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168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,557 Ratings  ·  420 Reviews
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 regula
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published May 26th 2010)
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Getting Things Done by David Allen168 Hours by Laura VanderkamOutliers by Malcolm GladwellHeadhunters Revealed! by Darrell W. GurneyWork 2.0 by Sergiusz Prokurat
Best Books About Work
2nd out of 9 books — 5 voters
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieHis Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley Jr.Boundaries by Henry Cloud168 Hours by Laura VanderkamThe 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Nancy Ray Book Club 2016
4th out of 16 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 25, 2014 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
What a waste of several of my precious 168 hours! Like many people, I struggle with motivation and focus so I'm always looking for wisdom or advice on topics like time management, productivity. This has to be one of the worst how-to/self-help books I've ever read.

First, the book takes its basic premise from the Big Rocks philosophy - In a nutshell, the Big Rocks concept is to picture a jar and, next to it, rocks of various sizes from large to small. You put the big rocks in first, then medium on
Aug 27, 2012 Gabrielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-management
As the title suggests, Vanderkam argues that each of us has 168 hours each week and how we use those hours is a personal choice. By using both research, examples of people who've accomplished an incredible amount of success in several major life areas, and her own, personal examples, this book is full of reasons why they excuse "I'm too busy" is really just a cop-out for not making tough, personal choices on how and where and on whom we spend our time.

The best part of the book was Vanderkam's a
Jun 02, 2011 cat rated it did not like it
Shelves: 100-in-2011
2011 Book 61/100

I picked this book up because I never feel like I have enough time for all of the things that I want to do - or sometimes even for the things that I *need* to do. I expected some discussion of time management and definitely expected help re-arrranging my thinking about time. What I did not expect was the complete dismissal of differing income levels and life factors into the author's approach. In the VERY FIRST chapter she admits her class privilege (flippantly I might add) and t
Amy Brown
Mar 05, 2015 Amy Brown rated it liked it
This is a helpful book if:

- you have bags of money,
- you like processed food, and
- you believe in quality time over quantity time with your kids.

Vanderkam argues that you can have it all, all at the same time. She says it's easy to find the 20-30 hours a week that you absolutely require (she asserts) to develop and maintain a worthwhile career. What you need to do is give up (or outsource) housework and stop watching TV. You'll only have a couple of hours a day to spend with your kids, but that'
Oct 18, 2015 Missy rated it it was ok
I went up and down on this one: yes, helpful in pointing out that priorities matter and just flailing around without thinking about them means you feel like you never have enough time; but, no, admitting that you're incredibly privileged and wealthy doesn't give you brownie points for when you *completely* ignore the effects of that privilege and wealth for the rest of your premise and then insist that *everybody* else is just misguided. It's awesome that you work at home and have a flexible sch ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Ciara rated it liked it
this book was published before vanderkam's book about personal finance, all the money in the world, but i only heard about it while i was reading the money book. i enjoyed the writing style & some of the concepts in all the money in the world, & living on a fixed income, the topic of time management is probably more relevant to me, so i decided to check this one out too.

vanderkam says that she was inspired to write this book after reading a feature in "real simple" magazine in which read
Jul 14, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
This book was just okay for me. While I was very interested in the idea of the book and the concept of thinking of time in weekly 168-hour blocks, a lot of Vanderkam's ideas were completely unrealistic. As a freelance graphic designer, I understand that working from home is not always piece of cake like some people may think. But I also realize that working from home gives one a more flexible schedule. As a freelance writer who works from a home office, the author seems to think it's absolutely ...more
Joe Cassada
May 23, 2012 Joe Cassada rated it liked it
I am, admittedly, a productivity addict - which means I like to read anything and everything on productivity and time management that I can get my hands on (though this hasn't necessarily made me more productive). Vanderkam's book was enjoyable, but I felt it was geared more towards the working mother. Quite a bit of effort is spent in assuaging guilty feelings about untidy homes and take-out food. Her solutions are impractical for those on limited budgets, though she makes a good try at justify ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
I truly hate to stop reading a book halfway through, but by the time I got to the chapter about "new household economies", I couldn't shake the feeling that the author has no comprehension of the realities of an average American life. I am a "housewife" myself, with some modest dreams of having a freelance creative career but no clue how to fit that in with my responsibilities as a wife and mother. Sorry, I can't outsource childcare just because it's not a core competency (really, it's not!). Go ...more
Anna-lisa Rich
Apr 23, 2013 Anna-lisa Rich rated it did not like it
I admit that my review might not be the best as I stopped reading this book. It's a book about how to be more responsible about your time and use it wisely however I couldn't help feeling like I was wasting my time reading it. I can figure out how to use my time wisely on my own. I also felt the author pushed her own opinions way too much; to the point where anyone who said they didn't have time to do certain things was a complete idiot. As a mom, who actually spends time with her child, the fir ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Kim rated it liked it
This book was not at compelling as I'd hoped-especially since I added it to my Amazon "To-Read" list three times. (Now there's time well spent.) Some of her suggestions were just unrealistic. Most people can't outsource all their hated, time-sucking tasks. And try as I may, I have yet to reprogram my brain to lower my standard of household cleanliness/organization. I started reading the work section, but skipped past it since it just wasn't relevant to my stay-at-home life. I liked that she enco ...more
Was up at 6am and managed to finish a book on time-management before leaving for work. Clearly this means I've incorporated all its lessons, right? (And it compensates for the fact that this book has been on my "currently reading" shelf for six months.)

