Creative Time Management Book - "168 Hours" by Laura Vanderkam

anniemade // Great Book Recommendations  - "168 Hours" by Laura Vanderkam

I've had a tremendously fun time recommending books on anniemade. It's dawned on me recently how pivotal all the books I've shared here. They've been especially helpful in terms of changing our everyday lives for myself, Gus, and even a lot of our friends that we've shared these with.

Today, I hope you're ready, cause I've got another fantastic recommendation for you - 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.

Understanding the Nature of Time Management

As Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is the book that taught me to be intentional and creative about managing money, 168 Hours is what has shown me so much about how to be intentional and creative about managing time.

A lot of people in my Making Things Happen circle were reading it, so I picked it up on good recommendations, but really - it was so much better than I was anticipating. Maybe better's not the word, just a lot more eye-opening.

What Laura Vanderkam does in the book is break down that statement we're all used to making - "I wish there were more hours in the day" - and I think solidly makes a great point about how we all have the same 168 hours in our weeks (ever heard that you have the same amount of time Beyonce has?). It's all about how you use them and really, what you say yes to and what you say no to.

Key Takeaways

As per usual, I'll let you read the book if you're interested, but here are a few things I really got out of it and continue to mull over as I face the rigors of setting my own schedule and try to balance our home and work lives.

  • When you track your time, you start to appreciate it more.
    • Laura recommends doing some time tracking, which I did for a few days. What I learned was pretty eye-opening - one was that I check Facebook way too much each day. But more than that realization, by tracking my time, I appreciated my time more each day - in the moment. By giving names to how I was spending my time, I saw that a day could be filled with so much more than I would have thought. It's funny to me because don't we all often quit before we start thinking, we don't have the time? This was a great example of showing myself you can do, and do acutally do a lot in one day.
  • You do only have so much time in a given week, so focus it on your core competencies and say no to the rest.
    • There's a lot of focus in the book on on focus itself. None of has have an infinite amount of time - in fact, our days are full of choices and things pulling at us. As one way to clear the clutter, Laura talks a lot about defining your "core competencies" - the things you feel your life is most about and the things you do extraordinary well. For Laura, these were nourishing her family, her body, and her writing career. When you know what your core is, Laura advocates, you can and should say no to short and long-term obligations that don't serve those things.
  • You have the time to do the things you love, but you have to be intentional about how you use that time.
    • Laura provides great examples of people doing just that and it helps dissuade the myths that there aren't enough hours in the day. I still feel like that sometimes, but less so, knowing that the way I use my time is up to how much thought and intention I put behind it.

There's so much more to this, including some great background for women, who are often struggling to "have it all" between managing a career and family life. Laura shares some fascinating research about the history of women and time management that may really open your eyes too. For example, I think the general consensus is that moms in the 50's spent a lot more time with their children than modern day moms do, but that's actually not true. In fact, moms in the 50's only spent slightly more time with their kids now, but they spent dramatically more time (like 30 hours a week) cleaning and tending to their homes!

So, if you're looking for something to help you feel more satisfied with your time and some tips on how to manage it more creatively, definitely scope out 168 Hours.

And if you haven't been following the book series, here are links to all the titles I've covered thus far. Happy Reading!