Friday, August 26, 2011

168 hours

There are 168 hours in a week—this is a new approach to getting the most out of them It’s an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are all starved for time. With the rise of two-income families, extreme jobs, and the ability to log on to the world 24/7, life is so frenzied we can barely breathe. But what if we actually have plenty of time? What if we could sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, and learn how to play the piano without sacrificing work, family time, or any other activity that is important to us? According to Laura Vanderkam, we can. If we re-examine our weekly allotment of 168 hours, we’ll find that, with a little reorganization and prioritizing, we can dedicate more time to the things we want to do without having to make sacrifices.--

So I kind of fell upon this book when looking for another book in the library.  It is in the "self help" section, and sometimes "self help" books can put me off, because a lot of "self help" books are basically one person's views on how to take care of a problem/issue.  However, this book is not one person's views.  Laura Vanderkam interviewed several people and used their life stories to get different points across about time management.  As you should know by now I love writing down favorite quotes/ideas I read from books no matter the genre of book- so here are a few I loved from this book.

"When you focus on what you do best, on what brings you the satisfaction there is plenty of space for everything".

"If you want others to believe you are successful, it helps to believe this yourself."

"The point is to treat your children like privileged clients. You have to think through the time you are going to spend together because it is valuable."

"A good marriage gives you great energy for achieving success in all parts of life."

"If you have a busy life, you simply can't leave your most meaningful leisure activities to chance".

"Thou art worth every moment"- Rachmaninoff's Vespers movement 4

There were different activities the author has you do throughout the book.  For example writing your list of 100 dreams.  Pretty sad, but when I did this activity I made it to about 30 and then started to struggle with what else I want to do in my life.  This list makes you aware of different areas of your life you need to focus on in order to accomplish dreams (i.e. family, travel, work, exercise, etc).  She had numerous statistics throughout the book on how people spend their time.  For example, looking at "time-diary studies" of large population found that in "1975 married parents spent 12.4 hours with each other, without the kids each week.  by 2000, that was down to 9.1 hours".  Sometimes numbers can be awakening and it made me look at how I spend my own "168 hours". She has different chapters throughout the book to evaluate different times in our 168 hours.  For instance, a whole chapter on work.  She made me further evaluate my own work time.  How much time during the work day do I spend responding to emails/phone calls and generally "chatting" with co-workers instead of focusing on projects or work that is more relevant to getting done what I need and want to in order to be successful in my career.  

One of her activities in the book was filling out your own 168 hours spreadsheet to help you evaluate where you are spending your time.   I did not do the spreadsheet on my own weekly time management, but I think I may try to do it in one of the upcoming weeks.  I think it would be a good tool to help me evaluate just how much quality time (not caregiving time) I spend with my kids, how much time I spend with Matt (again real  time), and how much time I have left or have to focus on getting some of my 100 dreams done. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a way to better utilize their own "168 hours".  Her blog is pretty interesting too.

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