168 Hours
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

We all get 168 hours each week. Rich, poor, and everyone in between only gets 168 hours. The week is the most useful measurement of time for planning and execution. It’s where leaders need to start when they determine how they can create a successful present and future.

Do you keep track of how you use your hours each week? Should you? The most valuable commodity for a leader is his or her time. Nearly every other resource can be replenished. Your time is finite. Once it is used up it is gone. Sure, we will get another 168 hours next week – but we cannot get back what we have lost. Time is what defines us, our careers, our life away from work, and our legacies. Time is very precious.

One important change I made as a leader is that I spend more time understanding how I use my time. It is easy to let others control your calendar. It is easy to become reactive to whatever is the crisis of the moment or someone else’s agenda. When we serve others, it is important to use our calendar to actually serve. But, we also must take the time to do the important and not urgent. Otherwise, it may never get done. Relationships fall into this category. I have to remind myself weekly that I am a human being – not a human doing. In the end, the quality of my work – and life – is closely aligned with how I interact with those around me. I remind myself daily to be kind and caring, to smile, and to seek to make even a small dent in the world. My time is how I do this. Remember, we all get only 168 hours each week.

As I get older, I am beginning to lose many workplace friends who retire. I am happy for them, but sad for me – and others. They have been my role models and North Stars. My memories of them still are. Time remembered is important to us. In a fast-changing world, we need to be grounded. Spending time remembering is often a good use of my time. Also, I keep this in mind as I live my day so that someday someone will look back and say, “Randy was a leader I followed because he cared and I respected him.” And, “He didn’t always get it right – but he sure did try.”

Our days can get pretty busy. We can be occupied every waking moment of our day. But, is it time well spent? Are we using it to advance the missions of our organizations and our lives? How might we use our time – and help others use their time – much better? As a leader, what clarity do I need to bring to the work of my team and organization? All good questions that can help us each use the 168 hours we get each week.