Great Reads: 168 Hours: You Have More TimeThan You Think

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think is not so much a book on time management as it is an encouragement to really think about how you use each of your 168 Hours.

Using examples of real people who have constructed lives most people only dream about, Vanderkam encourages readers to complete a detailed analysis of how they use their time. I used the printable spreadsheet Vanderkam provides at her website. You can download the spreadsheet here.

Vanderkam explains that "there should be almost nothing during your work hours - whatever you choose those to be - that is not advancing you toward your goals for the career and life you want". She explains how to determine what the "next level" of personal and professional development looks like and how to "seize control" of your schedule while completing a transition to that level.

But this is not just a book about having time for your business or career. The real people whose lives are described in this book are able to carve out more time for family and carefully selected leisure activities than most people who accomplish much less professionally. 

Vanderkam also illustrates how many accomplish extraordinary acts of charity or volunteerism. It's a matter of selecting the causes are important to you and focusing on activities where you can have the greatest impact.

Some of her suggestions about how to "outsource" tasks are extreme. She apparently wrote this book while she lived in Manhattan where I suppose tasks such as laundry and wardrobe management are more easily and economically outsourced than they are in my life.

Still, she makes some very good points. Many of the activities that we assume are necessary, or that we assume that we must accomplish ourselves are either not necessary, or we can find another way to get them done. It's a matter of setting priorities and being creative.

I'm still doing my own laundry and cleaning my own house, but 168 Hours has challenged me to become more disciplined and intentional about how I use my time. I found this to be an enjoyable, thought-provoking book and I highly recommend it.