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168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

by Laura Vanderkam

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2791169,404 (3.46)21
Explains how to reorganize and prioritize a weekly schedule in order to meet the demands of today's high-pressure lifestyles while still making time for personal needs and interests.



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I have a sickness where I inhale productivity books.

But they all have a sickness where they think that capitalism is good. Sigh.

Yes Brenda, "we all have the same number of hours in a week." But allllll this optimization shit is running on the same false premise of individual will, even when it tries to be quaint and talk about family/relationships and not just increasing surplus labor value.

why do I do this to myself? ( )
  urnmo | Jul 29, 2019 |
We're all pressed for time and rushing around. At least, that's what a lot of self help books, online articles, and your brain would have you think. But author Laura Vanderkam challenges you to reassess that: even if you work a 50-60 hour week and get enough sleep there are enough hours to fit in what you want to do - we just have to be intentional about how we use them.

Suggesting keeping a time log, writing a list of things you want to do and start working your way through it, and looking at time management from a work and home perspective, Vanderkam perhaps has little new to say, but nonetheless I found it useful as I think intentionally about how I use my time. There aren't a lot of specific time management techniques, so there's ample room for you to decide how it will suit your own life. She's very much coming from the perspective of a working mother which, on the one hand, I liked because I felt assured I could, perhaps, have kids some day and not short myself on sleep. But it also meant that a lot of the "home" section was not applicable as a single woman, because much of her focus was spending time with spouse and kids. Some of her advice is very first-world, for example, if you don't like groceries or housework, outsource more of it. Much like budgeting, time management is about opportunity costs: if I do this, I can't do that. But we don't always think of it that way. As a result, the biggest takeaway from the book is simple: take back control. ( )
  bell7 | Mar 6, 2019 |
I'm sort of allergic to self-help books. But once in a while I indulge in one that purports to show me a way of taking control of the way I spend my time. This one isn't bad.

Vanderkam wrote this after establishing a blog about using your time effectively, and of course it starts with the kind of exercise that brings out my hives: List 100 things you want to do with your time. I immediately resist, although it would undoubtedly make me think of all those things I think I want to do but don't explore. The second exercise is more useful to me - keep a time log. It's the kind of no-brainer my brain tends to avoid, but it can be amazingly useful. For instance, do I really want to spend the first hour and a half of my day surfing Facebook and playing Words With Friends before I even brush my teeth? Maybe it's not the most helpful way to energize my morning.

The book itself is in some ways an exhortation to use your time mindfully, even if you have a tough job or a houseful of kids. It doesn't directly address the vast time field of the newly retired, but I can adapt the message. I think. ( )
  ffortsa | Jan 18, 2018 |
Interesting. Instead of think 24hours a day think 168hours a week. Made me realize that I spent way too much time idling, not enough time gardening and reading. Haha. Recommended. ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
How many hours do you spend working? Now, during those hours, how much is spent on actual work – responding to emails, finishing up that project, sitting in productive meetings? How much of that time is spent on truly non-work tasks – checking social media, being in a meeting where everyone repeats what they argued last meeting, or socializing with coworkers at the water cooler? When you begin to break down your time and get a good look at how its spent, you begin to realize you have a lot more time than you initially would’ve thought.

“…You have to place many bets, and leave nothing you can control to chance. In other words, be open to possibilities, and plan for opportunities.”

In 168 Hours, Vanderkam breaks down these hours into the primary categories of work and home, asking what amount of time is spent on the tasks that you are good at (your core competencies). She goes on to make a number of suggestions on freeing up your time to focus on those core competencies such as reading to your children, furthering your career, and getting much needed “me” time. As I read through this book, I went back and forth on how applicable some of the suggestions were. For example, I don’t have any children but a large chunk of the family (and even career) section is on spending time with them. Or, an item that I’ve seen other reviews bash, her opinion on knitting and sewing as being entirely unnecessary which I greatly enjoy (but maybe that’s because it could be considered one of mine own core competencies).

Additionally, I really enjoyed Vanderkam’s writing style and her bluntness with calling things how they are. For example, that women do the bulk of household chores while men may only be responsible for mowing the yard, but that lawn care is one of the most common outsourced tasks. Or that as a society we are okay outsourcing child care but thing it a luxury to outsource household chores. While I don’t think I’ll ever pay someone to do my laundry or cook for me, I do see her point. Much of the time the issue I found with this argument, which she eventually briefly addresses, is multitasking such as using meal prep time to chat with your spouse or teach your children how to cook.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and found some useful tips on better managing my time. I would recommend this to others who are similarly looking to better manage their time. However, with all books of this nature, its important to take away what can be applied to your life and don’t expect any one book to be the answer to all your problems – take it with a grain of salt. ( )
  TrekkieChickReads | Feb 9, 2016 |
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Explains how to reorganize and prioritize a weekly schedule in order to meet the demands of today's high-pressure lifestyles while still making time for personal needs and interests.

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