Posted 20 hours ago

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

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Work rarely consumes 100% of anyone’s time. Even the people who say that they work 80 hour weeks rarely work that hard. There is always room for improvement. New home economics has changed how we juggle time among children, work, and housework. The change began when women started getting into the workforce and their time became billable. That means, after all of those things—assuming I’ve guessed correctly—I have 72 hours to spend on the other things I like doing. That’s huge! In total, I logged 115 hours against 7 core weekly activities. That means I have 53 (168 - 115) hours of remaining time to do with it what I will, including possibly taking time from things like “watching T.V.,” or “social media” to do tasks of higher value.

Examples of things that are not core competencies for most people are laundry, cleaning the house, or making food (unless of course those things are part of your job, or a fulfilling hobby). Those are tasks you can either outsource, not do at all, or spend less time doing. Vanderkam argues that you can have it all, all at the same time. She says it's easy to find the 20-30 hours a week that you absolutely require (she asserts) to develop and maintain a worthwhile career. What you need to do is give up (or outsource) housework and stop watching TV. You'll only have a couple of hours a day to spend with your kids, but that's okay, because you can plan exciting and enriching activities to do in those hours. No just slouching around hanging out with your kids. (Goodness knows, they might start talking to you about their lives if you do that, and what a waste of time that would be.) Get rid of non-core-competency tasks by ignoring, minimizing, or outsourcing them. Always seek work that improves your core competencies, and minimize the rest. Feel free to aim big. Few calculated risks end in disaster, and any investment made in a project you care deeply about is likely to generate some return.”I went up and down on this one: yes, helpful in pointing out that priorities matter and just flailing around without thinking about them means you feel like you never have enough time; but, no, admitting that you're incredibly privileged and wealthy doesn't give you brownie points for when you *completely* ignore the effects of that privilege and wealth for the rest of your premise and then insist that *everybody* else is just misguided. It's awesome that you work at home and have a flexible schedule and don't have to factor commute-time in, but HI, THE REST OF THE WORLD MAY NOT WORK THAT WAY. And I say that as someone who enjoys many of those same privileges. (And if reading/listening to music is not one of your priorities, listening to books/music while spending 2 hours each day in the car isn't going to help with that feeling that there's not enough time.) We see and hear that number often enough, but does anyone ever do the math? 24/7 adds up to 168 hours—one week—and, according to Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours, it is the ideal unit by which to examine our lives. Most of us complain about not having enough time to do what it takes to feel successful at home or at work. 168 Hours posits that if we look at the data objectively—how we really spend each hour in an average week—we all have “enough.” After keeping a log for one week, readers can conduct their own Time Makeover: identify dreams and the “actionable steps” they require, optimize “core competencies” and, my favorite, outsource or minimize all the stuff left over. With allowances for downtime and “bits of joy” thrown in, time can finally be on our side, 24/7.” I don't think people should read an excessive amount of self-help materials - at some point you just gotta start implementing what you read instead of being caught in the perpetual, never-ending reading cycle, yes? I've become very strict about what I choose to read in this department, but the structure of the book did okay and was fast to read and catch the useful ideas. One way to make time with your spouse is to schedule a spouse conference of 30 minutes before bedtime. At that point, you can discuss different aspects of your life. But, when you consider all of the other things I’m doing that are probably wasting a good chunk of that time (T.V., social media, online browsing, household chores etc), I may be using those hours a lot less intentionally than I could be. After all, as much as I enjoy watching shows on Netflix to decompress, I’d infinitely prefer to actually learn something new, like how to play the guitar.

