The American Time Use Survey, released every year in June by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reveals not much as changed since last year in how we spend our time. According to their 2008 report, one-half of our daily leisure time (2.77 hours) is spent watching the tube. Socializing came in a distant second (about 45 minutes daily). Men (3.01 hours ) watched a bit more TV than women (2.55 hours). I don’t suppose those financial shows count, do they?

Nonetheless, the interesting difference this year is that people worked .1 more hours at home than last year (that’s six more minutes for the fractionally challenged). That either means more people are telecommuting or are staying connected to the workplace even longer. A full twenty-one percent (as opposed to twenty percent last year) worked 2.90 hours a day at home on average. When looking at full-time employed men only, that numbers jumps to 3.13 hours a day.

How are we spending our time? A lot of it is spent in front of a monitor. Screen time is becoming more and more prevalent every day…

Just Another Hour…

February 20, 2009

The phone jangled me awake this morning. I decided to sleep in after a massive headache told me I’d better.

The good news is my headache was gone by the time my friend called an hour later. She was calling to tell me she had read about a casting happening for a TV docu-drama on ZDF (think ABC news). She thought I should apply. Curious, I dragged myself out of bed and went to her house to get a copy of  the announcement.

It is great fun to pretend for a few hours. Acting is like being a different person for a while. It tests your limits and allows you to see the world with different eyes. Whether or not the gig works out doesn’t really matter in the end. The neat thing is I tried. And if it doesn’t work, there will be more hours to sleep in!

Soap Opera Slowness

February 19, 2009

I admit I used to watch Young and the Restless religiously. It was the only soap I followed and, with some irony, I was invited to an awards’ ceremony in Las Vegas last year. The host was Melody Thomas Scott, the actor who has played Nikki, one of my favorite characters on the show, for decades.

sturmAfter wondering for years what it is like on a soap opera set, I have been privvy to a behind-the-scenes look at one of Europe’s most popular soaps – Sturm der Liebe (Storm of Love). The funny part is they have asked me to come again to play a hotel guest. This would be the third time in as many weeks. It is not hard work, but it’s very tiring as we typically wait three to five hours between sets, which last about ten minutes of us walking back and forth through the ‘hotel lobby’. In reality I wonder why I continue to say ‘yes’. Perhaps it has to do with the memories of being home from school with a cold, sitting with a steaming bowl of Campbell’s soup balanced on my lap, as I watch Nikki trick Victor yet again.

A TV crew is filming my husband and me next Saturday. They are going to observe what happens when a couple tries to live without petroleum products for a day. We’re not just talking about the classic stuff such as heating oil and automobiles. We’re talking about the mineral oil in your oilmake-up, the plastic spatula to dish out food, the hairbrush you use in the morning. Even your toothbrush! Ewwww!

It is for a good cause, though. The science program, Faszination Wissen (Fascination Knowledge), is trying to show how far-reaching our use of oil goes. We’re excited. And nervous. And wondering how slow our lives will be in a week!

Oh, and you want to know the best part? It turns out I know the TV host, but that’s not how we learned about the opportunity. If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. Synchronicity, and the power of slow, are at work once again!

dreamIt might be the fact that I’m turning 40 this year. It might be the fact that I heard Randy Pausch’s monumental speech about achieving your childhood dreams. It might be the fact that change is in the air.

I have started a list of things I want to achieve in my lifetime. Some of them are pending while others are in the works. One thing I’ve recently started doing is taking on small speaking roles in TV shows. I always wanted to be an actor. It’s not very time-intensive ( a few hours of work), and it gives me a sense of fulfillment. Now’s my chance.

What things do you yearn to do in your life? Perhaps it’s pursuing a hobby you are passionate about. Perhaps it’s stepping onto a new career path.

What are you waiting for? Now, more than ever, is the time to embrace change. It is easy to find reasons why you cannot do things: not enough money, not enough talent, not enough time (after you’ve read The Power of Slow, you won’t be using that one anymore!).

Do not let fear be your guide.

Dare to be different. Dare to be you. Go out and tell the world who you really are. Then come back and let me know how it went. I really want to know!

simi_nwogugu_1So I was watching Oprah’s after show on YouTube, wondering how she maintains her drive to help people live their best lives when I realized inspiring people beget inspiring people. She remains inspired by surrounding herself with amazing individuals who are up to something in life. It’s not their title that makes them important, but the will with which they live.

That’s what this blog is all about, too.

I had the distinct privilege of connecting with Simi S Nwogugu, CEO of HOD Consulting, recently. She used to work in a fast-paced job as senior director of strategy & business development at MTV Networks. She left her job aftermtv having two baby boys back to back. It was time for a change, one she realized she badly needed. Twelve-hour days at the office suddenly paled in comparison to staying home with her two young sons.

“Work-life balance will stop being a struggle once you become clear about the steps you need to take to lead the life you want to live.”

“I hired a coach to help me through my identity crisis (I’d always defined myself by the work I was doing) and fell in love with coaching. At that point, I decided to get a certificate in coaching at NYU. Thereafter, I started a coaching organization to help other executive women deal with work-life balance.”

Through her experience, she realized she prefered the more flexible lifestyle. Raising a family while applying her mind is easier when it’s on your own terms.

“I work from home on Mondays, take meetings only during 10am and 4pm on Tues-Thurs when my boys are in school and try not to do any work on Fridays so I can run household errands and plan activities for the weekend with the family.”

She admits she works more hours than before. However, because she loves what she does and can do it from anywhere (including while at Disneyworld in Florida or from the Nigerian beach in Lagos), it feels a lot less like work.

The challenge is she is only paid when she works, a a trade-off she agrees was worth it.

“Once you are able to connect with who you are,” she told me, “and why you feel you are in this world at this time and what has real meaning for you, attaining work-life balance will stop being a struggle because you will suddenly become clear about the steps you need to take to lead the life you want to live.”

Amen to that, Simi!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 152 other followers