Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty, and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children’s and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which we can take nothing for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.
This Monday I’m featuring 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, written by Laura Vanderkam, a book which has helped me realise I have much more time than I ever imagined, and although I thought I was good at planning, this books has made me realise I can use my time much more efficiently.
In this brilliant book, the author reminds us that every week has 168 hours, which is plenty of time to do everything we want and need to do, as long as we follow her advice and find ways to rearrange our schedules to make room for the things that matter most. This book gives us plenty of creative and eye-opening ideas, to do just that.
In the introduction, she suggests, ‘Looking at life in 168-hour blocks is a useful paradigm shift, because—unlike the occasionally crunched weekday—well-planned blocks of 168 hours are big enough to accommodate full-time work, intense involvement with your family, rejuvenating leisure time, adequate sleep, and everything else that actually matters.’
I took several pages of notes as I listened to her Ted Talk first, and then went on to read her book, 168 Hours, so what follows is a brief synthesis of the ideas I consider most inspiring and helpful, but I urge you to listen to her and read her book, because it will help you to identify the things that really matter in your life, take control of your week and find time for everything you desire.
A week has 168 hours, we work for 40 and sleep for 56, which means we have 71 hours left. That’s a long time! Some people commute 2 hours a day, that’s 10 hours less, 61. Let’s subtract say 2 hours to eat and 2 for housework and shopping, that’s 28, which still leaves us 33 hours a week of free time.
The secret to optimising that free time between family, friends, hobbies, exercise, and relaxation, is:
a) being aware of the time at your disposal and how you are using it every week and b) being intentional about how you use this time.
In order to gain awareness of how we’re spending our time, she recommends using a spreadsheet you can download from her blog My168Hours.com, or create your own.
We should later analyse how we’re spending our time acording to categories such as child care, which can be subdivided into physical care, playing, education, and reading, for example. Housework, which can be divided into laundry, food prep, house cleaning, lawn work, and so on.
Another inspiring proposal is the suggestion that we write a list of 100 dreams and make sure we’re working towards one or more of them every week, and cross them off as we complete them.
Setting goals, prioritising from work to household chores, identifying what’s important, urgent and what can be delegated or postponed, long and short term goal planning, downtime, creating a weekly, block schedule and so much more is contained in these 271 priceless pages.
I absolutely loved this book! It’s useful for everyone and anyone, whether you’re a stressed CEO, a busy mother or father, or a student. There’s so much useful and practical information and food for thought that it’s one of the best and most useful books on time management I’ve ever read.
168 Hours is especially useful at this time of year when we’re more likely to assess our past year and plan for next year’s goals.
If you listen to and read Laura Vanderkam’s proposals, I guarantee you’ll have a greater chance of finding happiness and reaching your goals.
Here’s the link if you’d like to read my other posts on #PersonalGrowth