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 side hustle for extra income, start their own business but can’t quit a job, wants 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 amazing book 168 hours (You have more time than you think).

About the Author

Laura Vanderkam is an author of 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 podcasts Before breakfast.

About the Book

168 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 things 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.

168 hours discusses the different perspectives of looking at 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 habits.

Few 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 to the possible things one can imagine under the sun.
  • And With Whatsapp group and having emails on phone it seems that we are working most of our waking hours, which makes work more stressful and affects our personal, family and me time drastically.

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 next 168 hours. You may want to consider this if you want to get benefit of this weekly planner and taking your life towards your ideal life one week at a time.
  • She also recommends signature exercise “List of 100 Dreams” of Ceniza Levine co- founder of Six figure starts to get an idea of what is it that like 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. With examples in books clarifies that it’s never too late to look for and get involved in the work one likes. Once you make up your mind about your intentions, logistics won’t look that big of a deal.
  • Like choosing the right spouse, being in the right job can give you amazing energy for the entirety of your 168 hours.
  • The right job not only makes our work fun and interesting, it also leaves us with more energy for rest of the waking hours for non-work activities.

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

  • What would you do if you don’t have to work a single day for rest of your life?
  • Which part of your current work you’ll keep if given choice to let go off work all together?
  • What do you want to do during your work days?
  • What are the 100 things you’d want to do in 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 below a few suggestions to make the best of your free time in the office instead of killing it in trivia things, which looks important.

  • Log out all social media sites. Login once or twice a day and check all sites in 15 minutes max.
  • Optimize this freed time for writing instead. Download color note (If you don’t like pen and paper), and start writing there anything from your goals, to things you like to do, thank you notes, gratitude list, you can do brain dump, write to clear your mind.
  • Call up someone you haven’t spoken for some time. Read or explore something about 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 that often parents focus more time on house work (which can be outsourced for low to negligible cost) then spending time with kids or working on their craft, which is more important for them.

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 is not going to make it easy for you to stick to your priorities. Don’t let your own weakness contribute to the problem.
  • A 60-hour workweek can easily consist of only 25 hours of real work if you’re not careful.
  • 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 have to place many bets, and leave nothing you can control to chance.
  • There is enough time for everything in the course of the day if you do but one thing at at a time; but there is not time enough in the year if you will do two things at a time.” – Lord Chesterfield


I would like 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 a process of evaluating where you are and where you want to be. Maybe these are the same, but maybe they’re not. If they aren’t, then you have to look at what stands in the way, and what can be changed”

You may download the 168 Hours E-book here. If you like this book you may also like Declutter your Mind.

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

Time is money, use yours wisely.


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