I recently read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.
To be brutally honest, while I was reading the book, I was not overly impressed. I thought she went off topic quite a bit, writing many pages on how to get a job you like and some other topics (useful, but not really what the book was supposed to be about).
However, the premise of the book has really stuck with me and I have noticed some great changes in the week since I finished the book.
168 hours refers to the hours in one week – 7 days. Vanderkam is saying that even if you work 40 hours a week and sleep 8 hours a night, you still have 72 hours left in one week. Wow – that is a lot more than it seems, right?!
My take away from the book is that we all have the same time, and even though sometimes I only have 20 minutes here or there, that time adds up – and the bottom line is I do choose how to spend my time – we all do.
Since I have read the book, I have thought a lot more each day about what I want to accomplish and when I can get that done. I have slept more, read more, played more games with my kids and gotten more done. I have even stressed less.
A few of Vanderkam’s more insightful points:
Set your priorities. If you know what you want to accomplish over the long haul, then you can pick and choose the activities you WANT to do, not just find yourself getting roped into other people’s priorities. This is a great point – there are a lot of good causes to partake in, but if you are honest with yourself, you will stick to the ones that you enjoy the most and align the best with your priorities. If you have no idea what your priorities are, spending a few of your 168 hours figuring it out is time well spent.
Watching TV is really not that relaxing. Lately, I have been finding myself vegging out in front of the TV more and more, under the guise of “taking a break” – but I never really felt rested or rejuvenated after those sessions. I really made an effort to stop doing that and found I had a lot more time to spend on way more important things – and I felt much better overall for it.
When you look at how much time you spend doing something in one week, you really see where your time goes. 30 minute daily walk? Only 3.5 hours – really? I can’t fit that in? 60 minutes of TV a day? Adds up to 7 hours per week. Tightening up your morning routine can net you a lot of time over 7 days. Grouping tasks to limit small bits of down time here and there leaves a larger chunk later to put to better use.
Just like getting distracted by time wastes at home uses up your time, time spent scattered at work will limit your effectiveness and may add overall to the hours you need to spend at work accomplishing your tasks.
In the end, it appears that 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think will stick with me and I really feel myself making some changes. It has only been a week, so time will tell. I have already identified some activities that I need to gracefully bow out of soon, and I am looking forward to letting those things go so I can focus more on those things I really want to do.
Full disclosure: No one gave me this book to read. I heard about it, checked it out from the library and returned it.
Additional disclosure: I was telling my best friends about this book, tossing in that I had to hurry up and power through the book because it was due back at the library and one of them pointed out the irony of me not having enough time to finish the book on time management. So true! I guess I needed the book!
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