168 Hours

  • by Laura Vanderkam
  • Narrated by Elizabeth London
  • 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

There are 168 hours in a week. This book is about where the time really goes, and how we can all use it better. It's an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. With the rise of two-income families, extreme jobs, and 24/7 connectivity, life is so frenzied we can barely find time to breathe. We tell ourselves we'd like to read more, get to the gym regularly, try new hobbies, and accomplish all kinds of goals. But then we give up because there just aren't enough hours to do it all. Or else, if we don't make excuses, we make sacrifices. To get ahead at work we spend less time with our spouses. To carve out more family time, we put off getting in shape. To train for a marathon, we cut back on sleep. There has to be a better way - and Laura Vanderkam has found one.
After interviewing dozens of successful, happy people, she realized that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting the daily grind crowd out the important stuff, they start by making sure there's time for the important stuff. They focus on what they do best and what only they can do. When plans go wrong and they run out of time, only their lesser priorities suffer. It's not always easy, but the payoff is enormous. Vanderkam shows that it really is possible to sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, take piano lessons, and write a novel without giving up quality time for work, family, and other things that really matter. The key is to start with a blank slate and to fill up your 168 hours only with things that deserve your time. Of course, you probably won't read to your children at 2:00 am, or skip a Wednesday morning meeting to go hiking, but you can cut back on how much you watch TV, do laundry, or spend time on other less fulfilling activities. Vanderkam shares creative ways to rearrange your schedule to make room for the things that matter most.

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What the Critics Say

"We so often live our lives day by day. Laura wants us to think about doing it hour by hour. Living this mantra by example, she gets more done in a day than most of us do in a week." (Seth Godin, author of Linchpin)
"Laura Vanderkam shows us how to use our only real wealth-our 168 hours a week- to make our lives richer, not busier. That's a wonderful gift, because it's what genuine success is all about." (Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Avoid

I thought that this would be a useful book, something to give me advice on how to manage what I perceive as my 'limited' time. However, like the other review (William), I soon began to get annoyed by my in-car passenger.

The narrator's voice soon begins to grate on you. Add to this the content which (echoing 'William') appears to be a little unstructured at times and you'll soon be switching back to the radio.

To be fair, some of the early content is useful and highlights that you're never really flat out working or playing and it suggest logging your days so you can gain a true view of your time usage.

So, some good content. However, the majority of the time the narrator is just reading off a string of useless statistical data from 'The American Time Use Survey' - data which doesn't really help but simply blinds you with numbers.

Most of the book's content falls into the category of in-depth reports of named individuals' lives, telling us how wonderful these people are, but providing very little in the way of useful advice to the listener.

I like to listen to entire audiobooks, even if I'm struggling half way through. However, in Chapter 7 the narrator began telling me how I can save time by getting all my meals cooked for me by a 'personal chef' - this would save me X hours by removing the need for shopping for food, preparation time and cooking (!!!). Then, I gave up and stopped the audiobook for good (half way through Chapter 7) after she moved on to recipes for meals I could prepare in minutes - she read out the recipes for about 5 or 6 meals, listing the ingredients! At that point I stopped the book and vowed not to complete it and that I would delete it as soon as I got home. It's gone - deleted.

Summary: some interesting advice in the early chapters but far too many useless statistics and lengthy/detailed stories about people the author has met.

Avoid this book, save your time and money.
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- D. Davies

Full of tips but lacks structure.

I was very excited about listening to this book, it seemed to present a completely new way of looking at the working week, it chunks of 168 hours. The author does present some good ways of plan your time however I felt it severely lacked structure and sounded a bit like someone in my passenger seat who wont stop talking (my wife sounds very similar!).

In summary I personally will be more careful before buying random books which seem good on the front cover in future, this book is not everyones cup of tea but it could well be some peoples so have a good listen to the sample before purchasing!
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- William

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-06-2010
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC