168 Hours Book Review

January always feels like a good month to read a book about productivity to help fast track you to where you want to go within the next year. My friend Janssen is doing an online bookclub this year, and January's book was 168 Hours: You have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. The premise of the book is that you have a 168 hours, which is a lot more time than you think, and that you can get a lot more done in that timeframe if you're honest with your time, prioritize correctly, and make room for things that matter most to you.

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This book has nine chapters, that are divided into four parts. Each part gave me so many amazing thoughts, and I'm going to try share my book review, by breaking it into each section.

Your 168 Hours:
The book started off by saying how we're all a lot more busier than we appear to be. There are many people who report working 50-60 hour weeks, when in reality, they only work about 45 of those hours. I found myself resonating with this. As a blogger, and social media manager who works from home, it feels like I'm working every second of the day. It feels like I'm working 80 hours some weeks. The reality is, it feels that way because my mind is constantly thinking about my long list of to-dos. In actuality, I'm only really working maybe 30 hours a week. This helped me realize that work would feel a lot shorter if I was more streamlined in my work processes, and checked email and instagram less. Checking these things constantly feels like I'm working, but the reality is, unless I'm typing an email or posting to instagram, that's not work, and I can be spending that time focusing on other things.

The other part of this section talked about our core competencies and how we make time for the things that are important to us. For me, I want to be present with my kids, have a good marriage, blog and provide income for our family, and have time to read and run. If there are things that get in the way of me giving my all to these five things, I have to be honest and decide if that's worth my time, and if it's not, be okay with either not doing it, or outsourcing it to someone who can.

She recommends creating a time log where you keep track of what you're doing for an entire week, so that you can see where you may waste time, and how many hours per week you spend on various tasks. This was eye opening for me to see the number of hours I waste doing certain things, and how there really is plenty of time for me to do the things I love.

Work:
Part two was all about work, and particularly how to know if you're in the right job. One part I really loved is when it talked about some people's current jobs may reflect things that they did as a child. I remember I used to write fake magazines on our family computer growing up, and make these powerpoint presentations that chronologically chronologically dictated the less than fascinating moments in my life. It's funny to see now how I basically do that same thing on a much larger scale. Turns out, I love what I do, and I'm in the right job.

This section of the book also talked about how if there is a part of your job that you don't like, or that takes time away from you doing parts of your work that you enjoy, you should outsource it. A lot of bloggers hire virtual assistants, photographers, social media managers, etc... up until recently, my blog has been just Derek and I. I write all the blog posts, take 90% of the pictures (Derek takes them when I need to be in the pictures, this is his only role here), do all my own social media, keep up on emails, negotiate deals with brands, etc... One thing I needed to beef up this year was search engine optimization. I felt I didn't have time for this, and that I didn't want to be the one going through all my old 1200 posts and making them rank hire on google, so I tried hiring it out. Turns out I don't think the guy I hired to do it did a very good job, so now it's back on my list of things to-do. But it was a good exercise in me trying to outsource something, even if it only lasted a week.

Home:
The third section of the book was our homes and making them efficient for ourselves, and again, if there are things that need to be done that you either don't have time for, cut into something you'd rather do, or you just don't want to do it, you shouldn't feel guilty about outsourcing.

I actually really love cleaning my home, folding laundry, and cooking meals for my family. It is a really therapeutic activity, and I don't mind doing it. These things truly bring me joy. That being said I don't love grocery shopping, and even doing Walmart grocery pickup was becoming more of a hassle, so we now have all of our groceries delivered.

The back story is this- When we moved over the summer, the closest Walmart to us became seven miles and two towns away. I could have done grocery pickup at another store, but didn't want to pay the $5 fee, so kept doing grocery pickup at Walmart. The drive was a huge time waster, and then I'd have to bring the groceries up a flight of stairs into our home, and lug Kinsley up and down the stairs to get her in and out of the car. It was a process.

Then a few months ago we bought a new car with not-so-great gas mileage. I calculated the money I would spend in gas versus the $12 monthly fee for Walmart to deliver to my home unlimited amounts of time to my house, and it would cost me more than $12 in gas to drive to the store once a week, than it would be for Walmart to deliver my groceries whenever I wanted. It was a no-brainer, and we've been getting the groceries delivered ever since. Zero guilty.

168 Hours Day By Day:
This last section of the book mostly summarized the earlier sections, and then talked about individuals who applied these principals in their lives. This allowed them to do more of the things they prefer. It was amazing to see how small changes for these individuals had a huge impact on their lives. This provided a huge opportunity for me to evaluate my own life and see where I can make changes as well.

Have you had a chance to read this book? I'm giving away my copy on Instagram today, so keep your eyes out on my feed for a chance to win!

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