Where Do The Hours Go ?

By | 19:48 1 comment

Here I am sitting in my office at 19:49 on a Friday night ... and instead of making plans for a 'date', I am in fact making plans to hang out with a girlfriend at her place. So why not just go out on a date is what you must be wondering ...

Maybe it's because people are just too tired on a Friday after 5 days of work ... in a city like Mumbai where I am currently based ... this would incorporate a total of anywhere between 55 - 70 hours of ones week.

A week of 7 days has 168 hours; the average person sleeps at least 7 hours a day which is 49 hours - therefore leaving 119 hours for a person to fit in his / her personal, professional and family life. In my 119 hours that I have to fit in the above ... my work keeps me anywhere between 8 - 10 hours in a day (during peak wedding season - I've done close to 20 hours a day for 10 days !!) .. so taking an average of 9 hours per day for 5 days which is 45 hours. I typically spend almost 10 hours in a 5 day working week just traveling back and forth between my home and my office.

So really I have only 64 hours during the whole week for myself which is about 2.67 days. In those 64 hours - I have to find time for my family, friends, and again being in a city like Mumbai - I need to keep extra hours just for traveling between destinations as the traffic and commute is absolutely ridiculous. Believe me when I tell you that it has taken me almost 45 mins to travel by car a mere distance of 5 kilometers ! Seriously I could have walked a whole lot faster !

Taking the above into consideration - I figure I spend about 3 hours per day of 'my time' of 64 hours in my car ... so that leaves me with only 58 hours to myself during the whole week !!!

Now when you think about it - 58 hours sounds like a hell of a lot of hours ...In essence that's about 8.28 hours per day 'free' in a 7 day week ... however I've noticed that those hours tend to space themselves at very awkward time slots therefore leaving one with very little choice of what they can actually utilize that so-called free time for !

Using myself as an example ... I typically start waking up around 7:30 - 8 a.m, and then sit down with my dad for a bit, watch the news, talk about the markets (I finally joined the stock market world this time last year) and then head over to chill with my mom, read the paper, have breakfast, shower and then head to work by about 10 a.m. That's 2 hours gone right there. Once at work - everyone takes about 30 mins or so to settle into the day .. and of course then comes the inevitable 'lunch hour' that we are all meant to have but don't always take full advantage off !

Technically and legally - we are meant to have 1 hour of lunch break during the course of a working day ... most days I eat lunch at the office with my colleagues in the 'cafeteria' but I don't sit there the whole hour ... it's mostly a quick sandwich or some fruit or salad - hence taking only about 15 minutes of my time ... oh I'm one of those people who inhale my food in and don't really do the whole 'chewing' etc lol I tend to spend the remainder of my lunch actually catching up with some personal emails | facebook | msn or g-chats | or personal phone calls with friends who are also on lunch ! Ever so often - my boss, colleague and I all go for lunch together - which would typically involve at least a 15-20 minute car ride, 10 minute waiting period, 30-45 minutes of eating, 10 minutes for the bill and another 20-25 minutes for the drive back to work - so all in all about 2 - 2.5 hours IF we go out to eat for lunch.

As one's work day progresses - taking into account that no meetings are scheduled that involve another car ride - around 5:30 - 6 p.m typically everyone will take a break to grab a coffee | tea | snack ... Indian mentality - 'chai lo fresh ho' ... A cup of tea freshens you up ! (I just find that I get sleepy but that's another story altogether). This would normally take up about 30 minutes and its also the time used for teams to just gather together and go over their day and provide feedback on whatever they are currently working on.

I typically finish work around 7 - 7:30 p.m BUT I wait around at work till about 8 or 8:30 p.m just to AVOID the heavy 'going home traffic' ... I have the following options (1) Leave at 7:30 and get stuck in 1 hour worth of traffic and eventually get home by about 8:30 - 8:45 p.m OR (2) Leave work after 8:15 p.m and get home within 30 minutes. I obviously choose the latter because then I have 1 hour to sit back at the office and either catch up with some of my day's work or just catch up on some reading, writing, phone calls etc. Since I've not yet gotten myself a blackberry (I'll be working 24/7 then !!) nor a 'net connect card' for my laptop - I can't really work on my laptop whilst in the car if it involves browsing the net ... another reason to stay back at work before heading home .. another 1 hour gone ...

When I eventually do get home .. I try to spend some time and have dinner with the parents and siblings till at least 10:30 p.m 'cos that's when my parents retire to their room for the night and watch their tv shows etc ... another 1.5 hours of my time ... therefore by 10:30 p.m on any evening I have already utilised 6 of my 8.28 hours of free time !!

Now I am left with 2.28 hours - so what do I do with that free time ? I live in South Mumbai - and any good friend of mine that I would want to hang out with lives within 8-11 km's from my house. So given this - I tend to step out of the house again around 11 p.m and hang out with a friend, go for a drive or just chit chat till about midnight or 1 a.m. at the latest and then head back home to get some sleep and prepare for the next day.

Mumbai isn't the kind of metropolitan city that has 24 hour cafes and lounges or hang out areas - even parks aren't open after 8 p.m which really leaves nothing for one to do later in the evening aside from hanging out at a coffee shop in a 5* hotel (and really after a while that gets boring AND pinches the pocket) because those are the only coffee shops 'open' late in the evening. Gyms close by 10 - 10:30 p.m - there is one that's open 24 hours but that's in Bandra which is about 18 kms from my place ... a good 30 minute drive in the evening still !! Maybe that's why I'm not going to the gym - can't seem to find one that fits into my schedule and price bracket !!

Whilst talking to my cousin yesterday - we concluded that I spend most of my 'free hours' in my damn car !!

So now that I know where my hours go ... I just need to figure out how to go about finding more time to actually do the things I want to do !!!


Unknown said...

solution to your problem......Move to singapore
the island is so small you can expect the maximum travel time, coast to coast, of 45 mins
but centre to coast is only 20 max even with jam traffic and two accidents on your way
i lived in Mexico City for some time, and then 9 years on london - those cities remind me that......car and underground. if i tell you that the second reason for which i escaped from London is the Underground, would you believe it? every time i get back to london and i am forced to use it, i feel sick
after i discovered singapore....well....i started to live again