168 Hours Book Summary I Take control of your Time

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Book – 168 Hours, You Have More Time Than You Think (Summary)

Author – Laura Vanderkam

Genre – Self-help Book

Published in – 2010

Have you come across people who say that they want to pursue things like a side hustle for extra income, start their own business but can’t quit a job, want to pursue a hobby they left long back, write a book, paint, spend more time with family, travel places, participate in voluntary work to name a few and can’t do it for THEY DON’T HAVE TIME?

Well, not anymore! Laura Vanderkam will take away all your time. Excuses once and for all with her fantastic book 168 Hours (You have more time than you think).

About the Author

Laura Vanderkam authorizes many time management and productivity books, including Juliet’s School of Possibilities, Off the Clock, I Know How She Does It, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours.

Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune. She is also the host of the podcast Before Breakfast.

About the Book

One hundred sixty-eight hours, which is seven days of the week. We often overestimate how much we can achieve in a day and underestimate how much we can achieve in a week. Laura shows that when we plan in 168 hours, things do look different, and we can get hope of achieving something we want.

Whether you work 8 hours a day or 12, when you take stock of the next 168 hours and plan 168 hours, you will be surprised at the time you can free up for advancing your life goals.

One Hundred Sixty-eight Hours discusses the different perspectives of how we spend our time and can certainly plan to be more deliberate with our time to live our ideal life. The suggestions in the book require practice like developing any habit does. As they say, we are producing our patterns.

Key Points from the Book

1) The Myth of Time Crunch

  • The January 2007 issue of Real Simple magazine posed a question to its “time-starved” readers: If you had an extra 15 minutes in your day, how would you use it? And many have answered all the possible things one can imagine under the sun.
  • With Whatsapp groups and having emails on the phone, it seems that we are working most of our waking hours, making work more stressful and drastically affecting our personal, family, and me time.

2) Start From Where You Are

  • You need to know where you are to plan where you want to go. Laura has designed 168-hour spreadsheets for readers to take stock of how they spend the next 168 hours. You may consider this if you’ll benefit from this weekly planner and take your life towards your ideal life one week at a time.
  • She also recommends the signature exercise “List of 100 Dreams” by Ceniza Levine, founder of Six Figure Starts, to get an idea of what she likes to do, achieve, and spend more time on.

3) The Right Job

  • Laura suggests that if we choose our work right, each hour we log can be a source of joy. Examples in books clarify that it’s never too late to look for and get involved in the work one likes. Once you decide about your intentions, logistics won’t look that big of a deal.
  • Like choosing the right spouse, having the right job can give you fantastic energy for your 168 hours.
  • The right job makes our work fun and exciting, leaving us with more energy for non-work activities for the rest of our waking hours.

She also suggests asking exciting questions that will open up the mind to new possibilities –

  • What would you do if you didn’t have to work a single day for the rest of your life?
  • Which part of your current work will you keep if given a choice to let go of work altogether?
  • What do you want to do during your work days?
  • What are the 100 things you’d want to do for the rest of your life?

4) Core Competencies

Focus on what you do best and let go of rest by ignoring, minimizing, or outsourcing it. You may consider a few suggestions to make the best of your free time in the office instead of killing it in trivia things, which look essential.

  • Log out all social media sites. Login once or twice daily and check all areas in 15 minutes max.
  • Optimize this freed time for writing instead. Download a color note (If you don’t like pen and paper), and start writing anything from your goals to things you want to do, thank you notes, and gratitude list; you can do a brain dump and write to clear your mind.
  • Call up someone you haven’t spoken to for some time. Read or explore something about what you are planning to do.

5) Personal Time in 168 Hours

  • The truth is, money, like time, is a choice—and often a related choice. Just as you need a “work team” to support your career, you need a “home team” to help you focus on your core competencies and save time in your personal life.
  • What Laura suggests is that often, parents focus more time on housework (which can be outsourced for low to negligible cost) than spending time with kids or working on their craft, which is more critical for them.

A few Quotes From the Book

  • Successful people focus, as much as possible, in the work and personal spheres on their core competencies and outsource, ignore, or minimize everything else.
  • It’s not about changing how many hours you work out of 168; it’s about changing how much control you have over them.
  • The world will not make it easy for you to stick to your priorities. Don’t let your weakness contribute to the problem.
  • If you’re not careful, a 60-hour workweek can easily consist of only 25 hours.
  • You cannot remove randomness from the universe. You can, however, use your 168 hours to stack the odds in your favor. To do this, you must place many bets and leave nothing you can control to chance.
  • There is enough time for everything in the day if you do but one thing at a time, but there is not time enough in the year if you will do two things at a time.” – Lord Chesterfield.


I want to conclude this Summary with one paragraph in the book, which indicates what this book can do for you.

“No one ever said having it all was easy. Getting the most out of your 168 hours is evaluating where you are and where you want to be. Maybe these are the same, but maybe they’re not. If they aren’t, you must look at what stands in the way and what can be changed.”

If you like this book, you may also like Declutter Your Mind.

I hope this book summary helped you in some way. I would appreciate your comments.

Time is money; use yours wisely.


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