I got this book in a giveaway and I was excited to read it... until I figured out that I already have pretty good control of my time. I rarely feel like I'm running out of time, or unable to do everything I want to do. Probably because of two thin
Feb 02, 2014 Lacie rated it it was ok
This author had a few good ideas, but I was very disappointed in most of it. This book is hardly worth it unless you already earn six figures, as her biggest advice was to outsource all the things you don't want to waste your time with such as laundry, cooking and cleaning. I can see where this might make sense to her as she has very small children, but what is she teaching them? Nothing! She talks about spending all her free "kid time" playing, how about doing the chores together? This will not ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Kari rated it it was ok
This author impressed me with her ability to pose questions that made me ask questions in her book "All the Money in the World." I had high hopes for this book, too.

But the book's title is misleading. It's less about thinking creatively about your limited time and more about self-fulfillment. Some may argue that those are the same thing, but I think there's a subtle difference. Trying to make the best use of your time might include doing some things you don't really want to do. Self fulfillment
Apr 03, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
Wow, do I have mixed feelings about this book.
The first couple of chapters were insightful and interesting and useful. Many other parts of the book had great ideas and fascinating case studies.

But there were huge sections where her suggestions and reasoning were based on underlying assumptions that I just don't agree with at all. If she doesn't come right out and say it, she strongly implies that a woman who doesn't have a career aside from mothering and home-making is wasting her time and life
Courtney Baron
Mar 25, 2012 Courtney Baron rated it really liked it
The author has a privileged life, as she herself admits early on in the book, and therefore you may not be able to relate to or apply her specific advice (such as, don't have time to clean? Hire a maid!) if you are not upper middle class or so (and I am not, not even close). But, even so, I have read this book twice now and find myself mentioning it over and over again. At the very least, this book will get you thinking a LOT about how you spend your 168 hours and how you can improve your time m ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Leftbanker rated it liked it
A few things you will learn from this book:

• Every menial task in your life should be farmed out to flunkies.
• If you aren’t a creative genius perhaps you could be a professional flunky. See if is available.
• Put down the Twinkie, turn off the professional wrestling program on TV, pick your big ass up off the sofa, and start training for a marathon.
• Your friends are mostly losers so ditch them.
• Your children need to be treated as commodities so that you can rank yoursel
Julie Barrett
Jul 20, 2014 Julie Barrett rated it it was ok
Parts of this book have had a great impact on my daily life and other parts of the book were totally irrelevant to my life; hence the two stars. I would give 4 stars to the chapters that relate to my situation/life.

The biggest idea I took from this book was to really truly get that we all have the same amount of time in our lives and it is ridiculous to state "I don't have time for x." Her suggestion to rephrase that thought as "X is not a priority for me." really lit a fire under my ass. I'd be
Sep 16, 2011 Angie rated it it was amazing
A lot of books out there discuss time management and how to achieve work/life balance. 168 hours is the best book I have read on this topic because it focuses on the core skill needed to achieve all this: prioritization. 168 hours is the number of hours in a week. The book is structured to help get the most out of those 168 hours.

Vanderkam ends each chapter with questions that help the reader focus on core competencies. Core competencies are the activities that give you joy, that you are really
May 22, 2013 Tess rated it really liked it
This book presents a fantastic way of looking at organizing your life, though I admit that mostly it was just feel-good affirmations for me since I'm already an insane taskmaster about how I spend my time. I think you can spend time doing the things you really want to do by (1) planning ahead and then (2) sticking to the plan and not getting derailed by crap like sleeping in, watching TV, etc. To sum it up -- live intentionally.

