Book review - 168 hours by Laura Vanderkam
Another week almost done, another book finished. This one is all about organising your weeks. It is called 168 hours because 24 x 7 = 168.
The main premise is that if there is something that happens every week it probably is important to you. But if it isn't important then why are you allowing it to take up precious time every single week?
The author suggests doing the following items:
1) Logging everything you do for a whole 7 days and how long you spend doing it. Then carefully look at how much time you actually spend working, sleeping, cleaning, watching TV etc. You will probably be surprised by some of the results.
2) Write down 100 dreams that you would like to achieve. Some may be very simple things, some may be wildly aspirational.
3) Take a blank slate approach to planning your week. Could you be more efficient by reorganising your "normal" week?
4) Consider out-sourcing things you don't need to do or don't like to do. This can come in many forms such as seriously considering paying someone to clean your house and do your laundry. If you don't like doing it and it takes up significant time every week, the money spent on it could open up opportunities for you to work more and earn the money back and then some, or to do activities that may move you closer to realising your dreams.
I enjoyed many parts of this book. It is taking my "Golden Time" idea to the next level, however I think there are a few flaws from my perspective. Firstly it would take a lot of work. The idea of logging every activity for a whole 7 days is a big barrier to starting this process. I would strongly suggest starting smaller such as I did with logging the first 3 hours of my day. I chose those hours because I knew that improving them would have a big impact on my productivity. If I wish to extend that log to include other times I can. But I can imagine a lot of people failing to finish their log because of the work involved and that you won't see the results from all that work for quite some time.
The second major flaw is that as far as I could tell the author doesn't seem to recommend any kind of daily planning process. I agree that a weekly plan is important (I spend 20 minutes every Tuesday doing my weekly Ninja Planning), but for me it only works when combined with a 5 minute daily plan. Life is so hectic and changeable that relying on one plan for the whole week without reconsidering your daily desires and needs probably isn't going to work all the time.
There are some good ideas in this book, however if you think the topic would interest you I would suggest starting with "How to be a productivity ninja" or "How to have a good day". Or better yet, join me on the 15th July for the first Empowering Young Dentists course and I will talk you through precisely how I put all of this into practice for myself. The info about that can be found here:
Dr Chris Harper