What can you do with 1.8% of your time? a thought for caregivers and anyone else who wants a happier

Oh the joy and anticipation! 18 months since my previous haircut I finally had a hairdresser’s appointment. I’d told everyone about it – sometimes to excuse the state of my hair and sometimes just from excitement. I’d been growing it out to donate it when lockdown started, and had chosen not to get it cut last year so that I could continue tie it back, and since January I’d had enough of it. And now at last I was getting it done. It was a treat, something special and long-awaited, just for me. And of course it wasn’t just the actual visit to the hairdressers, it would have the longer-lasting benefit of the new hairstyle.

But…. the appointment was Wednesday morning and Wednesday is my day to visit my in-laws for caregiving and company so I felt a bit guilty about the fact that this visit would be shorter. And also, there was work, and housework, and gardening and those craft projects I have on the go and and and…

Some quick calculations

So, to shut up the voices in my head I did some calculations. And I worked that with 168 hours in a week, the three hours it would take (including travel time) to get my hair done amounted to 1.79% of the whole week. Which isn’t very much at all. If your meal was reduced or increased by 1.8%, you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference. In 2019 the rate of inflation in the UK was approx 1.8% and was generally considered relatively low.

“But you don’t really have the full 168 hours in the week – what about sleep and work and all the other stuff?” I hear people say. So I did a bit more working out:

· With eight hours sleep (which might be aspirational at times) three hours represent 2.7% of waking hours in a week

· Add a 40 hour working week (in paid employment or otherwise) to that, and the three hours becomes 4.2% of available time

· And allowing for 10 hours commuting / school runs etc on top, three hours is 4.8%

Even when it’s 5% of your available time, it isn’t really much to allow yourself three hours in a week to do what makes you happy, healthy, fulfilled – whatever your priority is, and whatever activity / activities you want to do. What would you do with three hours to yourself?

Alternative timings

I’ve been using a three hour block because that’s what my hair appointment was. The three hours could be broken up in any way that works for you and the activities you want to do:

- Three one hour sessions

- Six half hour sessions

- A one hour session and four half hour sessions

- Nine 20 minute sessions

You get the picture – there are no set rules on how to break up your time.

Also, three hours is arbitrary based on that one specific example. You could pick an actual total amount of time in the week to dedicate to yourself. Or, even better, decide what percentage of your available time you feel is appropriate to allow yourself and then work out the time. Does spending 15% of your time doing things for you sound reasonable? Allowing for average times sleeping, commuting, working, 15% of the time remaining in the week is 9.3 hours – what would you do with that time?

What about you?

I’d love to know what amount / percentage of time you will dedicate to yourself, and how you will use that time – e-mail me at with the subject line “time for me” to let me know.

When my in-laws started to need care, I knew how to look after both them and myself – because I’d got it so wrong in the past, when my other half was signed off work with stress and my life was turned upside down too. These blog posts are based on the things that helped me, the lessons I learnt the hard way and what I realise with the benefit of hindsight would have helped. I’ve collected some of the other key learning points and tips and made these available to download at

22 views0 comments