Book Review: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

I recently finished 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.  Although Laura’s New York City lifestyle is far different from mine, I was still able to glean lots of good information from this book.

One thing that Laura emphasizes throughout the book is focusing as much of your time as possible on your “core competencies.”  To be effective, she suggests you “outsource, ignore, or minimize everything else.”  As a stay-at-home mom on a limited income, this isn’t always possible for me.  However, there is a lot of truth in focusing on your strengths and eliminating distractions.  For example, she says that if you stop watching TV for 20 hours a week, you’ll free up enough time (1,000 hours) to write a book in a year!  She feels that work that isn’t spent advancing you toward your goals is just wasted time.  She quotes Trista Harris who says, “Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should be doing something…[it] leads to death by a thousand opportunities.”

Another benefit of focusing on your strengths and doing what you love, is you will be happier, and thus more successful at what you do.  She recommends carving out “time to daydream,” and to ponder “what you’ll do if things go right.”  She says to “think about your time as being worth the billable rate you would like to achieve.”  Laura explains the need for authentic stories, and shares quite a few in her book.  When discussing happiness, she describes one couple who loves what they do, so that makes their frugal lifestyle a lot easier to bear than if they were miserable for 8 hours a day.  She also points out that “a good marriage will give you great energy for achieving success in all parts of your life.”

Laura recommends some great resources to like the “Help A Reporter Out” service which helps reporters to locate people for their pieces (free publicity!).  She recommends FlyLady.net for practical guidance for cleaning your home, and mentions that Salary.com posts calculations on what you’d have to pay a mom for her domestic services.  There is a lot more to Laura’s book than what I’ve mentioned here, so if your life could use some time management, this is a great resource!

What books have you enjoyed reading recently?

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