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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.

©2010 Laura Vanderkam (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Ironically, this book takes too much time

There is actually some good stuff in here and useful tips. Yet despite the mantra of analyze where time is spent and pare down to essentials, it is about 3 times longer than it should be, with endless repetitive stories and way too much unecessary detail. I'd say still mostly worth the listen but be sure to clear your calendar first...

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tamara
  • Watertown, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
  • 07-01-10

save your time and skip this book

I was soooo disappointed with this book. No new info here. The basic message is to stop watching TV so you can get other stuff done.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tiffany
  • WAconia, MN, United States
  • 11-04-10

I really wanted to like this book

I agree with the premise of this book, and was anxious to find practical, applicable tips. I felt it was taking a while to get to what I was waiting for, but after a few hours of listening, I couldn't take it any more. Perhaps part of it was the tone of the narrator, but I felt I was being lectured and condescended to by a 30 year old who seems to have figured out how to manage every minute of her day, even with a child. I don't doubt she's figured it out, but I'm not sure she's the kind of person I'd be friends with. My life simply doesn't follow my best laid plans like hers apparently do, even if I were to hire out a lot of my responsibilities.
I found Julie Morgenstern's "Organized from the inside out" and her "time mapping" tips MUCH more helpful, and not nearly as condescending or lecturing.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Same thing again

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Really it's the same thing... stop watching TV and wasting time, you have enough time to do everything you want to... So I guess people that don't already know that...

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment...

Any additional comments?

I really should have read reviews before I bought this book

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kia
  • Cambridge, MA
  • 06-27-10

heard it all before

For me the value was in the initial premise - you're responsible for how you use your time. The rest of the "do what you love the money will follow" text did not add anything new.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Useful Useful Useful

What made the experience of listening to 168 Hours the most enjoyable?

the narration was easy and pleasant.

What did you like best about this story?

The real life examples were compelling!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A month in a week's time!

Any additional comments?

Great and many insights on how to find time for work and family. There are actually so many hours in 1 week, each week, that one can achieve everything he decides to, step by step.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent Read

If you could sum up 168 Hours in three words, what would they be?

Would read again.

What other book might you compare 168 Hours to and why?

Her other books.

Which character – as performed by Elizabeth London – was your favorite?

Not applicable

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

How to keep a time sheet on what I do with daily hours and how much time there really is when something is a priority.

Any additional comments?

You will never be able to say again that you don't have time for something. You will learn that you are the prioritizer of your life, and it is not about what you wish to do, but what you like to actually spend your time doing that should be on your list to do. Talk about zeroing in on one's core competencies and getting on with your productivity. If you are a woman who needs to clear her plate of obstacles and distractions, read this book. Self empowering. A good look at yourself in the mirror. And somewhat revolutionary as in, doing your children's laundry is not an act of love. Wow. I rethought my whole schedule when it comes to house keeping. I wish I had done things different twenty years ago. I never "got it" until now how remarkably underpaid and under appreciated household management and cleaning and other similar distractions are to the female gender. This book may wake you up and you actually might earn more money when you rearrange your time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

This book is a great tool!

Where does 168 Hours rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 10. This book is so valuable I have it on audio and in book form, my husband and I both use it to keep our lives manageable while doing so many different things.

What other book might you compare 168 Hours to and why?

Brilliant Life maybe, though I feel like this book has more research attached to it.

What does Elizabeth London bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Unobtrusive narration that allows you to listen to the book while doing other things?

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

certain tasks we perceive as taking alot longer than they actually do, and don't do your own laundry.

Any additional comments?

I found this book to really help sort out my goals post grad school, and the book was really helpful for my husband who is mid career.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Little good content. Lots of hot air.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book did not have much appeal to me. There was a god deal of fluff in the book that seemd to be unrelated specifically to the title / book description.

Has 168 Hours turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not particularly, this book was just poor.

Would you be willing to try another one of Elizabeth London’s performances?

Never.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sarah Beth
  • Gig Harbor, WA United States
  • 01-21-16

Interesting and inspiring.

Very insightful and makes you really think about how you use your time. It's easy to get into the mindset of "have to"s, which leaves you overwhelmed and stressed. She does a good job of reminding you that you have a choice in how you spend your time and it's up to you to decide what your priorities should be and how to manage your time with that in mind. The exercises are really helpful and interesting. Doing my time logs, I realized how much time I was spending on things that added no value to my life, and it made me realize how important it was to sleep so that I use my awake time more efficiently (rather than zoning out). Thinking through my dreams and aspirations also led me into a whole revamping of my life in general. Great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • D. Davies
  • 11-05-10

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • 08-19-10

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!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Miss G L Petherbridge
  • 08-13-17

I'd already redesigned my week

Where does 168 Hours rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top. I'll be replaying it again!

What did you like best about this story?

I'm always stressed. I'm always thinking I don't have enough time. This book made me realise how wrong I was. Instantly I feel better, happier and able to get everything done.

Have you listened to any of Elizabeth London’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Any additional comments?

I've now redesigned my week to a schedule I love.

  • Overall
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-28-17

Great book and audio helps you to maximise time!

Love this book, as a mum of 2 who works full time, I often believed that I couldn't fit everything in, now having listened to this (whilst commuting so effectively making use of otherwise wasted time) I feel like candour so much more without feeling harassed. Seriously listen to this book, you will be amazed by what you can achieve!!!

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  • Clara Lightner
  • 09-24-16

A nice change

Any additional comments?

It's nice to hear the message that you can live a full, well-rounded life as a professional woman. The key is in planning and being strategic about how you spend your time.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lu
  • 06-05-15

Good and practical book

Very practical advices and inspiring ideas for both woman and men. Based on high quality researches Thanks!

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  • Dan
  • 10-19-15

Repetitive but good

There were some really nice useful points in this and I'll definitely be outsourcing my non core competencies. It did however feel quite Repetitive and repeated certain points a lot. but maybe that's just a teaching technique.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-28-17

Worth a read for general ideas

I enjoyed this book and have learned some useful tips as well as some VERY useful statistics to encourage my in-laws to be less critical of the cleanliness of my house. I have a happy, well-balanced daughter and am carving out time for what counts!