It would be easy to scoff at Laura Vanderkam's new book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, released today. "I'm busy!" you insist, "I barely have time to sleep!" But before you dismiss this book, imagine if you could carve out hours every week for the things that matter most to you, whether that's your children, career or a hobby?
That's what Vanderkam urges us all to do, in this exhaustive book that will resonate with fans of both Dave Allen and the Dalai Lama. When I first met Vanderkam, by chance at an Executive Moms luncheon, I connected with her as a fellow writer/working mom -- and I was intrigued by the topic of her book. So I jumped at the chance to review 168 Hours.
Sure, I was skeptical. My to-do list is endless and I feel as overwhelmed as anyone. But I admit that I watch more television than I should (a main culprit, according to Vanderkam) while multitasking on laundry or posting to the Web -- and often end up feeling slightly sick after an hour passes. During the week that I was reading the book, I exercised every single day, focused on my children's most obscure questions, connected with my husband and even took two hours to pursue speculative, long-term career goals. If I keep going at this pace, I won't be able to avoid running a marathon!
Ultimately, Vanderkam puts her finger on the heart of the issue: choice. We may be limited in how we spend much of our week by the constraints of work, finances and family. But for those minutes and hours that are under our control, it's ultimately up to us whether to spend 20 minutes watching reality TV or composing poetry. I think we all know which is more likely to satisfy our souls in the long term.
If you read the book or visit Vanderkam's blog, please let me know what you think!
Photo courtesy Laura Vanderkam