30 Minutes: Managing a 99 Hour Work Week

[The timer has been set, it is time to begin.]

Managing A 99 Hour Work Week

School (45 hours), job (24 hours), clubs (20 Hours), and TAing (10 Hours). 99 hours, 88% of my time awake.

Every week, I partake in each of these activities. I refer to all the activities as work because they all involve expending a significant amount of energy, are time intensive, and most importantly they are productive.

Context – My Experience Through University, Thus Far

I must admit, throughout university, I have always been addicted to productivity.

Moving through a to-do list, accomplishing another task, creating day plans, and consequently receiving gratification, are activities I have thrived on. Activities that I romanticize and love.

Throughout university, I have always been in a bit of a time crunch, because I have enjoyed the thrill of having lots to do and have valued staying busy.

I took the Summer semester off of school so that I could focus on doing my own thing and relaxing, and did proceed to do so! My thought process was that, if I take off now, I can grind in the Fall because I will have regained all of my energy.

Because I thought I was an infinite source of energy and time, I proceeded to commit myself to taking four classes, working my current job, joining a business club, and working as a teaching assistant.

What I have realized, is that I do not in fact have infinite energy and time. They are both finite resources which are incredibly valuable.

Time and Energy

As time passes, energy levels change.

We recharge by going to sleep, eating food, and drinking water.

And, we expend energy by doing things.

Time is constantly moving forward, while energy levels are constantly fluctuating.

Although I have committed to many responsibilities that involve a significant amount of time, managing that has not been my struggle. I know this because I have been tracking my time, and can clearly see that I am putting in the hours I am supposed to. Maintaining energy levels so that I can be fully engaged and productive in what I am doing has been my struggle.

How I Am Reclaiming Energy

The more and more we do things, the easier they get as they become habits. Habits require less energy and focus, which allows me to save my energy for more important tasks. To build good habits, I have been using James Clear’s framework for habits that he describes in his book Atomic Habits.

The Atomic Habits Process

  1. Cue – The signal our brain receives
  2. Craving – How we perceive the signal
  3. Response – What we do after perceiving the signal
  4. Reward – What we receive for our actions

This process has been incredibly valuable to me. With it I have been able to develop the habits of waking up earlier (reclaiming time), drinking more coffee (reclaiming energy), planning out my day (budgeting energy), and of sitting at a desk and getting stuff done (expending energy).

Habits are now the foundation of my days. Through them, I am able to achieve all that I need to because they allow me to make processes simple and automatic, rather than complex and strenuous.

So Why 30 Minutes?

I realize that I am on a time crunch. 30 minutes is the amount of time that I gave myself to write this post. While I must admit that it is not my best piece of writing, it is honest and introspective one.

I hope that through this post, you are able to gain a bit of insight into who I am as a person and hopefully learn something you can use for yourself!

[The 30 minutes is up, it is time to stop.]


Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. New York, New York, Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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