How will you spend your 86,400 seconds today?

Jan 17, 2024 | Wellness

86400 Seconds

Each day is made up of 86,400 seconds.

I’d never really thought about how many seconds there are in a day until I started to re-read Frazzled by Ruby Wax.

If you know me well, you know that I’m more likely to listen to a book rather than read one. However, this is just one of a pile of books that I have that I want to read rather than just see take up space on my shelf!

Anyway, I digress.

In her book, she quotes Stephen Sutton, a teenage cancer victim who said, ‘You have 86,400 seconds today. Don’t waste a single one.

I don’t like to waste anything. Plus, I’m a planner. So, this got me thinking. Am I wasting a single one of my 86,400 seconds? 

I must admit. Although I might not be wasting all of them, I know I’m wasting some.


Well, there’s the occasional mindless scrolling on social media. It’s usually TikTok and food related. Then there’s my obsession with Woodoku, it’s fun and I love puzzles. And finally, my love of productive procrastination, the art of doing what seems like legitimate things as a way of avoiding the difficult things. I’m working really hard on doing less of this one.

You may think this isn’t a problem. And you’d be right, if I was okay with this ‘time-wasting’. However, I’m not okay with it. They are not intentional habits, as in habits I want. Therefore it is up to me to change things.

So this year I want to ensure that all 86,400 seconds are used intentionally and this is how I’m going to do it for my average working day.

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I’m starting with the easy one first.

We need sleep, good quality sleep. Recently my sleep has been shocking. It’s been a combination of my sleep being disrupted by my children and also having poor sleep habits, like staying up later than I should.

I’ve decided that I need 8 hours of sleep. That’s not all of it though. It’s not like I’m going to get into bed and instantly fall asleep. 

I know that to have a good night’s sleep I need to prepare my body for sleep. Give it the signals that it’s nearly bedtime. You may laugh and yet it’s true. So in reality, this is more like 8.5 hours, which is 30,600 seconds.

This means:

  • No tech after 9pm.
  • Avoiding anything that over-stimulates my mind after 9:30pm. This would have been Trigger Point starring Vicky McClure.
  • Journalling so that I can release any negative emotions I may have held onto during the day.
  • Listing 5 things I’m grateful for to inject some positivity into my mind before bedtime.
  • Tension and release to relax my body before sleep. 


Yes, we all need to work and when you’re a business owner it’s easy to work long days. No one else is going to run your business so that responsibility rests on your shoulders. However, working long hours isn’t necessarily the answer.

It’s about putting in place boundaries to ensure that the hours worked deliver maximum value.

My average working day is 6 hours, which is 21,600 seconds. The boundaries I put in place need to be both productive and used for the right things.

For me, this means:

  • Spending my time on activities that are related to the goals I have set for myself.
  • Having a plan so that I know what I’m working on and I can be flexible enough to change things, if necessary.
  • Feeling uncomfortable and saying no to taking on activities that don’t align with my goals.

Health and wellbeing

So this is a big one. Why? If I’m not feeling fit and healthy then everything else suffers. It’s easy to neglect and put off.

This includes everything that contributes to health and wellbeing, from exercise and personal development to eating well and taking pride in your appearance.

Last year, I put myself under a lot of pressure both physically and mentally. I know that I wasn’t looking after myself because my body told me. I was having problems sleeping, I had heartburn and acid reflux and my skin became very dry.

The funny thing is, I know how important it is to look after yourself and yet I wasn’t.


Fortunately I do have some good habits. I now want to do more that will benefit me, which will ultimately benefit others. 

This means:

  • Starting the day in the right way to help make it a great day. When I get up I set intentions and do breathing exercises as they help to focus my mind.
  • Going for regular walks, usually around school-pick up time to ensure I get away from my desk.
  • Regularly going running and attending kickboxing training.
  • Making nutritious and delicious meals. I love to cook so this won’t be a problem. I’ve also started studying nutrition to help me with this.
  • Ending the day in the right way allows me to sleep well.

When I think about all the time I need to exercise, get ready and mealtimes it equals 19,800 seconds. Seems a lot and yet it’s realistic.

Family time including chores

If you know me well, you know that my family are very important to me. I love spending time with them, most of the time. My children are also still at an age when they want to spend time with me and they need help with doing things, like homework.

To protect this time with them, as well as having some time to do house chores, having boundaries in place becomes super important. Having the ability to just focus on them without being distracted by other things.

Remember, I’m a recovering multitasker and I’m continually practising focusing on one thing at a time.

My time with my family comes to 10,800 seconds. Doesn’t seem like a lot. However, when you take into account my children are at school and they go to bed earlier than me. The husband is at work, although he works from home three out of five days. It starts to make sense.

Time to unwind

And finally, winding down.

I’ve seen a few things on social media by people who I would call ‘go-getters’ that suggest wind-down time is pointless. Everyone is entitled to their point of view. 

Personally, I want some winddown time.

And for me, that’s just one hour or 3600 seconds. This is my time to just sit, if I want to, having had a full-on day. 

And that’s it folks. My days break down. A little bit of everything I need with no room for wasted time. 

Now it’s your turn. How will your 86,400 seconds look?


You might also like to read, Running out of time: Time is not a space to be filled

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