#OneLife — The 100 hour rule

Rajiv Srivatsa @telljeeves
6 min readSep 12, 2019
Image Credit: https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/op-ed/031218/mystic-mantra-is-your-life-happy-or-meaningful.html

This is the final part of a 3 part series covering my philosophy to living a happy, successful and fulfilling life.

Part 1 — The 5 underlying philosophies to #OneLife — https://medium.com/@telljeeves/onelife-the-5-underlying-philosophies-to-life-f5bdfefc7a3a

Part 2 — The 4S / 10 point framework on living your #OneLife — https://medium.com/@telljeeves/onelife-a-guide-to-living-a-happy-successful-and-fulfilling-life-1d3efaa1816c

Now that you have understood the 5 underlying philosophies to life, and the 4S / 10 point framework on identifying the aspects of life, let’s look at how you can prioritise and split your life across these different aspects at any point in time.

Putting the #OneLife framework into action finally boils down to how much time you spend on what aspect of life. After all, you can’t say something is a major priority but spend less than 10% of your time — for e.g. if you have a kid, and you are going to be fully busy with your startup, you might as well not say that you are doing justice to that relationship — that’s just a story that you are telling yourself out of guilt.

So how do we look at the time in our lives —

  • 3–4 years — Given the fast moving world, a broad sense of life goals can be achieved over any 3–4 year period. If things work out well, then you can continue that for another 3–4 year period by growing to the next level of a relationship, health, work or senses. If things don’t go that well, then you can choose to change aspects of life that are not going well. If you realise this much earlier (say in year 1/2 itself), then you should alter that aspect of life sooner.
  • A quarter — 90 days / 12 weeks is a good time to plan ahead in life. Split the 3–4 year period into 12 quarters, and each quarter into 12 weeks / 90 days. That way, you know what are the goals you want to accomplish either on the health front or on the relationship front or on the work / fun front. Planning beyond a quarter (on any aspect) is pretty much disrespecting the fact that the future can have its own plans!
  • 168 Hours / 100 active hours — That’s the most important magic number — You have exactly 168 hours in a week. Achieving a semblance of balance at a week level is easier than trying for balance every single day and failing. Any human needs 7 hours of rest (mix of sleep, doing nothing, calmness) everyday. That’s approx 48 hours in the week. Then there’s 20 hours that are required for basic foundational items — that include health, eating, chores, and other basic activity. So that leaves any individual with around 100 active hours.

The 100 Hour Rule

So you are left with 100 Active hours in your life every week. How do you split these 100 hours in different categories of life — Social, Senses, Service — decides how much weightage you give to what aspect of the 4S of life?

  • Balanced Life — A typical balanced life has anywhere from 50–60 hours of Service and the remaining 40–50 hours for Senses & Social. This gives good balance of time with relationships (spouse / kid / friends) as well as sometime to pursue hobbies / media / travel. People who are in the middle management of big companies / have been consciously able to configure for freelance / other opportunities are able to afford this balance.
  • Workaholic — A workaholic is someone who has either taken on a new role / first few years of starting up — can spend anywhere around 70–75 hours on Service. That leaves only 25–30 hours across Social & Senses. If you are married / have a kid, then that means that pretty much most of the rest of your time will go into that aspect, which means that your hobbies / media either has to be combined with Social or take a backseat.
  • New parent — You are potentially going to be spending a ton of time helping your spouse with managing the kid in the first year or two. Outside of the paternity / maternity leave, you also need to ensure that you are being an equal parent in all respects possible. This also means building a closer bond with your spouse. 30–40 hours goes into your Social (specially spouse + kid). That leaves you compromising either on your Senses (maybe 10–20 hours) or work (40–50 hours)
  • Fun / Traveler / Nomad — If you are a nomad wanting to get a ton of different experiences or a bindaas person (maybe you are just studying college or you don’t need to worry as much about work), then you would spend 40–50 hours weekly on media, travel, arts, etc. In the remaining 40–50 hours, you would slot in your work and relationships. You are potentially on the move and live life as a nomad, albeit in a luxury / fun way.

The point about monitoring and slotting time is not to become a Sheldon (reference ‘Big Bang Theory’ sitcom) in real life to have an exact schedule for eating Thai food on a Thursday evening etc. It is to make sure that you do justice to your priorities. A lot many people are very surprised when they monitor this time (by first slotting it on their calendars and then living as per the slots) on how poor they are in either prioritising or sticking to their commitments.

Here’s a cheat-sheet that encapsulates the key ways of living —

There will be certain spikes sometimes — for e.g. if you are sick and recovering / someone at home is recovering / you have a critical launch at work — where for a week or two, you spike on some aspect of life — for e.g. 70% of your active time goes into Social or 90% of active time goes into Service etc. Those are fine as long as they are time bound. When you are on vacation for e.g., or taking a break from work, then ‘Senses’ subsumes 80% of the week.

The critical thing to note in life — if you really want to do justice to some aspect of life, then do not neglect / reduce the time of it below an agreeable threshold. Health / Self falls into that list as the top item — since you cannot really recover once you start going downhill on the health aspect. This is true for relationships as well — unless there’s a clear agreement for specific periods of time. You cannot re-create either your kid’s young years or the time with your spouse. If you are taking a big commitment on work, then ensure you talk it out with your dependencies — or better still, don’t have too many dependencies.

The aspect of life that can wait the most is usually the ‘Senses’ aspect. But gone are the days when people are slogging their butt off and postponing big vacations for their 50s — the new age of millenials and Gen Z is ensuring that they find balance at a much younger age and take their vacation days. Cause after all, it’s #OneLife and you don’t know when it’s going to come back!

The above is just a representative sample of time. There are many other ways in which you can split this time. You may be a health freak or alternatively recovering from a serious health concern, where you may have to allocate more time from your active 100 hours to health. Whatever be your situation, be clear on where you are spending more time, and what are the aspects of life you are compromising on. Often times, being self aware or communicating to the affected parties for time durations where you have to skew on one aspect of life will do the trick! But always, be aware and consciously guide your time to which aspect of life you need to spend it on.

This is the final part of the 3 part series. The other 2 parts are listed above in the article.

There will be future posts starting next week in detail on different aspects of the underlying philosophies or the 4S / 10 point framework. Posts will include personal experiences, observations and frameworks that you can assess and implement yourself.

Please recommend / share this article as well as the others if you resonate with it.

Also leave your comments on how else you could implement your #OneLife.

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Rajiv Srivatsa @telljeeves

Partner at @Antler India. Co-founder Urban Ladder. Write on Startups and Happiness. Podcast @OneLifeTheory. Jack of all trades, master of none!