168 Hours:You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam Hardback Book: 262 pages
Excellent book on time management. It breaks down that there are exactly 168 hours in a week so when you look at it from that perspective, we all really do have more time to do the things we want to than we may realize. Laura Vanderkam recommends that everyone take a week and keep track of what you are doing during all the 168 hours available including sleeping time. It can be an eye-opener on where our time is eaten up. She cites many examples throughout the book showing various people who complained of not having enough time to live the lives they wanted but when they logged their time on the chart (you can print a copy from her website: www.my168Hours.com ), every person found they were spending a lot of time on non-essentials. Laura worked with everyone who completed a chart to find how best to get the most out of their time and how best to channel the time spent on t.v., gaming, reading email etc. which can be waaaaay more time consuming than we realize. Of course everyone doing the logs swore that those were not usual weeks for whatever reason and the author has found this to be true no matter who is doing the logging over the last few years of research. She said people tend to think they work more hours than they actually do, too. Which is not to say that many people aren’t putting in 10 and 12 hour days, but, she has found that for the most part, not all of those hours are strictly non-stop working. Chatting at the water cooler does not constitute a meeting though it is not considered a break either. (Brainstorming about Game of Thrones?) Who can say? One man’s de-stressing is another’s goofing off so it can be subjective. But suffice it to say we all have 168 hours and how we choose to use that time is up to us. Seeing it on paper can help one to adjust one’s schedule to make time for the important things, converations with a spouse, play time with the kids, exercise you want/need to get in, etc. Vanderkam’s suggestions for everyone is to 1.) keep a log of your time for one week. 2.) Make a list of 100 Dreams that answer the question: What do I want to do for more of my time? The dreams can be easily achieved or extravagant for those you will need to create actionable steps and count them in your 168 hours for the upcoming weeks and over a lifetime. As she says a lifetime is just 168 hours repeated again, and again, and again and so on. She says we must identify our core competencies – the things we do best that no one else can do nearly as well and then devote time to these things. 3.) Once you have analyzed your log and how yout time is spent start with a blank slate and re-do your hours to suit you. Block out time for the things you have to do then for the things you want to do. It will take time to allow yourself the privilege but do it till it becomes habit. Add in core-competency time – let yourself shine at what you do best and what makes you happy then ignore, minimize or outsource everything else. Her point is to fill bits of time with bits of joy. Read to your kids and take time to play, spend time with your special someone have real conversations turn the t.v. off and talk, spend time with pets they want to be with us too, spend time volunteering –giving back recharges us in all kinds of ways and figure in time for our passions – hobbies, acting, singing, learning new languages, traveling, going out with friends – when you see just how many hours there are in a week there really is time to call or write someone and make them feel special. It makes you feel special too. She promises it is not going to be easy but pursue the good life and check out her website for support. A great perspective on how we honestly do have more time than we realize. I really liked this book.