Best quotes:

"While we think of our lives in grand abstractions, a li
Feb 07, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Feeling stressed and pulled in a million directions? You probably have more time than you think. A week is made up of 168 hours, as Vanderkam reminds us, which is quite a lot really. After reading this book and completing some of the exercises in it, I've started to make some changes in my priorities. I probably won't be outsourcing my laundry anytime soon - though, feel free to do it if it gives you more time to play music, hang out with your kids, or write that novel! However, I have a better ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars

The book is primarily targeted at wealthy mothers that are either self-employed or have significant flexibility over their working hours. Since I am none of the above, I couldn't relate to a good portion of this book. Given the nature of my work, I cannot rearrange my work hours or delegate my tasks away. Also, the author's advice of outsourcing household chores, like cooking and cleaning, isn't feasible.

However, I liked the concept of this book enough to reread it as an audiobook. As a
Jul 02, 2013 Ellen rated it liked it
This book inspired me to think about my valuable time differently. It was great to hear stories of people who used their time thoughtfully and accomplished so much as a result. We tick away time commuting, washing dishes to even grocery shopping so it's important to make these tasks efficient so that you can have more time for the meaningful things in life.

Key ideas I will remember:

-online grocery shopping can save you money and time, you buy the same things all the time, why waste your precious
Dec 14, 2014 Tracy rated it it was ok

This book seemed to speak only to married women with children. I think single people were mentioned maybe twice throughout the whole book? Not to mention the fact that I now feel like a complete loser because outside of work I don't have the energy to do much else, such as saving baby whales or whatever. Vanderkam says that one's work, if it's the right fit, should leave one rejuvenated enough to fill the rest of your awake life with exercise, engaging with your children, and honing your profess
Feb 05, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I found this book to be simultaneously inspiring and depressing. On the one hand, it's great to read stories about people who have extremely full lives and still have time to go on mid-morning hikes, just because. On the other hand, it can make you feel like a bit of a schlub for wasting time.

A large part of the book is devoted to time-management for working or stay at home parents, who admittedly have a lot to fit into their day, but since I don't have children, I had a hard time applying the
Justin Quinn
Dec 22, 2014 Justin Quinn rated it really liked it
The first 4 chapters were more about exploring what you want to do with your time, which was great. The rest of the book was more helpful suggestions. Frankly I don't need suggestions about how to reduce cooking time or laundry. (I was my clothes once every two months and eat what I can scavenge from bailiffs). For me the book could have stopped after chapter 4, but the first 4 chapters were worth the price and time.
Oct 09, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-10
Although I don't think it is reasonable to start at 168 hours and count down what your engagements are (that caused a lot of problems in college and I learned my lesson the hard way), I did find some of her recommendations interesting, albeit expensive. One idea that really stuck with me was that we are so willing to hire a babysitter for an afternoon so we can 'catch up' on housekeeping, but we aren't willing to pay for a maid so we can play with our children. A maid just seems so ... fancy, I ...more
Jill Will Run
May 14, 2014 Jill Will Run rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I feel like I never have enough time to do things in life. I liked the idea of looking at the week in terms of hours, as opposed to the days. But really, I felt like I was wasting time reading the book. It wasn't bringing me much enjoyment and it wasn't giving me any earth-shattering tips to improve my schedule.

Here's the rub... I honestly don't have time to do as much as I used to. My feeling that way wasn't inaccurate. Since I had a baby and became a mother... more time is spent on another hum
Feisty Harriet
I both really loved and appreciated and really rolled my eyes a lot at this book. Vanderkam has pages of fantastic suggestions for better time management, better prioritization, and better efficiency at work. She is less helpful (in my opinion) for improvement at home. It seems her solutions for work-related time issues are solid and thought out and take into account possible cramps like office style, manager style, and industry. However, he solutions for better efficiency at home seem to all sk ...more
Megan Olsen
Jul 17, 2014 Megan Olsen rated it liked it
This was a quick read. Nothing especially groundbreaking, but it was a good reminder to look some of the ways I waste time in activities that don't make me or my family happy.

Things I liked:
*TV is a huge time-waster, and is not nearly as relaxing as we think it is. It's much better to relax with a book, meditation, quality time with your spouse or kids, creating art, etc.

*We have more hours than we think to do the things we want. Cut out lazy or unimportant things like Facebook, TV or mindless
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine 168 Hours audio and print 4 16 Feb 06, 2014 07:07PM  
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Laura Vanderkam is the author of the forthcoming book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Build Lives That Work (Portfolio, June 9, 2015). Based on a time diary study of 1001 days in the lives of professional women and their families, this book takes a practical approach to the question of how people combine work and family while enjoying their ow ...more
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“Reading fiction as you commute to a job you don’t like will make you feel somewhat more fulfilled; being in the right job will make you feel incredible.” 0 likes
“The majority of people who claim to be overworked work less than they think they do, and many of the ways people work are extraordinarily inefficient. Calling something “work” does not make it important or necessary.” 0 likes
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