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168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  7,955 ratings  ·  1,027 reviews
There are 168 hours in a week. This is your guide to getting the most out of them.

It's an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. 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 if we don't make excuses, we
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by Portfolio (first published May 26th 2010)
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Ecem İlgün Yeah, in the beginning of the book he tells you to log a typical week of yours. And then optimize from there

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 ·  7,955 ratings  ·  1,027 reviews

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Jan 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
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
Amy Rhoda  Brown
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'
Aug 27, 2012 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
Dec 12, 2013 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
Jul 22, 2011 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
Jun 02, 2011 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
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
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. Why aren't you training for a marathon already? All the cool people are running marathons every 2-3 days.
• Your friends are
Apr 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
All I did is to flip the pages of the book in order for me to end up in the last page. Maybe its not a waste of time, but I guess I should spend my time in the 168 hours of the week that will help me make my life more fruitful. Have a nice day!!! 💤💤💤
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.0 Stars
Despite the imperfections of this book, I have re-read (or re-listened to it multiple times) so clearly it hits a chord with me.

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 chore
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, 2020, non-fiction, 2013
Really interesting. There are suggestions that just aren't for everyone and I think she could have more examples that don't all include outsourcing every possible part of your life, but overall, useful and insightful. Full review here: ...more
Kimberly Laurel (The Trusty Bookmark)
This is what happens when you treat your 168 hours as a blank slate. This is what happens when you fill them up only with things that deserve to be there. You build a life where you really can have it all.

I am obsessed with Vanderkam’s What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, so I was thrilled to find this audiobook at my library and it did not disappoint. In this edition of time management advice, Vanderkam stresses the importance of efficiency and prioritization so you can make
Mar 09, 2013 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
Anne Bogel
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my second time through 168 Hours, so I clearly thought it was good enough for a re-read.

I think Laura Vanderkam has a great take on modern life, especially for women. Since reading 168 Hours for the first time, I've returned to her thoughts on managing my time with a "portfolio mindset" again and again. Vanderkam somehow manages to combine the revolutionary with the completely practical, and the result is a fresh take on time management.

I have made actual changes to the way I manage my
Aug 26, 2012 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 readers were
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 a 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 absolutel ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Confession: I only read 25% of this book. I got to the part about how if you don’t love your job it’s basically wasting your time so find your bliss, and decided to flip through to see if the rest of the book was that privileged and blind to how many people actually live. Spoiler alert, it is. Read Amy’s review for an excellent summary and more thorough explanation.

I’ll save you time: best advice in the book is
- quit dicking around on the internet
- actually log your time for a week, like you wo
Jan 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Good gravy, this lady is out of touch with reality. I went into this thinking it would be good for me. I, like many people that I know, am often over scheduled, scraping together free time, and could use some spare minutes here and there. This book was not helpful. At all. The idea of the book is that you have 168 hours in a week, so surely you have time to do the things that you want. That sounds reasonable, but here are some of the ideas she presented to help free up some time:

Pay someone to d
Oct 17, 2012 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
Erica Clou
Meh. Some good ideas, but it's extremely frustrating to read this account of a working mother who has 1) a flexible work schedule, 2) assistants at work, 3) many home helpers including a nanny.

Let's break down the title a second though: 168 hours is how many hours you have if you don't sleep and don't go to work. So let's say you sleep 7-8 hours a night (because you really should), then you actually have 112-119 hours a week. Do you shower most days? Eat 3 meals? Prepare dinner? 100-112. If you
Feb 25, 2013 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
Anna-lisa Rich
Apr 23, 2013 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
Leigh Collazo
Oct 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Abandoning this audiobook. I was turned off right from the beginning, where the author says she had her 2-year old in daycare all day, then came home and left the child with a babysitter. She says it so flippantly, as though it's a given that a two-year old should be in day care all day and with a babysitter at night. No wonder the author can get more done than I can. I'm actually with my children at night, even if we are just sitting around watching TV.

I continued to listen, but I stopped after
Bianca A.
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, speed-read
Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management and productivity books and has her own TED talk "How to Gain Control of Your Free Time" which reflects some of the strategies in this book.
I don't think people should read an excessive amount of self-help materials - at some point you just gotta start implementing what you read instead of being caught in the perpetual, never-ending reading cycle, yes? I've become very strict about what I choose to read in this department, but the structure
Joe Cassada
May 23, 2012 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
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Well, now I know how to structure my time so I can prioritize the things that are most important to me. She advises:

1. Pay someone to do my laundry
2. Hire a maid service to clean my house
3. Have my groceries delivered
4. Hire a personal chef so I don’t have to cook anymore
5. Hire a nanny
6. Hire a lawn service
7. Hire a personal assistant to handle all my appointments
8. Figure out my dream job and then do that and make a lot of money at it
9. Exercise 10 hours a week
10. Don’t see friends unless I’m
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hire a personal chef! A professional organizer! A personal shopper! A pick-up service for your laundry! Just outsource every home management task and you'll have sooooo much extra time. It's so easy, you guys!

Every time you want to do something unproductive, just do something productive instead. If you just exercise every time you want to watch tv, you'll be a competitive athlete in a couple years! Super simple.

(Side note: contains an oddly large amount of Bel Canto references - what are they, r
Darrin Davis
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Weakly written, poorly researched and an annoying narrative voice to boot! There are hundreds of better productivity books out there. And her attempt to put down many of the icons of the field? Comes across as foolishness. My #1 time saving productivity tip? Don’t waste time reading this book.
Mireille Duval
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
Jul 02, 2013 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
Mar 18, 2015 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
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine 168 Hours audio and print 4 18 Feb 06, 2014 07:07PM  

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Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management and productivity books, including:
The New Corner Office
Off the Clock
I Know How She Does It
What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
168 Hours

Laura is also the author of a time management fable, Juliet’s School of Possibilities and another novel, The Cortlandt Boys, which is available as an ebook.

Her 2016 TED talk, "How to Gain Contr

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“This is what happens when you treat your 168 hours as a blank slate. This is what happens when you fill them up only with things that deserve to be there. You build a life where you really can have it all.” 2 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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