Can Three Hours a Week Transform Your Life?

I’m back from a long/short/crazy trip of fun and work and I’m feeling the burn of overwhelm. Traveling, in general, is a great way to knock you entirely off your routine and make you spend days trying to claw back to the careful balance you had pre-departure. That said, I’m working on it. The inbox is diminishing, the massive suitcases are being unpacked, and my jet lag is starting to disappear.

During my trip, I got to spend one special day with some folks in California who are all focused on focus. Rather, the idea of winnowing in on the most important things you’re doing in your life, and maximizing those things to the healthy (yes!) detriment of all else. Some call this essentialism, and I’m one of the some.

For a primer, see this fantastic book by Greg McKeown: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Greg is pretty awesome-sauce, and he was fantastic in leading us through our third of four days (one each quarter) focused on, well, focus. (See the picture of our dinner in a cave.)

During one of the many great chats that day with a fellow wannabe essentialist, I had an incredible “Aha!” moment that has left me reeling. (In a good way.)

Here’s what happened:

I was chatting about an area in my life that I deeply want to maximize, but find myself having trouble doing so. We all have areas like this – whether in work or in our personal lives – where we long to see greater results but find ourselves stuck. For whatever reason, we’re not moving forward, and it’s bugging us to no end. More than that, we often don’t see a clear path to the light, and so revert to classic wall head-banging.

As we talked through my personal challenge, someone said something that pulled me out of my moaning and stopped me in my tracks. This incredibly smart and aware individual I will admire forever asked me the following question, “How much time a week would it take to see the transformation you’re talking about?”

And there it was.

The truth laid out for all to see.

Some quick calculations (math is fun!), and I decided it would take about three hours.


Mr. Smart and Aware then summed up the situation,”So you’re saying that in just three hours a week you can transform this area of your life?”

I responded, meekly, eyes averted. “Um…yes?”

It was a huge wake up call for me, and one I desperately needed. I love all things time management, productivity, and life maximizing, and it was fascinating to me to see how grossly I had ignored how little was really needed in terms of time to make a huge impact.


I have that, and you do too.

Can three hours transform a week of dedicated effort transform an area your life? I bet it just might. 


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7 thoughts on “Can Three Hours a Week Transform Your Life?

  1. Great reminder–thanks for sharing. Trying to move in this direction myself. Amazing to step back and realize how many things we devote time to each day/week are NOT in line with my conscious priorities. And with kids, spouse, career, and (oh yeah) personal goals, there’s no time to waste on low priorities.

  2. OK guys, what am I missing here! I did not get the aha! about the three hours. Nothing was said about how those three hours should be spent. Also, maybe 3 hours is too much for some people and not enough for others. Assuming you are already working on that challenging area of your life during the week, isn’t it more about changing your activities and processes?

    I do like the concept of essentialism; I think it is a natural complement to mindfulness.

  3. Love the thought of conversation on FOCUS. I have come back to 2016 with some goals and ideas for my business and career, just finding it hard to focus…So easily doing my work…seeing clients, admin client research, but comes to some time to plan and make goals happen or at least prepare…cant focus, see something that needs done, talk to family blah blah. I am the same with meditation/mindfulness just cant focus.