Wednesday, January 18, 2012

168 Hours: A Very Lifestyle-Changing Book

I've been wanting to write about this book for a while!

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam came at a time when I really needed it.


You might wonder why a person who is not going to school or working, who has no children (yet!) would read a book about time-management.... I admit, I think it's aimed at, well, busier people than myself, but I honestly feel like the more "spare" time I have, the worse use I make of it.

Vanderkam has the reader write down a list of dreams; things they have always wanted to do or try or improve. My list includes things like: Take Brian to the French Riviera, Be able to run 5 miles comfortably, re-learn the piano, wake up early, and stay on top of laundry. She encourages that you make a list of 100 things, and then keep going. Being pregnant and poor, some of these things will have to wait. But it gave me a great idea of what kind of activities bring me joy, and what kind of lifestyle is important to me.

She then has you record everything you do for a week! I honestly didn't do this part very well. Certainly not for an entire week, but I felt like the point came across loud and clear: I have SO MUCH TIME! And I was accomplishing barely anything! It particularly hit home that there are so many things on my "dreams" list that I can do now, that I was simply not doing, because of the way I managed my time.

Then Vandekam tells the stories of incredibly successful, incredibly busy people who still "have the time" to go on long hike once each week, train for marathons, read to their children, or write a novel in a year. It really was mind-boggling what these people accomplish, on top of their regular full time work.

I think I understood her point pretty well by this part of the book. The rest of the book consists of advice. Vanderkam encourages people to focus on their "core competencies", meaning things we excel and love to do, and minimize everything else. She has a heavy focus on outsourcing, particularly housework! I don't think some of her suggestions will work for my lifestyle (and budget!), but they were interesting all the same.

Overall, it was well-written and very informative, and I am convinced that it would help anyone re-evaluate not only how they spend their time, but their lifestyle and priorities. Since reading it I have been much more aware of what I do with my time, and whether it is filled with positive activities and worthwhile pursuits. I definitely recommend it!


  1. Shucks, I need to read that book! Do you have it or did you just get it from the library? PS - we had a load of fun at Brian's b-day bash - thanks for the invite and the delicious cake! mmmm!

  2. Hey Suzie! Congrats on the soon to be new addition! Sorry I haven't commented earlier. I have been reorganizing the house which means not turning on the computer so I don't waste time. I have been reading your posts each day on my phone and it won't let me comment... anyway I love all your goals. I read a book about organizing your home and it kicked me in the pants to actually do it. I am going to look for this book and read it. I am horrible at time management with kids.but I know I can do better! Thanks for the recommendation on the book!


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