To many people, “ratio” is something that happens on Twitter. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I’ve heard about it.
To me, ratios are a framework on how I ensure my life is managed and that I’m applying equal weight to the four buckets of life: craft, constitution, community, contemplation.
Here are 5 ratios that I’ve been considering lately
- Screen time vs. reading time: how often am I looking a screen for non-working reasons (web-surfing, watching TV, etc.) vs. how often am I reading for non-professional reasons
- A good general rule of thumb is 1:1 – meaning that for every hour you watch TV or on social media, spend 1-hour reading
- Walking & standing time vs. sitting time: how much time do I spend ambulating around and standing vs. sitting sequestered at my desk or on a couch
- This is something I struggle with, even with a standing desk and I’m still contemplating a good ratio for this that is tractable but challenging
- Outside time vs. inside time: how much time am I outside (whether just on a walk, sitting outside, or deep in nature) vs. inside (at work, at home, etc.)
- As I mentioned in my 28 lessons in 28 years, at least 1 hour outside a day is a minimum, where 2-3 hours would be ideal, so a ratio of 1:5 (assuming 9 hours of sleep per night) would be the goal
- Work time vs. sleep time: how much time do I spend at work or thinking about work, and how much time am I actually asleep
- I shouldn’t have to extol the virtues of sleep to anyone, but it’s clearly a long-term competitive advantage to those who sleep 8-9 hours a night to those who are sleeping 6-7 hours a night
- Deep vs. shallow work: how often am I spending my time at work in a state of undistracted concentration focused on creating new value vs. in a state of shallowness, reactive and responding to emails and slack
- A classic ratio outlined by Cal Newport in his 2016 best selling book Deep Work
- An ideal goal is 1:1 – 4 hours a day in deep work, and 4 hours in shallow work, but if I get 2 hours of deep work in, I consider that a success (a 1:3 ratio)
Following the ratios to a T is less important than the deep introspection needed to clarify what’s important and how to spend the time and attention that we have. Intentionality is 80%+ of the battle