the other half of the pie divided up?”

For Dr. Lash, the adjustments are small, but significant. After sleep and work, she won’t give up family time, so she wants to take time from errands and housework to get more leisure and exercise.

Lash emphasizes that this is not about feeling guilty. You’ll always make mistakes here and there. Awareness means you know the direction you want to go.

“So what this tries to get people to do is really think about using their time deliberately in the hopes that doing that allows someone to live a richer, fuller life,” said Lash.