This book presents a new way of viewing and organizing time: 168 hours in a week (instead of 24 hours in a day, 8 hours at work and the other hours commuting or at home, 16 hours awake and 8 hours asleep, etc.) Use the principle of alignment to build in more time with family and friends. Commit to activities that utilize different parts of your brain, particularly the ones that don’t require active mental engagement Also, a lot of the studies in her book showcase women who "have it all." The woman who runs a multi-million dollar business, is raising 5 kids and hikes every week was one of the people she used as an example of someone who uses her 168 hours very wisely. The whole concept of being a woman who can 'have it all' is actually incredibly destructive and creates an enormous amount of psychological stress. Using time better IS essential to a happy and productive life. But trying to convince women that they should be able to do everything isn't healthy.You could learn to scuba dive. You could go on a number of long hikes. You could learn to bake macarons or chocolate eclairs. You could have a really long, luxurious nap, you could spend valuable time with your loved ones. If you aren’t a creative genius perhaps you could be a professional flunky. See if www.flunkies-are-us.com is available. It’s perfect for those who think they face a constant time crunch. Until recently, I was one. Reading the book helped me realize I do have time to write that novel, start that blog, take that dance class, exercise every day — and still have dinner ready for my husband and spend quality time with my kids.” Either way, whether or not you choose to continue with this strategy is really up to you. Nevertheless, the results of this exercise I am sure will be enlightening. Next you’re going to do some introspection and goal setting As the title suggests, Vanderkam argues that each of us has 168 hours each week and how we use those hours is a personal choice. By using both research, examples of people who've accomplished an incredible amount of success in several major life areas, and her own, personal examples, this book is full of reasons why they excuse "I'm too busy" is really just a cop-out for not making tough, personal choices on how and where and on whom we spend our time.

The truth is, money, like time, is a choice—and often a related choice. Just as you need a “work team” to support your career, you need a “home team” to help you focus on your core competencies and save time in your personal life. If you’re rolling in cash, this may literally be a team.” You can make your experiment with 168 hours even more interesting by really tuning in to your emotions as you go about your day. And, if you can build in activities that make you feel calm, or that allow you to rest, if mentally, you’ll feel better for it. Keep your to-do list super short This author impressed me with her ability to pose questions that made me ask questions in her book "All the Money in the World." I had high hopes for this book, too.

Well, my dream job is to be an astronaut. It's not going to happen. I am in my mid-30s, have no science education and a 15-year career doing something else. Almost every book in this genre makes a similar recommendation. I find it useless. If everyone were doing his/her dream job, would we have janitors? Port-a-potty maintenance crew, etc. Granted, there are some "undesirable" jobs that appeal to a handful of people (i.e. podiatrists, those people who rescue alligators/venomous snakes from human habitats) but most of us aren't working our actual, honest-and-true dream job. Better advice would be how to find meaning in your work, how to stay motivated and focused when the work gets boring (even dream jobs come with a side of tedious tasks), how to move forward, grow and get new challenges/opportunities in your field. Now, if you h-a-t-e your job, that's something to look at but I feel like many of us are working jobs that are medium-ish -- they are not too hard/too easy, they pay enough to pay the bills, there's an ebb and flow between challenge and overwhelmed -- where's the advice on how to make the most of that kind of job? The kind most of us have? Despite the imperfections of this book, I have re-read (or re-listened to it multiple times) so clearly it hits a chord with me.

The best way to master a time management technique is to understand the nitty-gritty details. How do you implement it successfully? Here are a few things to think about. Take short breaks We predict that 168 Hours will fly off the shelves and into the hands of anyone who has ever uttered the words: ‘I’m SO busy!’ or ‘If only I had more time!’ Vanderkam’s approach is incredibly powerful and resonant given the average American watches 4 hours of television. A day!”According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, on average it takes about 66 days (2 months) for a new behavior to become automatic (though that number is not clear-cut and for some people it takes less or more). Give yourself enough time to do it. If you don’t manage to get it right the first time, just keep trying. Change is hard. Pros and cons of the 168 hours time management method Don't spend time cooking in the kitchen. You can still have a home cooked meal by opening a can of lobster bisque or microwaving a frozen burrito. (My kids thought this one was particularly hilarious.) Not useful for very detailed planning and to-do lists: Because this is a time management strategy aimed more at determining how you’re using your time, and how you can do more of the things you want to do, you’ll still need to have other strategies in place as well to help you figure out the day-to-day, nitty-gritty details.

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