Managing the 168 hours in a week

“There was homework? Oh my god we have a test today! What project?” These are all questions regularly shouted out during first period.
I am sure we have all been there, standing perplexed with a “deer in the headlights” expression on our faces as we discover we do in fact have a huge math test next period.
But what if we could sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, learn how to play the piano, and even watch a sitcom without sacrificing school work, family time, or any other activity that is important to us?
This is the question writer, author, and speaker Laura Vanderkam asks in her life-changing book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than you Think, a quick read that guides readers to get the most out of the sometimes suffocating 168 hours in a week. It not only seems possible after reading the short book; it seems simple.
Vanderkam uses a compilation of studies and experiences of amazing people as well as herself to create a step-by-step guide to get the most out of our days.
There are four steps in this journey to a more productive lifestyle, but it all begins with understanding what individuals are really doing with their time. Many people believe they are busier than they really are.
They are convinced that they (in the case of a high school student) do homework for four hours a day, sleep a miserable few hours a night, and are truly too busy to even take a 15 minute break to hang out with their family, but that is really not the case.
Vanderkam begins by helping her readers understand that they have more time than they think.
To make it as clear as possible she provides a rubric that she asks readers to fill out regularly each day for a recommended period of two weeks.
This helps readers understand how they spend their time during the day.
Once a person understands how much time is really available, it becomes clear how much time they are really wasting.
As I filled out my rubric, I tried to go about my days as I always did. For the most part I am a productive person, but I always found myself complaining about how many things I wanted to do and how many books I want to read, all things I could do if I just had a little more time.
But once I analyzed my rubric I found that those “five minutes” I spend on my phone after school are actually two hours, hours that could have easily been spent working on something that helps my core competencies, which brings me to step two.
Understanding core competencies is the next step. Core competencies, as described by Vanderkam, are the things most important to each reader, a person’s priorities.
Though teenagers’ priorities might be blurry, figuring out core competencies is a lot easier than it sounds. Ask yourself: what do I hope to achieve in life?
This is not a simple question, and it does not have a simple answer, but this is where the third step comes in. Vanderkam asks her readers to write a list of 100 dreams.
This all aids in understanding what is important to each individual reader, which makes it is a lot easier to figure out what they’re working toward.
Writing my list of 100 dreams was a lot easier than I thought, and it changed everything. Writing down your goals and hopes for the future really helps in narrowing down what you love doing.
Not only did I feel more prone to working on my core competencies, it also felt extremely rewarding every time I did.
More than anything, this book really showed me how much time I really have, and I am also much more aware of what I am doing with that time.
An inspiring and entertaining read, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think is the perfect book to start off 2016 on a positive and productive note.