168 Hours

This book will help you manage your time intentionally so that you can fit in all your favourite activities without overscheduling yourself.

The Key to Productivity: Being Intentional With Your Time

  • Vanderkam points out that we all have 24 hours a day, but we don’t get equal amounts done with our 168 hours. This is because we approach time differently: Lisa is intentional, while Mary spends much of her time doing low-priority tasks.
  • Vanderkam explains that to live a full, meaningful life, you must schedule your week around your priorities, understand your core competencies, and choose how to spend your time.

How to Be Intentional With Your Time

  • To discover how you’re currently spending your time, divide your activities into major categories, add up the hours you spend on each activity, and reflect on your totals.
  • To discover your overlooked strengths, create a bucket list with 100 items on it and try several activities. You might discover that analyzing art is a unique strength.

Why and How to Be Intentional at Work

  • Vanderkam argues that you need to do work you love to become intentional at work.

Why You Should Do Work You Love

  • If you want to have a meaningful life, you must intentionally choose work you love because your job satisfaction affects the rest of your life.
  • When you enjoy your job, you spend more hours working and are more likely to become an expert in your field. This is because you spend 10,000 hours deliberately practising your work.

Create Your Perfect Position

  • In order to do work you love, you need to have four main elements: you enjoy it, you are good at it, and you have some control over how you do the work, and you work in a supportive environment.

Start Your Own Company

  • Start your own company to create your perfect position. This might involve chasing a lifelong dream or increasing the control and support you have in your life.

Adjust Your Current Position

  • The second option is to adjust your current position so it’s more closely aligned with your ideal. Employers are often willing to adjust your position if you frame your desire in a way that prioritises their profit margin.

Schedule Your Perfect Position

  • To discover what constitutes work, review your bucket list, pull out your professional goals, and map out what you’d need to do over the next year, five years, and ten years to achieve those goals.
  • Focus on your work, and don’t allow yourself to get behind. Make contingency plans for potential issues and readjust your schedule so that you still achieve your weekly work goal.
  • Tracking your attention will help you stay focused at work. You can make contingency plans and readjust your schedule to account for time wasters.
  • Remove yourself from projects that won’t further your career, diminish unnecessary tasks, or delegate them to someone who can do them better than you.

Why and How to Be Intentional at Home

  • Vanderkam argues that you should focus on your unique strengths at home and limit how much time you spend on housework.

Be More Intentional With Your Loved Ones

  • Vanderkam recommends that you be more intentional with your loved ones because only you can parent your children in your unique way, and only you can invest time in your partnership.

Maximise Time With Your Children

  • By being intentional with your kids, you can spend more time with them and work less. To maximise the quantity of time you spend with your kids, adjust your work schedule.

Spend Time With Your Partner

  • Vanderkam recommends three strategies to nurture your relationship: schedule regular dates, spend 30 minutes talking each night before bed, and connect briefly throughout the day.

Delegate Housework

  • Vanderkam notes that many people resist delegating housework because they think it costs too much. However, she argues that delegating housework is worth the investment because it buys you back time to focus on more important tasks.
  • Vanderkam also recommends that you review your time record and decide which chores to delegate. Then, select the chore that takes the most time or the one you dislike the most.
  • If you choose to delegate your housework, you can spend less money and save even more time by shopping online, rotating what rooms you have cleaned, and hiring a virtual assistant or personal concierge.
  • If you dislike food preparation, shop for groceries online and purchase pre-made foods to simplify meal prep.
  • If you dislike general cleaning, hire a cleaning service, but focus on clearing your surfaces to make your house feel clean.

Why You Should Be Intentional About Your Leisure Time

  • Vanderkam asserts that most Americans don’t realize they have 30 hours of leisure time per week because they spend 20 hours mindlessly watching TV.

Make Time for Leisure Activities

  • Choose one to three leisurely pursuits you would like to spend up to 10 hours on weekly. Include exercise!
  • Vanderkam recommends that you be flexible when scheduling these pursuits during the week, and plan at least one fun weekend activity.
  • Create lists of leisure activities that you can do in short bursts of time. Then do one of those activities whenever you have small bits of free time.